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Chimney Repair Question

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mechedd

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The portion of my chimney in my attic is in very bad shape. What is the coating that is brown and falling off? Should I chip it all away, and if so what tools do you recommend? If it needs to be chipped away, is there anything I should to do the bricks while they are exposed? Should I reapply a fresh coat of the same product, or is there a better alternative? Are there any good references for this type of work?

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Thank you,
Dan
 

bud16415

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Welcome to the forum.



What all is connected to the chimney now?



Mine was only working with my water heater as the furnace was replaced and vented out the side of the house. I changed the water heater to vent out also and when I had a new roof put on I took the chimney down to the attic floor.



They were built in these old homes to vent some heat from coal stoves and such. Yours looks like someone went over it with some cement product at some point.

It is likely ok with doing nothing. The only way to tell for sure is get someone out to inspect it they can send a camera down it and check it out in the attic and outside.
 

mechedd

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Thank you. The furnace and water heater are connected to it in the basement. There was a lot of leaking around the chimney so the roof shingles were recently replaced. When we were getting quotes one company quoted thousands more than the others. I decided not to go with his company, so he tried to sweeten the deal by offering to waterproof the chimney at no extra charge. Even so, we went with a different company, but now I am left with this chimney which I am hoping to fix up myself. I suppose I should have it professionally inspected, but that probably won't happen until next year.
 
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joecaption

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May not have to do anything.
May be just staining from the old roof leak.
Hire a chimney sweep to come inspect it.
They will inspect it inside and out.
 

bud16415

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Is your furnace gas, oil, coal or other?



Is your furnace more modern and it was vented into the chimney just because it was there and easy to do. Most modern high efficiency units don’t need that and the same with water heaters.





Gas is about the easiest IMO and the least likely that I would worry about buildup and such inside. Having a look down it is never a bad idea as it likely started life with coal and could have a liner and maybe not.



Some outfits that will come out will have an agenda and may tell you it is not safe and needs a SS liner put down it. I see that a lot around here.

I don’t think you need to worry about it falling down or anything like that and as oldog asked what is outside in the weather may be the place it needs more work.
 

Jeff Handy

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Your chimney could also be deteriorating from excessive winter moisture build up.

Besides the obvious damage from the roof leak around the chimney.

The mortar can absorb moisture, then be broken up by freeze/thaw action.

You might have poor venting or blocked soffit vents, or too many attic floor penetrations allowing humid air from the house to get into the attic.
 

mechedd

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Thank you all for the responses. The chimney appears to be in good condition from the outside, but I have only seen it from the ground.

The furnace is gas. We just bought the house this year. We need to replace the water heater within the next few years, and I'm considering replacing the furnace as well so we can move it away from the chimney in the middle of the basement and create more space.

Excessive winter moisture build up is a possibility since I live in Massachusetts. The house did not have roof venting of any type when this damage occurred. The roofer put a ridge vent on, which I think was a bad idea because there are no soffit vents. We talked about venting before I hired his crew and he said they would most likely not put the ridge vent on since the house was old and has been fine all these years without one. We also discussed how ridge vents require intake vents and discussed cost of adding soffit vents. For some reason they ended up putting the ridge vent on without installing soffit vents, and he insists that I don't need soffit venting even though I was willing to pay him to install them.
 

Jeff Handy

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If you can’t add soffit vents, you may be able to add muffin vents, which are small round vents that go into a fascia board or similar vertical area under the roofline.

I would hire another contractor to evaluate the attic and hopefully install soffit vents.

Even if you change your appliances to direct venting through pvc, the attic will still have a moisture issue, which can mean mold and rot.

And better venting will lower a/c costs and increase comfort in summer.

And better venting will cool the roof sheathing and shingles, so they will last longer.
 

bud16415

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When I had my new metal roof put on I ended the use of the chimney that was much like yours as I mentioned above. I had the Amish do the roof and I told them I wanted the hole filled and sealed below the steel. He agreed to do it and also suggested not doing it because my roof line was not vented and he thought that might be a perfect vent opening below the steel and into the ridge. I thought about and changed my mind and told him to leave it open. It made a huge improvement in the summer getting the heat out and our bedrooms are much cooler. Winter doesn’t seem to be a problem and no issues with snow or rain so I’m glad I did it.



I was telling a neighbor about it and he told me he also had his chimney removed and in his case he had a cupola placed over the opening and he also loves how that vents.

In my case I have a window on each end of the attic I open in the summer and close in the winter for cross flow originally and now they are the air intakes.
 

oldognewtrick

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We also discussed how ridge vents require intake vents and discussed cost of adding soffit vents. For some reason they ended up putting the ridge vent on without installing soffit vents, and he insists that I don't need soffit venting even though I was willing to pay him to install them.
He obviously doesn't understand the concept of roof ventilation. Hot air cannot evacuate without the ability to draw air to replace it. A chimney effect develops, hot air rises and is replaced by cooler air at the soffit.
 
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