Looking for options...

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ZCMan

New Member
Mar 20, 2021
1
Seattle
My house was built in 1980, but had an addition done sometime before I purchased it in 1996. Part of the addition was a family room which contains a Heatilator FP36 zero clearance fireplace. The fireplace has two issues that I'm aware of: the final section of the chimney has come disconnected from the rest of the chimney stack. The connection point (ie the top of the rest of the chimney stack) sits about one foot below the roof deck. The other issue is that the final section of chimney is about 2' too short to meet code (it's about level with the roof 10' away). Note that there's no chase surrounding the chimney once it exits the roof.

So, my questions are:
  1. Can the chimney section be re-attached? Obviously, a definitive answer would ulimately require a detailed inspection (more on that later), but is this problem something that can typically be repaired or put back together? In my research I've come across statements to the effect that once chimney sections of this era are connected together they aren't intended to be taken apart and reconnected. I have the original installation manual for the fireplace, but it doesn't really say much about how the chimney sections are connected.
  2. Even if the disconnected chimney section can be re-attached, there's still the problem of it being too short. It seems that parts availability for this fireplace ended a long time ago and my understanding is that you can't mix and match different brands/models of chimney pipe. Is that correct? If so, it would seem that there's no way to bring this up to code and that the existing fireplace has reached the end of its life.
  3. Are there other options?
I've been told that I can put a Lopi insert into the ZC and run a liner up through the existing chimney. I've been working with a chimney sweep who's looked at my fireplace and is now trying to chase down whether this is a feasible option. However, several threads on this forum have pointed out that to do this, the insert needs to be:
  1. approved for use in the ZC. Lopi does say Heatilator is ok.
  2. the existing chimney and fireplace need to be in good condition and up to code.
Based on #2, it seems that an insert isn't an option. However, is there a fix that might not bring the existing ZC up to snuff for use as-is, but would be ok for use of the insert? Or is that just wishful thinking?

The other wrinkle is that roofers show up next week to re-roof our house. I'm debating whether to have them re-roof around the chimney as-is, or pull the top chimney section and have them patch the deck and roof over the opening until we figure out what to do with this thing. A functioning fireplace isn't a high priority at the moment - we enjoy an occaisional fire for ambiance, but haven't used the fireplace since the chimney became disconnected. Any thoughts on which way to go with the roofing? All input appreciated.
 

clancey

Minister of Fire
Feb 26, 2021
1,398
Colorado
If it were me and I am green at all of this--I would have the roofers do their work and fix the hole and put the roofing in and put the flashing around the chimney and that job is finished. Next I would take my time and look for a free standing stove that you and your family might like to have in the future and place in your house wherever you decide it should be and if this means tearing out the fireplace so be it for they are nothing but confining the type of inserts that you can have in there as well as not knowing anything about that fireplace for safety because you did not put it in and it could be dangerous with holes in the bricks or whatever and let air and birds and raccoons and all kinds of critters who could get access to you home and die in the process, I would completely get rid of it...Mrs clancey