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5 chimney experts/5 answers

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by bird, Dec 4, 2007.

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  1. bird

    bird New Member

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    I've got a concrete block chimney with a terra cotta liner. Gonna reline it and cut into it for a stove. State Farm says, "hire a professional." I say, "What constitutes a professional?" They can't answer. They'll let me know after I do the work if their underwriters like it. Aaargh!

    So the professionals I've called don't agree. Some say put in a stainless steel liner. Some say pour a masonry product (solid flue or the like.) One said, "can't be done." And the prices I get are all over the place.

    Can anyone link me to standard building codes for chimneys? These chimney people are nice and helpful, but what a racket. One wants me to sign right away. Another is going to do the same job for $2000 less. I've been burning wood for 15 years now, and I'm confused!

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  2. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    International Mechanical Code & NFPA211 are what you need to look at. You're going to see alot of price range depending on materials used etc.
  3. swestall

    swestall Minister of Fire

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    I'm doing this on my own. Going with a solid one piece SS liner. Cost for the kit to do this is about $700 for 16 feet up. You should be able to do the same. You can install this in the masonary liner yourself as long as the local fire inspector passes it you should have no problem with your insurance. You will get a good draft this way as well and cleaning will be easier.
    If you can not do this yourself for some reason, then find a certified chimney installer in your area. If you are going to install yourself, go see the inspector BEFORE you start, they can give you info you need to comply with your local requirements and this will assure you pass when you do what they say.
  4. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Get a building permit and have it inspected after you are finished. That is ALL the insurance company can ask for. A finished permit.

    You can even sign that you are doing it yourself (on the permit), and then have "friends" help you.

    There are no accepted certifications for a "pro" in this industry, although there are education and certification groups (just not accepted nationally).

    As far as methods....heck, it is possible your existing chimney meets code. Still, an exterior masonry chimney is an accident waiting to happen. The exact job might depend on physical conditions and your wallet.

    A poured liner is a GREAT thing. So is an insulated ss one.

    But if, as I suspect, you have a relatively small chimney (like 8x8, which is 7" sq ID), then you will probably not be able to get a liner down it with insulation. Next best thing is to simply line it, and fill the small space around the ss liner with a pourable type insulation...like Thermix:
    http://www.protechinfo.com/insulation.html

    If the chimney is already up to code, then just a liner will do (sans insulation), but in your cold climate any insulation will help both safety and performance.
  5. bird

    bird New Member

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    Fire inspector, huh? Out here in the sticks we have volunteers. Will those guys do that? I'll call 'em.

    Who certifies a chimney installer? I'd do it myself, too, but then I've got about 6,000 other things going on, most of which I'm better at. The guy I want to hire does this all the time, but I don't know if he's certified. I have confidence in him, but there's nothing to say that I haven't just misplaced that. I've done it before : )
  6. swestall

    swestall Minister of Fire

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    Yes, Craig is correct about national certification. My error, I only meant to indicate that an installer that had passed a training course would be a good bet. And, thanks for the clarification on self install too.
  7. bird

    bird New Member

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    Yeah, I'm doing a whole-house remodel. I've already pulled a permit. So I'll call the inspector and he can tell me what he'll sign off on. He's a great guy. Very helpful.
  8. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    A good inspector is like money in the bank.........especially when it comes to the insurance company!

    Yes, present him with the sketch and the materials you intend to use.

    BTW, some of the programs are:
    CSIA (chimney sweeps)
    NFI (national fireplace institute, our Hearth Industry educational branch).

    I should mention that I installed thousands of stoves and fireplaces and never had any certs....so the cert does not promise quality or intelligence....then again, I was already a tradesperson (remodeler) for many years prior to installing, so I had a leg up.
  9. MarcM

    MarcM New Member

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    Even in the sticks you'll have someone responsible for enforcing local fire code, be it a member of the Vol. Dept, the building inspector, etc. Generically they're referred to as the AHJ (i.e. Authority Having Jurisdiction). In my volunteer district, we have a volunteer Fire Marshal who handles such issues. But the point is, your local FD or town government can tell you.
  10. bird

    bird New Member

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    Spoke with the building inspector. He was helpful, as usual. Will put in a call to the local fire squad, too. A chimney fire would suck.
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