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Old 07-19-2010, 09:19 PM   #1
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Closed-off chimney: clean it or not?


Hello, new homeowner here.

We have a sealed-off brick chimney in our home. A wall was built around it, and the only parts you can now see are the top of the chimney sticking out of the roof and the very bottom of the chimney in the basement, where the ash pit door is. The chimney is presumably as old as the house - early 1980's.

A couple of weeks ago, we noticed some creosote ooze / blackish water bleeding through the cinder blocks at the very bottom of the chimney in the basement. This happened after a couple of really hard, windy rains. I went up on the roof and found a finger-sized hole in one of the mortar joints - I stuck a metal bar through the hole and it went in more than 6 inches! That looked like the obvious source of moisture, so I pointed the chimney up with mortar at this place (and some other small cracks). I also cleaned out the ashes from the ash pit door - I completely filled up a 10 gallon trash bag with wood ash that was never cleaned out.

About a week later, we can still see creosote ooze bleeding through the bottom-most cinder block, but it is much oilier / tar-ish than before and there is no more standing water. I think that it is just the remaining moisture still seeping through.

Should we be considering getting the chimney cleaned out by a pro? Or is it worth it to just wait and see if the pointing worked? Since we can't use the fireplace, there seems to be no point in getting it cleaned. Or am I wrong about that?

Thanks!

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Old 07-20-2010, 02:04 AM   #2
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Closed-off chimney: clean it or not?


unclebilly,
That old chimney will continue to ooze creosote until it is cleaned. The only reason to clean it is if you ever finish the basement in order to get rid of the odor (even cleaned, it will still have some odor on rainy or hot, humid days).
Your call.
Mike

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Old 07-20-2010, 06:32 AM   #3
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Closed-off chimney: clean it or not?


Bummer! I guess that makes sense, though - no way to prevent a sideways rain from getting in through the chimney cap, and boy do we get sideways rains here in Minnesota!
Thanks for the advice.
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Old 07-20-2010, 10:08 AM   #4
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Closed-off chimney: clean it or not?


If this is an abandoned chimney, why don't you remove the structure above the roof line?
I would still clean it first.
Ron
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