Chimney Repair/ Liner

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jcampb21

New Member
Jan 28, 2020
9
15136
Hello,

First off, excellent forum. Newbie member looking for some advice on a chimney repair.

I purchased a new home recently with an existing wood furnace/stove in the basement (Hitzer 82FA). The house is a 3 story log home about 4,200SF. The chimney was supposedly inspected and passed when we purchased the house. Prior to use I decided to inspect the chimney with my go pro on some flex rods. Unfortunately I found the existing clay liner in poor condition. They majority of the liner sections had longitudinal cracks, some with transverse cracks, and missing grout in several joints. The chimney is 37ft from the thimble to the top cap. The vertical section (30') of the chimney liner is 8.5" x 11.5" OD rectangular, ID is 6.25" x 10.25". The vertical section transitions to a tubular liner w/ a 45 degree bend down for about 5' then another 45' bend down to a 2' horizontal tubular clay liner that terminates in the basement through the masonry wall. Also there is no existing clean out. So, I decided to put a SS insulated liner in. Hitzer manual states minimum flue size of 7". The existing clay line ID is too small, i made my own liner breaker out of a pipe nipple, logging chain, and some plate steel. It took me two days to bust the old line out, tons of fun.. With the clay liner removed I have enough space for the insulated liner 8.75" OD. I am ready to install purchase and install the liner but haven't formulated the complete plan yet. I would like to make sure I am doing this right and not have to worry about again.

Questions:
  • Since I do not have a clean out and I cant use the Tee and will need to bring the liner to the basement. Do I need to leave the liner set back in the wall and use connector/adapter pieces to connect to the stove piping? I was thinking a flex liner to pipe adapter, then short pieces of insulated SS pipe, through clay thimble, then connect stove piping to ss piping. Clay thimble is cracked also. Should I replace it? Do i even need a clay thimble or can I just mortar the SS pipe in the hole the masonry wall. If no thimble would this need to be insulate piping to pass through wall? There are not any combustible materials for several feet in all directions.
  • How easily will the flex liner bend through these turns? Will it be possible?
  • For a clean out i thought about putting a tee on the outside of the piping sticking out of the wall with the branch side down to connect to stove and use other end with cap for easy access for inspection/sweeping. I would have to take stove piping off and clean out occasionally.
  • I have read a few reviews on the Hitzer 82FA and it doesnt seem like its the best unit for wood burning. I have large fireplace on the middle floor that an insert could be fairly easily installed in fairly easy. This will be more costly upfront but if it will heated better i would consider it.
  • The inside of the chimney is concrete block with brick on the inside in portions. Do I need to get this inspected prior to installing liner? I used my go pro and did not see any cracking or evidence of damage to the structure.
I apologize for the lengthy post and appreciate and feedback/advice offered.

Thanks a bunch,
 

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Last edited:

PaulOinMA

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2018
1,087
MA
Welcome! Lots of very knowledgeable folks in here to help you. They should be here shortly.

I would like some pictures of your home, though. :)
 

jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,284
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
@bholler will probably be right along with an expert opinion on all those flue questions. It seems to me that you are in for a difficult install since the furnace needs a 7" liner, which is at least 8.25" after insulation, and you only have 8.75" less mortar blobs etc. (Some insulated liners are going to be even bigger in diameter.)

An insert in the fireplace will be a great supplement to the furnace, but no insert is going to effectively heat 4200sf of log cabin. It would also need its own flue, which could mean breaking out another clay liner etc. It could be an easier install though, both because it's a shorter run and because you can choose an insert that uses a 6" flue.
 

jcampb21

New Member
Jan 28, 2020
9
15136
Here are some house pics. The fireplace in the middle floor has a 12" x 12" liner and a straight shot to the fireplace.
 

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jcampb21

New Member
Jan 28, 2020
9
15136
I tied my pry bar to rope and lowered it down in attempt to knock off all the blobs i could. I got most of them i think.
 

Ludlow

Minister of Fire
Jun 4, 2018
1,437
PA
You can burn coal in that as well.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,205
central pa
Hello,

First off, excellent forum. Newbie member looking for some advice on a chimney repair.

