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  #1  
Old 02-03-2009, 07:15 PM
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Terroreyes Terroreyes is offline
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Default Chimney condensation

Suddenly this winter, my chimney is sweating moisture through the brick in the basement. The condensation is right in the area where the furnace vent is cemented into it. Enough to run all the way to the floor and keep it wet all winter so far. Two changes I made, and I'm sure one is the culprit. But, which one, and what's the cure? This summer, I put a new coat of paint on the stack on the roof, and I put a chimney cap on it. I put the cap on because we had torential rains one day and it was enough to fill up the ash collection recess and run into the basement. 8 previous seasons and no problems until now. All the brickwork is fine, top to bottom.

Last edited by Terroreyes; 02-03-2009 at 07:18 PM.
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  #2  
Old 02-03-2009, 07:34 PM
Hollis Uled
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Its the cap. The exhaust has a LOT of moisture in it, It used to escape into the air and condense there. Now it hits that very cold metal and you will see many drops collect on the underside if you go up on a cold day. Those drops add up to a lot and is flowing back down.
This has esp been a problem since new heating systems have cooler exhausts. When they were 600+ any metal caps would get hot enough that the condensation wouldn't happen,...
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  #3  
Old 02-04-2009, 05:46 AM
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Jim Tunney Jim Tunney is offline
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Default Condensation

Ash collection recess are you burning wood. On my wood burner it used to rust the and overflow the collecter. All I had to do was increase the chimney stack temperture and it quit. I keep it at 300 to 350 degrees.

If it is a newer boiler why would you need to send it up the chimney they use plastic pipe and send it out the side wall.
I have a high efficency furnace and the condensation that comes out the drain is surprising. The pipe is clear plastic and you can see the water buildup. I put a hose thru the basement floor so it can workover to the sump pump.
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  #4  
Old 02-04-2009, 06:34 AM
boden
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As Hollis said, its the cap. Take off the cap and I'll bet it will stop immediately.
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  #5  
Old 02-04-2009, 10:25 AM
Old Bricker
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If you are running a newer, more efficient furnace into an old unlined masonry chimney it will be a problem sooner or later. Usually this shows up sooner than eight years.The stack temp is too low to evaporate the moisture inside. If removing the cap don't help you should have a metal liner installed or eventually the whole outside of the masonry will turn to snot. That is why water heaters vented in an old masonry chimney is not recomended. It will do this even in a clay lined chimney but it takes a few more years. I've relined many with stainless steel liners and it has worked every time. Cheap to do but expensive and messy if you wait till the chimney is too far gone because the plaster or drywall or anything touching the masonry on the floors above will soak this snot up and will stink forever. Smells like coal smoke.
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:19 PM
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KHedquist KHedquist is offline
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So just to clarify, you have a natural gas furnace vented to a brick chimney without metal liner, correct?
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Old 02-04-2009, 01:25 PM
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http://www.energyserv.com/context/ma...on/chimney.asp

Chimney Venting

Properly sizing a furnace

Many contractors simply do not know how to properly size a furnace; or they do, but just don't want to spend the time and diligence in doing so. One of the key elements in sizing a furnace is accounting for the chimney and its condition. We find that when we are bidding on jobs the majority of our competitors neglect the chimney, thus leaving any chimney liner out of the equation and out of the price.

We at Energy Services believe in doing the job right. Part of that job is making sure you and your family are safe and protected. We are also looking out for any future repairs that may incur if the job is done incorrectly. Not accounting for the chimney in the sizing process can lead to very expensive repairs like having to hire a brick layer to completely replace your brick chimney, having to replace your hot water heater, or having to prematurely replace your furnace.
http://www.energyserv.com/Images/chimenybricks4.jpgIssues at the chimney

If you have a masonry chimney and need to replace your furnace, you need to know this information.

Most masonry chimneys are obsolete for venting today's more efficient furnaces. This is because most masonry chimneys are too large in diameter to properly vent the cooler flue gasses that today's 80% efficient furnaces produce.

You need to know...

1. Most masonry chimneys are either not lined with a metal chimney liner or not completely lined with clay tile.

2. If a 90%+ efficient furnace is purchased, it can not be vented into a masonry chimney. In this situation, the only appliance left to vent into the masonry chimney is the hot water heater, which typically has a three to four inch vent connector. Therefore, the hot water heater can not be reconnected back into the existing, drastically oversized common masonry chimney. See the discussion below that describes the need for a flexible chimney liner.
Here is what happens during a masonry chimney's life-cycle

The typical gas furnace and hot water heater uses household air to mix natural gas in the burners to create the heat we need. The byproducts of the burning natural gas include water vapor mixed with the household air. This water vapor mixture includes the off-gassing of the household chemicals we use on a daily basis. This, in turn, causes the water vapor to become acidic. There is about a gallon of water vapor in a Therm of natural gas.

