What to do now? (Heatform removal)

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Powerlinefixer

New Member
Oct 24, 2021
3
Western Oregon
Hey All-

I could really use some advice on how to proceed with my project. My intent is to remove the heatform fireplace and install a wood stove using alcove clearances.

I have removed the upper vents, what was left of the heatform, and the masonry smoke shelf. I didn't remove the lintel or the mantel. The upper part of the heatform was completely rusted away. The condition of the masonry seems to be pretty good. I'll need to a little repointing.

I was expecting to find lots of brick around the firebox so I could remove the taper of the firebox, increasing side clearance for the stove. Instead of brick, I found one layer of 4x7.5x14.5 concrete blocks with an air void on the other side. The blocks appear to be structural so I'm not messing with anything else until I get some advice from people that are more knowledgeable about this stuff.

Is there a way to remove these blocks to remove the firebox taper and make the opening square?

Should I go with an insert or smaller stove? We already have a stove.

I have attached some pictures and a hastily made drawing. The chimney is not built of solid brick. It's about 10' tall. Two opposing sides of the flue are brick, the other sides are the concrete block.

Thanks a ton!

-Powerlinefixer

Chimney.png 20211025_180346.jpg 20211024_102605.jpg 20211024_092233.jpg 20211024_102532.jpg 20211023_193208.jpg
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
91,305
South Puget Sound, WA
Why was the heatform removed when an insert could have been put in it? It was rusty, but now things get more complicated.
 

Powerlinefixer

New Member
Oct 24, 2021
3
Western Oregon
Why was the heatform removed when an insert could have been put in it? It was rusty, but now things get more complicated.
The heatform was more than just rusty. It was literally falling out of the chimney. I found that rodents had gotten into it as well. Lots of combustible stuff all around.

I'm prepared for complicated.
 

bholler

Chimney sweep
Staff member
Jan 14, 2014
26,842
central pa
The heatform was more than just rusty. It was literally falling out of the chimney. I found that rodents had gotten into it as well. Lots of combustible stuff all around.

I'm prepared for complicated.
You made things way more complicated than they needed to be. And no I don't think you can remove those block. You now just have to start rebuilding masonry
 

xterra

Member
Dec 9, 2015
27
PA
Having been through this myself, i'd settle on an insert instead of an alcove setup. I had a mason inspect what was remaining and to rebuild the firebox to what would look like a fireplace again, then installed an insert with liner.
 
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Powerlinefixer

New Member
Oct 24, 2021
3
Western Oregon
So a friend brought to my attention seismic issues with masonry chimneys. We've decided to take the chimney down and go back with factory built stuff. It just seems safer all the way around.
 
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begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
91,305
South Puget Sound, WA
It's a reasonable concern. The last earthquake rotated the top of our chimney 45º. The only reason it didn't topple was the rigid liner inside and some strong silicone on the top cap. My nextdoor neighbor's chimney fell down.