I purchased a new home recently with an existing wood furnace/stove in the basement (Hitzer 82FA). The house is a 3 story log home about 4,200SF. The chimney was supposedly inspected and passed when we purchased the house. Prior to use I decided to inspect the chimney with my go pro on some flex rods. Unfortunately I found the existing clay liner in poor condition. They majority of the liner sections had longitudinal cracks, some with transverse cracks, and missing grout in several joints. The chimney is 37ft from the thimble to the top cap. The vertical section (30') of the chimney liner is 8.5" x 11.5" OD rectangular, ID is 6.25" x 10.25". The vertical section transitions to a tubular liner w/ a 45 degree bend down for about 5' then another 45' bend down to a 2' horizontal tubular clay liner that terminates in the basement through the masonry wall. Also there is no existing clean out. So, I decided to put a SS insulated liner in. Hitzer manual states minimum flue size of 7". The existing clay line ID is too small, i made my own liner breaker out of a pipe nipple, logging chain, and some plate steel. It took me two days to bust the old line out, tons of fun.. With the clay liner removed I have enough space for the insulated liner 8.75" OD. I am ready to install purchase and install the liner but haven't formulated the complete plan yet. I would like to make sure I am doing this right and not have to worry about again.

Questions:
  • Since I do not have a clean out and I cant use the Tee and will need to bring the liner to the basement. Do I need to leave the liner set back in the wall and use connector/adapter pieces to connect to the stove piping? I was thinking a flex liner to pipe adapter, then short pieces of insulated SS pipe, through clay thimble, then connect stove piping to ss piping. Clay thimble is cracked also. Should I replace it? Do i even need a clay thimble or can I just mortar the SS pipe in the hole the masonry wall. If no thimble would this need to be insulate piping to pass through wall? There are not any combustible materials for several feet in all directions.
  • How easily will the flex liner bend through these turns? Will it be possible?
  • For a clean out i thought about putting a tee on the outside of the piping sticking out of the wall with the branch side down to connect to stove and use other end with cap for easy access for inspection/sweeping. I would have to take stove piping off and clean out occasionally.
  • I have read a few reviews on the Hitzer 82FA and it doesnt seem like its the best unit for wood burning. I have large fireplace on the middle floor that an insert could be fairly easily installed in fairly easy. This will be more costly upfront but if it will heated better i would consider it.
  • The inside of the chimney is concrete block with brick on the inside in portions. Do I need to get this inspected prior to installing liner? I used my go pro and did not see any cracking or evidence of damage to the structure.
I apologize for the lengthy post and appreciate and feedback/advice offered.

Thanks a bunch,
First thing I would do is call hitzler and see if you can reduce to 6" at the height you have. I bet it would be fine that will give you some extra room. I would also open up that wall and get back to the chimney so you can extend a peice of flex liner down and bend it out to use as a cleanout so you can easily clean from the ground. And yes you need a tee regardless.
 

jcampb21

New Member
Jan 28, 2020
9
15136
thanks Bholler. I will contact Hitzer and see what they say. There is clean out on the back side of the chimney but it is offset from the center line of the flue that my stove is connected too and i dont think it would be under the stove flue. That seems like a very challenging project to get into masonry wall. I took a video of the subject cleanout.
 

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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,205
central pa
thanks Bholler. I will contact Hitzer and see what they say. There is clean out on the back side of the chimney but it is offset from the center line of the flue that my stove is connected too and i dont think it would be under the stove flue. That seems like a very challenging project to get into masonry wall. I took a video of the subject cleanout.
I did one just like it yesterday I had that part of it done in about an hour and a half. If you broke out the clay on your own you can certainly handle that.
 

jcampb21

New Member
Jan 28, 2020
9
15136
He stated the flue size cannot be smaller than the outlet of the stove which is a 7". I should of asked if the code he referenced is defined by his local municipalities or some other standard.

As far as getting into the back of the wall. Would I just measure center lines from the edge and knock an access hole it in? I might be able to get it fished over into that other clean out. The vertical section of the flue liner is about 5' from the outside face of the chimney wall. How would i connect the tee that far back into the chimney?
 

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bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,205
central pa
He stated the flue size cannot be smaller than the outlet of the stove which is a 7". I should of asked if the code he referenced is defined by his local municipalities or some other standard.

