Prefab Chimney Issues...need advice

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KarenS1201

New Member
Oct 20, 2021
4
Maryland
We have a Majestic zero clearance prefab fireplace installed when we had our house construction in 1990.
Approx 15 years ago we had it converted for use with a stand alone woodstove by having triple wall steel liner inserted. We have had yearly cleaning.
We noticed rust stains on our siding at the chimney top and called for it to be inspected. We were told the crown needed replacement. After several months of delays obtaining the part, we had an inspection by another company. They are now telling us there is extensive damage do to water leakage and repair costs will be $20-30,000. Since the oil furnace chimney also is in the chase, they advise not using the furnace or wood stove until work is completed...which they cannot do until March. They did not use a camera to inspect the chimney.
We are at a loss to know what to do at this point.
We have scheduled an inspection by another company.
I do have some photos that were taken of the exterior parts.
Any advice would be appreciated.

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Last edited:

Corey

Minister of Fire
Nov 19, 2005
2,671
Midwest
A bit hard to say from the photos. Sure the metal looks rusty - and I see water in the background so possibly close to the ocean / salt air? But everything looks sold, and caps / flashing tend to be some some modest metal thickness so likely you caught it before too much damage occurred... or else you'd be complaining of water stained walls, damaged ceilings, and puddles of water in the fireplace / living room, etc. The flues themselves are likely stainless steel so minimal issue with corrosion there. The main issue would be if any water sealing / caulking at any of the joints started to leak and water getting into the wooden(?) chase...but again, I'd expect you'd notice water inside the house or water stains coming out the bottom of the chase if that were the case.

I think your 'third opinion' is a good bet. Very possible one company is just using scare tactics to get a nice 20-30K payday. You might also see about getting this thread moved to the main forum as it would get more eyes there... it's really a chimney/chase issue vs a 'classic wood stove' issue.

Good luck and welcome to the forum!
 

KarenS1201

New Member
Oct 20, 2021
4
Maryland
A bit hard to say from the photos. Sure the metal looks rusty - and I see water in the background so possibly close to the ocean / salt air? But everything looks sold, and caps / flashing tend to be some some modest metal thickness so likely you caught it before too much damage occurred... or else you'd be complaining of water stained walls, damaged ceilings, and puddles of water in the fireplace / living room, etc. The flues themselves are likely stainless steel so minimal issue with corrosion there. The main issue would be if any water sealing / caulking at any of the joints started to leak and water getting into the wooden(?) chase...but again, I'd expect you'd notice water inside the house or water stains coming out the bottom of the chase if that were the case.

I think your 'third opinion' is a good bet. Very possible one company is just using scare tactics to get a nice 20-30K payday. You might also see about getting this thread moved to the main forum as it would get more eyes there... it's really a chimney/chase issue vs a 'classic wood stove' issue.

Good luck and welcome to the forum!
We have seen no water. I noticed last winter when there is a hard rain, I can hear a slow drip. We checked but we did not see any leaks in the actual fireplace. This unit is close to 30 years old, is it just time to consider a full replacement.
Thanks

I copied the post to the main forum... hope I selected the best one.
 

KarenS1201

New Member
Oct 20, 2021
4
Maryland
We have seen no water. I noticed last winter when there is a hard rain, I can hear a slow drip. We checked but we did not see any leaks in the actual fireplace. This unit is close to 30 years old, is it just time to consider a full replacement.
Thanks

I copied the post to the main forum... hope I selected the best one.
PS...We live on the Chesapeake Bay waterfront in Maryland.
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
92,831
South Puget Sound, WA
It's good to get a second (and third) opinion. You could try coating all the rusty metal with naval jelly to stop current surface oxidation and see if that buys you some time, but if there are water leaks they should be found and sealed. This may take opening an inspection hole and some camera work for the furnace flue to verify it's ok to use for the season.
 
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KarenS1201

New Member
Oct 20, 2021
4
Maryland
It's good to get a second (and third) opinion. You could try coating all the rusty metal with naval jelly to stop current surface oxidation and see if that buys you some time, but if there are water leaks they should be found and sealed. This may take opening an inspection hole and some camera work for the furnace flue to verify it's ok to use for the season.
Will ask if they will do the inspection whole. We can do without using the woodstove this winter, but not the furnace.