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Q&A Old Home in Brooklyn-Chimneys relined, etc.

Post in 'Questions and Answers' started by QandA, May 20, 2004.

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  1. QandA

    QandA New Member Staff Member

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    Question:

    I have an old (@1860) woodframe house in Brooklyn. There are fireplaces on the first and second floors. The one on the second floor (tenants' apt.) worked when I moved in (we had it cleaned and new chimney caps); the one on the first floor- our apt.- was sheetrocked over. We opened it up and built a mantel like the one upstairs--it drew very well- but after a few tries we found it was smoking into the 3rd (once the attic) floor. When we got chimney people to come look at it almost none could tell where the flue for the first-floor chimney was going--it seems to slant to the right- but apparently it then joins the flue of the second-floor chimney (the fireplace on the 2d floor seems to be directly over that on the 1st) from the left--it is hard to tell. There are two chimneys- but one is for the boiler. One guess is that someone long ago joined the 2 fireplace flues instead of fixing one. Very Possible that the two are joined- may have always been that way. Should be able to be determined by going onto the roof. Both the opinions on what should be done and the prices quoted from 4 or 5 chimney people I asked are so wide ranging that I am not sure what to do. One company suggested using a stainless-steel liner all the way up- which would actually coexist with the flue of the 2d-floor fireplace; others said we would have to tear up the walls by the chimney on the 3d floor- which would be difficult since tenants are living there. What options do we have- as far as flue liners? And what would be reasonable prices?
    2. Also- how do we find a reputable chimney person? There are very many shady operators around NY--I have thought of driving somebody up from down South or something!
    3. Finally- would a fireplace insert help us at all in what is required for the flue--ie- could we use a smaller steel flue all the way up from one? The problem is that the flue is now so crooked. The actual fireplace is about 2 ft. across and 1 ft deep--when it did work we only used the paper-wrapped pressed logs for safety as it was so small.



    Answer:

    Try to find either a sweep with a good reputation- or one who is certified by the National Chimney Sweep Guild. The prices- like anything- can vary widely. Stainless liners are great for connecting to an insert- but may constrict the flue size down so it won't work well as an open fireplace. If the chimney is not currently lined (with ceramic flue tiles)- then it should be lined for the boiler also. If the boiler is gas- use flexible aluminum- if it's oil- use stainless
    2. Check their certification- references- and of course- their vibes ! 3
    . A fireplace Insert (wood or gas) would help cause it only needs a small flue (4 to 6 inch) ---this may help you be able to fit everything in one chimney.

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