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Old 04-03-2010, 04:45 PM   #1
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Chimney repair advice needed

Ok I really opened up a can of worms on this one just like every other project I get into anyway here is the story- my chimney vents ONLY the gas water heater and the gas furnace, there is no fire place. The furnace is a relatively new 80% efficiency furnace and the water heater is a non-power vent model. With it being spring I haven't used the furnace in a few weeks. I switched off the water heater too for now but it really shouldn't get that hot up there...

The first issue I had was during the home inspection the inspector noted the deteriorating crown and several misaligned flues inside the chimney. During heavy rain last week, I noticed in the attic there was water leakage. So today was a nice day finally I went up to the roof and started poking around the chimney. Low and behold the chimney mortar was effectively useless. Though no brick had fallen off yet, I was able to remove them with my bare hands or with a tap of a rubber mallet. Obviously masonry should never be like this. I kept on removing all the way into the attic where the brick stops and the concrete block takes over.

Much to my dismay, even several of these were loose. So I also removed these. I found inside the clay flues, some were either held together with a little dab of mortar and others none at all. You can see from the pictures that some of them are misaligned. Infact, if I push on the chimney the entire thing will sway . I should mention my house is a 1 story rancher so the chimney stack is not that tall, but it does span the basement, main floor, attic and up past the roof. However, in the basement if I push on the chimney it feels solid.

Soooo this brings me to my main questions of what I should do. Currently I have a huge hole in my roof and I shut off the water heater. There's bricks both in the attic and up on the roof. I'm sure the neighbors love that one

Somehow I don't think the chimney was constructed right to begin with, mortar should never be that loose. If I can take bricks off with my bare hands, something is wrong.

Should I:
A) Effectively rebuild the entire chimney. This would cause me to open up the wall on the main level for access.

B) Start rebuilding from here on up (attic only). On the assumption that since there were no issues before from the attic down.

C) Find some alternative way to vent the furnace and water heater. Perhaps a stainless pipe(s) instead. This also might cause me to open up the wall on the main floor.

Based on what I choose above, I also haven't decided if I should call in a professional yet or try to DIY.

Here are some pictures:
What it started as:

Big hole in the roof:

View from attic- before I pulled off those other bricks and blocks:

After removing more blocks:

View down into chimney:

Close up of the flues- you can see how they're somewhat misaligned. Although the flue isn't that dirty:

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Old 04-04-2010, 05:05 AM   #2
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ist off, what were you doing up on MY roof ???????? not a big deal - just rebld it,,, few think to look on TOP of their chimney til the wtr starts leaking you got lucky in that there wasn't ( any / lots of ) damage.

same thing happen'd to the girl across the st but, because she's a n-bor, recommend'd a mason friend to her.
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Old 04-04-2010, 06:32 AM   #3
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I recommend hiring a mason. You already took down more than needed. Do you know what type of cement to use for the flues? for the brick? How the cap is to be constructed? If not at least attempt the research to get this right.
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