Fireplace and fuel-powered furnace

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New Member
Jan 27, 2023
Hagerstown, MD 21740
We are renters who recently moved into a single family house with a functional, simple fireplace and a diesel-powered furnace with radiators throughout the house. The fireplace has been lovely and I just cleaned the ash pit from the basement. However, there is another ash pit-like door right next to it, which sits below the exhaust for the furnace. It looks like it hasn't been touched in 20 years. You could see layers of deposits of dirt and ash, which I vacuumed out, but then various buildup starting falling down it. Bricks, sticks, a bird's nest, and even shale that looks like it broke off of the inside of the wall. This is built right into the wall of the basement, and from the outside all I can see is solid concrete foundation. I dont wanna keep pulling debris out and cause an issue, but I'm also worried that this could show a underlying problem. The real estate agency that just bought the house did a Landlord Special while renovating and the foundation for the addition in the back of the house is falling apart, so I dont trust that they'll actually try to take proper care of it. Does anyone know if this chute goes all the way up the fireplace, or if there's some other outdoor opening to the chute, or if that dirt and sticks could come from the exhaust?
It sounds like the furnace flue could be deteriorating. It's unknown whether this is also true of the fireplace flue. This will require an on-site inspection by a certified chimney sweep.