During the time the gas furnace and hot water heater are operating, the products of combustion, which include this acidic water vapor, enter the vent connector metal pipe and travel horizontally to the common masonry chimney and up into the atmosphere above the home. As long as the "water" is in a gaseous vapor state there is little to no harm to brick and mortar. However, as the flue gasses travel from the furnace and water heater vent connector and into the masonry chimney, the flue gas temperature drops from 575 to 375 degrees to below 200 degrees. This is the dew point or point where the flue gasses begin to condense into droplets of water.
Costly repairs and health issues

Over time, the acid water seeps onto the mortar joints and into the brickwork. This acid water then freezes in the winter and thaws in the spring which causes the mortar to disintegrate and cement in the brick to start leaching out of the chimney chase. The leaching looks like streaks of white or off color powder either at the eight foot level or near the top three feet of the chimney. Eventually, more and more mortar breaks loose and gaps appear. To prevent the chimney from completely crumbling to the ground a mason contractor is called in to temporarily fix the chimney with tuck-pointing.

If a chimney liner is not installed to fix the problem, tuck-pointing will continue at an accelerated pace and/or the entire chimney will have to be replaced. Tuck-pointing and/or replacing the chimney could cost from hundreds to thousands of dollars.

We have seen masonry chimneys so deteriorated that carbon monoxide seeped into attic areas, crossed the insulation barrier and spread into the living space of homes where people resided. In a few ranch homes we discovered stained inside walls where the acid water leached through the mortar joints onto drywall in living rooms.
Solutions and Guidelines for Venting Furnaces and Water Heaters into a Masonry Chimeny

If the furnace to be installed is an 80% efficient model, a five or six diameter metal chimney liner is installed in the chimney. If a 90%+ efficient furnace is installed a three to four inch diameter chimney liner is installed. The 90%+ furnaces are vented with PVC out the side of homes. 90+ efficient furnaces should never be vented into masonry chimneys.
  1. http://www.energyserv.com/Images/chimney%20liner.jpg Your masonry chimney must be carefully inspected by the installing company to determine if it is lined from the top to the bottom with a clay tile liner.
  2. There must be no breaks or separations to or between the clay tiles.
  3. The mortar between each clay tile must be intact.
  4. If there is an offset, it must be lined with clay tile and not bricks, which is a rarity in the Chicagoland area.*
  5. The clay tile liner must be 5 to 8 inches in diameter.
*Note: many furnaces in the Chicagoland area are vented into a masonry chimney along with a fireplace. There is almost always an offset for the furnace common chimney that is not clay tile lined in the offset section. This offset is usually made out of brick and mortar. Sometimes we see about two feet of brick and mortar just below the top of the chimney instead of clay tile. Both the furnace manufacturer and the GAMA Venting Tables say this type of chimney is not clay tile lined and therefore requires the addition of a new metal liner. Unfortunately, many heating contractors donít know this because they donít read these manuals or are not trained by the manufacturer. If you have both a masonry fireplace and furnace flue in the same brick chase, make sure your contractor inspects your furnace chimney from the top down to verify the construction. If they donít and claim that venting is not required, seek out a different contractor.

Lastly, it is against furnace manufacturers and GAMA tables codes if the existing furnace and water heater vent connector runs horizontally over twenty feet toward the masonry chimney. The solution is to install a 90%+ efficient furnace and a side-vented, power-vent hot water heater and cap off the furnace portion of the obsolete masonry chimney.
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  #8  
Old 02-04-2009, 06:21 PM
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Terroreyes Terroreyes is offline
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Thanks for the input. To clarify, I have a relatively old furnace (15 years). It's definitely not a high efficiency. The chimney isn't lined with metal, but does have a clay liner. Also, one other thing I did was to install a new water heater that vents into the same area. Jim, I don't know why the recess is there. I have a natural gas furnace, but the house was built in 1929, so who know the history of how it was heated along the way. It does have a coal chute.

As soon as the snow melts this weekend, I'm going to pull that cap off and see what happens.
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  #9  
Old 02-04-2009, 07:45 PM
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KHedquist KHedquist is offline
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I believe here in MN the bldg codes say you cant vent a natural or propane furnace into chimney that doesn't have a metal liner
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  #10  
Old 02-05-2009, 09:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moreyes View Post
I believe here in MN the bldg codes say you cant vent a natural or propane furnace into chimney that doesn't have a metal liner
Correct.

Al
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