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I need immediate advice from members, firefighters, etc...

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by joefrompa, Jan 30, 2011.

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  1. joefrompa

    joefrompa New Member

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    Hi all,

    I'll try and keep this short and sweet as I am extraordinarily angry right now.

    I took the trim off my insert tonight for the first time. It was professionally installed end of October 2010. I watched most of the install but I DID NOT get up close to the chimney sweeps during the final installation of the insert and setting into place. Looks like that was a mistake.

    The photos below are what I found tonight. Besides obviously helping to explain my terrible draft situation, heat output problems, backdrafting when I open my door, etc....

    What I need expert opinion on is how much danger has this put my family and house in through gas infiltration at night (CO), fire, etc.

    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    This literally was discovered 15 minutes ago and I am not yet calmed down, so any advice is welcome on here. Without a doubt, I am going to demand this be rectified by the company i bought the stove from (and from a different sweep service) and I am considering whether or not to demand recompense for months of wasted wood, poor performance, and (if appropriate) danger to my family.

    Thanks all for your time. I am thankful I have this forum right now.

    P.s. Yes, stink bugs love my chimney.

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  2. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    A broken elbow joint is very bad. It needs to be fixed right away. It's hard to believe they would have let that go by. I'm wondering if it happened after the installation? If not, they need to be read the riot act. Regardless, you are right, get it fixed before burning again.
  3. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    I have only been shocked twice on this forum. This is number two. If you had the always needed CO detectors and they didn't ever go off I am amazed.
  4. joefrompa

    joefrompa New Member

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    I'm very lucky to have stopped burning about 2 days ago, so it's fully cold. From the look of the worm clamp, it appears that its way higher than it should be and not clamping anything down.

    My draft and other problems have also been since day 1. I couldn't burn the day it was installed because the door had broken in shipment. So I burned 2 days after the install and I had draft, back puff, etc. problems. I've posted on here tons of times about it because I felt like I was doing something wrong.

    BeGreen or others - I'm not someone who is litigiuous - I've never gone down that road. I don't plan to here. But I do want to get an assessment of whether or not this put my family in danger of a fire (I did overnight burns for 2 months) or combustion gas coming into the house. The CO detector (LCD Display) has never shown a reading on it. I don't think we have ever had a close call.

    But frankly, I've got a 13' high external chimney and 3 months after install I'm in an unsafe situation. I want to call them up and I want them to fall over themselves making this right for me. But I don't want to go overboard, so I'm trying to figure out from experts like yourselves how bad this really is/was.
  5. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Was the first time when I mooned Elk, or did you miss that one? :lol:
  6. joefrompa

    joefrompa New Member

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    BrotherBart - I have a CO detector within 20 feet about 3' above floor level, LED display, less than a year old. However, only one. Never chirped or shown a reading. And the room is only about 12' wide and 20 feet from the detector, so that's very little airspace for any CO to dissipate.
  7. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Just in my opinion a liner install could not get any worse than that. It is like venting the stove directly into your house. The only thing that saved you was that that short chimney must have one hell of a natural draft.
  8. joefrompa

    joefrompa New Member

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    Jeez....I thought maybe I'm over-reacting a bit but that comment makes me feel appropriate in my anger.

    Upon further inspection, the worm clamp appears to have been tightened onto the flexible liner portion. You can make out in the picture how the liner itself is warped around where the worm clamp screw is....meaning that it didn't pop off - it's not now loose. The *%&% worm clamp was always tightened onto the flex liner and never onto the firm end pieces. The thing was never even installed right before they closed it up.
  9. johnstra

    johnstra Feeling the Heat

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    Even though it is separated, the natural draft of the liner is likely venting virtually all of the exhaust. It's obviously gotta be fixed, but I suspect that's why your CO alarms haven't gone off.
  10. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    The clamp is supposed to be clamped to the flex liner. That part is right. It holds the flex liner in the elbow.

    You have every right to be pissed off.
  11. North of 60

    North of 60 Minister of Fire

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    I am wondering, when the chimney gets a brush rammed down there, there looks to be too much of a chance to pull that fitting apart again. I am thinking thats what caused it in the 1st place. Has it had a brush down it yet? (Still the installers problem for not ruling out this situation) It needs to be a one piece welded or the liner supported differently.
  12. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    It is one of those damned adjustable elbows. I would never have one in my chimney systems. They just leak too much and come apart too easily.
  13. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Good thing I have a beard or else everyone would see the black and blue mark that my desk just made on my chin.

    I would say that must have happened after the install. My question would be why the heck was that elbow put on in such a fashion to be so stressed.

