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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Dallas & Longview, TX
    Posts
    629

    Wood Chimney Cap?

    I have an unusual dimension chimney with an oversized opening compaired to what I've seen in others. It's a wood burner. 59 yrs. old. The damper rusted out so I've been looking for solutions.

    Heaterman mentioned the importance of having a certified chimney sweep evaluate the whole fireplace. He said he recommended replacing the damper but it would be a big job, removing alot of brick etc. Asked him about a Lock top instead and he said they don't make them close to that size and a custom one with installation would be more than replacing the damper.

    Called a second guy who I don't believe have any certification. He suggested that the cap be rebuilt to fit a standard sized Lock Top. Sounded interesting to me but when asking him about how he would rebuild it, he said he would put plywood over the opening and brick that or something. Once he said wood my brain went into overdrive trying to figure out how this would work.

    My question is: How do you determine the size of the chimney opening and is there a way to rebuild it to a more narrow size?

    Thanks for any responses.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    S.E. Pa
    Posts
    6,290

    Cool gives new meaning to "woodburning" fireplace

    Wow! Some scary advice you've gotten. I recommend you get a QUALIFIED professional to perform a level II inspection first and foremost. Make sure they address the issue of the damper. If the top of the chimney must be repaired, those repairs must comply with the applicable code. Downsizing is inappropriate. Using plywood in contact with a masonry chimney would be borderline criminal for attempted manslaughter. You must maintain clearances to combustibles per the code. If the rest of the chimney is ok and you just need a damper, they make some really hugh throat dampers that might work for you but again you need a pro to size them for you. Top dampers are a great solution but you cannot downsize the chimney just to fit a damper/ cap. Ask these morons where they will be when your house burns down or your family is in the ER/ morgue from carbon monoxide poisoning.

    This sounds like a masonry fireplace. If it is a factory built fireplace or a steelform fireplace, your best bet would be to remove it. If it is a steelform, you can torch them out then Rumfordize the fireplace and have something that actually throws off a little heat. If it is a factory built, you can replace it with an EPA Certifed fireplace/stove which gives you the burn of an open hearth with the heating capability of an EPA Phase II woodstove. If you budget allows on a few hundred $$, your best bet is probably just to seal it off at the top and decommission it.

    HTH,
    Hearthman

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Dallas & Longview, TX
    Posts
    629
    Hearthman, sorry for the new name!!

    The first pro was for sure qualified and did perform a level II insp. Said all good but needed a damper replacement.

    He is the only certified on in my area within an hour drive. Looked in the phone book and found a guy that just does fireplace work. Thought it might be good to get a second opinion.

    There is no code where I live so it's up to me to find someone to do it right.

    "you cannot downsize the chimney just to fit a damper/ cap" This was what I was concerned about along with the obvious wood contact issue.

    It's an origional hand made fireplace from 1953. It is 49" wide by 29" deep. The certified pro who first looked at it said it pulled a great draft and the bricks and morter where in satisfactory condition. I had called him to inspect it and either clean it or install a direct vent fireplace. He said due to the dimensions, he wouldn't be able to find a direct vent without rebuilding the whole thing.

    I think I'll stick with the certified pro's choice of rebuilding the internal damper even though it cost a bit more than I had hoped.

    Thanks for the answers!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Dallas & Longview, TX
    Posts
    629
    Follow up: Got the original guy to install the new metal damper where the old one rusted out. Due to the size (29x8") it took him a quite a few hours to do.

    Question: He used refractory cement to do the majority of it but used some adhesive chalk that sets up like rock to seal a few areas inside the box where the old mortor had fallen out. I've never seen this before. Is this a commonly used product?

    He got a chuckle when I told him about the other guy wanting to choke off the top of the chimney and us a lock top damper. He said it would limit me to a Duraflame log and he would make sure the insurance was paid before it was lit.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Madison, WI
    Posts
    1,078
    49"w x 29" deep? Every single gas direct vent insert we sell would have fit in there FYI. Unless it is shorter than 26" which I doubt, due to the width of it.

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