As far as getting into the back of the wall. Would I just measure center lines from the edge and knock an access hole it in? I might be able to get it fished over into that other clean out. The vertical section of the flue liner is about 5' from the outside face of the chimney wall. How would i connect the tee that far back into the chimney?
Code allows you to go up or down 1". But their manual calls for 7" which is why I said to ask them. They have final say on the issue.

You really have a 5' deep crock? That is rediculous all the more reason you need a cleanout. The cleanout you are talking about is probably for the ash dump. And most likely isn't connected to the stove flue at all. I am pretty sure you will have to go through that wall and open things up.
 

jcampb21

New Member
Jan 28, 2020
9
15136
Thanks Bholler. Yeah its way back there and a foot or so above where it comes out of the wall. Thats mostly the reason i have been having trouble correlating my setup to what i find on here and interweb. You can see it OK in the 4th picture i attached on my first post if you zoom in. Now that i think about it, the main structure is about 8'thick so if i got into the wall from the backside i might be able to reach in far enough to connect the tee. Assuming that's possible would i use another piece of flex from the snout connection down to the stove side? Do i need to transition to a solid piece of stainless before it comes out of the wall? Does the stainless pipe need to be in a clay thimble or can i just grout it in?
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,205
central pa
Thanks Bholler. Yeah its way back there and a foot or so above where it comes out of the wall. Thats mostly the reason i have been having trouble correlating my setup to what i find on here and interweb. You can see it OK in the 4th picture i attached on my first post if you zoom in. Now that i think about it, the main structure is about 8'thick so if i got into the wall from the backside i might be able to reach in far enough to connect the tee. Assuming that's possible would i use another piece of flex from the snout connection down to the stove side? Do i need to transition to a solid piece of stainless before it comes out of the wall? Does the stainless pipe need to be in a clay thimble or can i just grout it in?
If you can get at the back side and it isn't as thick go through there and put your cleanout on that side. You don't need to get to the tee to hook it up it is a 2 part tee. You just need enough extensions to get back and tighten the screw on the band clamp. But 5' back is going to be a pain
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,205
central pa
You do also realize your furnace is meant for coal not wood right?
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,205
central pa
On that one you can burn either per the manual, but coal works best.
Not according to a current manual. It is like any of the combo units. Yes you can burn wood but they are not good at doing it at all
 

Ludlow

Minister of Fire
Jun 4, 2018
1,437
PA
Not according to a current manual. It is like any of the combo units. Yes you can burn wood but they are not good at doing it at all

Yes, it is a coal furnace that can burn wood. Not a wood furnace that can burn coal. Better to just burn coal for sure.

Capture.JPG
 

jcampb21

New Member
Jan 28, 2020
9
15136
Yeah, i have read that they are not very efficient wood burner also. Do you guys feel i should focus my efforts on installing a wood burning insert in the fireplace in the middle floor? Do you think the additional efficiency is worth the additional cost of a new stove? I guess i could also get an insert and finish the repair on the Hitzer this summer and try to get my hands on some coal for next winter.
 

Ludlow

Minister of Fire
Jun 4, 2018
1,437
PA
There is some confusion regarding the models 82, 82FA and 82UL. The website has conflicting information. You better call them before burning wood to make sure. Apparently they have the model 82 manual for download on the model 82FA webpage. What else is new.
 
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jetsam

Minister of Fire
Dec 12, 2015
5,284
Long Island, NY
youtu.be
No insert is going to heat 4200sf solo, but it will help a lot, and the wood's free.

The insert is also a long-term investment, whereas the coal furnace may not be.

Maybe you should pick a couple wood furnaces that you like and see if they will run on a 7" flue given your tall stack, and take the decision making process from there.
 

brenndatomu

Minister of Fire
Aug 21, 2013
6,602
NE Ohio
There are a couple wood furnace models that would heat that size home...at least most of the time...maybe need to supplement a bit during "polar vortex" days...and they use 6" flues too...
 

spudman99

Feeling the Heat
Jan 26, 2018
350
Yardley, PA
Just for clarity sake, square footage of a home is based on the above grade finished area excluding garages, sunrooms or breezeways. Finished basements are never included in a building square footage, even if they are walk-out. Open rooms or clear story are also not considered square footage. It is common for folks to over estimate the size of their home not knowing the methods of calculation. A 4200 sf home is pretty big.