    Whether you are religious or not, I think you need to offer up a prayer of thanks to the big guy for looking out for you guys here.

    damn

    pen
  14. joefrompa

    joefrompa New Member

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    This liner has never been touched since it was installed 3 months ago. A brush was never put down it.

    I just looked into the liner. Directly above the stove (where the gases would be hottest) I've got maybe a 1/4-3/8" layer of hard creosote already. I expected to have almost nothing there at this stage due to the heat of the gases, guess a whole lot of cold freaking air coming down that external masonry chimney will do that....

    Can anyone recommend how to handle this appropriately at this stage? I'm going to contact the stove-selling company (who sourced the chimneysweep, though I paid the chimney service seperately)....but should I get some sort of independent verification first? Should I ask a firefighter or other chimney sweep service to come out and inspect this/put an opinion in writing?

    Thanks for advice all.
  15. joefrompa

    joefrompa New Member

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    Pen - About 5 minutes after I found it and expressed to my wife how I thought it had put us in danger, she told me we should pray and give thanks. Shamefully, I told her I was too angry to take the moment and concentrate, but I am now.

    We've been having headaches, lethargy, and other things fairly often. She's taken alot of sick days this winter. I'm 28 years old, she turns 29 on Monday. We're both fit and exercise regularly and eat right. We're under decent stress levels though, so we attributed it to that. Now i'm wondering.
  16. joefrompa

    joefrompa New Member

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    BrotherBart - What's the correct way to have the flex liner installed? I feel like it should itself be bolted into the stove so that it can't wiggle unless someone removes some fasteners.
  17. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Those pics you have are all you need.
  18. Eaglecraft

    Eaglecraft Member

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    joefrompa:

    One thing is for sure, the elbow used could not take the stress imposed on it from the flex pipe. I'm assuming that the pipe had never been cleaned. If it was cleaned, then cleaning could have caused the break. However, judging from the sharp angle that the pipe leaves the elbow, it was an accident in the making. The installers had no knowledge of the forces that were at work here, and did an incompetent job. That elbow should have been solid, and probably double strength.
  19. snowleopard

    snowleopard Minister of Fire

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    Rectification, like revenge, is a dish best eaten cold. Come on here and vent, rant, blow steam out your ears, and then document the heck out of this and on Monday, calmly call the folks who did the install and let them know that you are giving them a limited opportunity to put this right--very, very right.

    I think I'd settle for them paying for a professional installation of the best pipe that is available for that application, and an inspection by an independent party of your choosing. Options for them would be your taking out a nice big ad once a month with this picture in it. Idaho's a big state, but it's a little big state, and all an installer there would have is his or her reputation. You could also mention, if it comes to that, that you are considering calling a lawyer. Mention to them the headaches and lethargy if necessary to get them, indeed, falling all over themselves. My guess is that it won't be necessary.

    Bear in mind, too, that the person who owns the business, and whose rep would be on the line, might not have been the one to do the install, so I would definitely give him/her a chance to put it right before you take it to a higher plane.

    Yes, you have the right to be steamin' mad at having your home and family put at risk, but your anger is not hurting them a bit now. It's natural to be angry when someone you love and something you've worked so hard for has been threatened. (Got any wood that needs chopping?)

    This will feel different in the morning. And it will still be wrong then, too. So glad that this didn't go worse for you.
  20. Hogwildz

    Hogwildz Minister of Fire

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    That is the precise reason I cut the hell out of my damper area of the old Heatform. I did not want to use an elbow, and came almost straight down.
    You need a solid elbow, not that adjustable crap.
    Where in PA are you?
  21. afptl

    afptl Member

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    I would tell the Lord thank you for his protection. It's obvious HE was watching out for you. I'd get it fixed immediately!
  22. madrone

    madrone Minister of Fire

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    :bug: :bug: :bug:

    Well, I guess that explains all the trouble you've been having...
  23. JustWood

    JustWood Minister of Fire

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    I'm thinking this may not have been like this long.
    Any length of time like that wood have accumulated a mess on stovetop and charring on outer pipe.
    MayB.
  24. gibson

    gibson New Member

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    That is bullsh!t right there. You have every right to go crazy on those installers. I personally have a hard time believing that a gap that big just popped open. I think it has been that way since install. I installed my own liner, never had done anything like it before. It ain't rocket science, so when you pay so called professionals to do the job, it should be perfect.
  25. Boozie

    Boozie Feeling the Heat

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    OMG, I would be so angry I would be beside myself. Thankfully, you and your family are OK. I think snowleopard gave you some good advice as to how to proceed.
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