Hoping for some friendly advice. Thanks in advance.
We live in Maine and had a chimney fire in our newly relined chimney.
We had the original installer/chimney sweep do a cleaning and camera inspection. He discovered a breach in our 1-year-old Lindemann 316L "SmartFlex" stainless steel liner (pics attached). The breach appears to be a couple inches long based on the images. The installer filled the space around the liner with cement containing vermiculite.
The installer and Lindemann both say it's not safe to burn with the breach.
We're now faced with some hard (expensive) decisions.
Question 1: Does this breach really make it unsafe to burn? Breach appears to be about 10 feet from top of chimney.
The installer says he has never removed/replaced a cemented stainless steel liner in his 15 years of business. Lindemann said the liner cannot be repaired and must be replaced.
Question 2: Is removal and re-installation really the only option? As handy people, is there something we could do ourselves?
We have looked at stainless chimney pipe that runs up the outside of the house.
Question 3: Is an external chimney pipe a good and safe option? I've watched videos and read articles and it seems this is a project that we could handle.
Details That Might Help
The chimney is block up to the roof line where it turns into conventional red brick. The red brick was replaced about 10 years ago.
After the new liner was installed, the surface of the chimney was only lukewarm to the touch when burning. There was a noticeable decrease in air flow compared to the terracotta liner that was previously installed. I'm sure this is because of the smaller size of the new liner which has a 7" diameter. The previous terracotta was rectangular with about 40% more volume of space.
After the fire, the installer sent a scope up and found a breach in the new liner about 10 feet below the top of the chimney. This puts the breach at about the location of the attic floor. The firemen said they saw red-hot cinders in about the same location during the fire.
During the chimney fire, the surface of the chimney reached between 140 and 200 degrees in a few places near the location of the breach. During the fire, at the roof line and at the attic floor (near the breach), steam was coming out between blocks. These were the hottest spots during the fire.
Hi Russ; Welcome to Permies!
I agree that the current chimney must be repaired or replaced.
All you can do is compair the costs. Nothing beats an indoor chimney as a heat sink. Helping to keep a nice steady heat in your home. Cost to replace your liner is no doubt not cheap.
Replacing your indoor chimney with an outside one has its own costs as well.
"Metal-bestos" style insulated chimney pipe is not cheap either. An external chimney must be properly braced for wind and to support the weight of all the sections getting above your roof line.
That is a DYI job though so no paying the chimney repair man.
Now let me give you another option... I'll climb up on my soapbox now...
A rocket mass heater exahust never reaches much over 350F ever. Normal gas temps while running are 150F-250F External pipe temps average 150F
Oh and if you burn 5 cord of wood now... you will burn less than half if you build a RMH.
No creasote ever , hardly any ash, nothing but steam or heat shimmers from your chimney....
Never heard of a rocket mass heater ? Well come on over to the rmh forum here at permies and READ ALL ABOUT THEM!
Hi Russ; I have to agree with Greg.
Only one year old and damaged like that?
What does the installer have to say? That the chimney fire did that ?
I'm sure they will twist it around and it will not be their fault.
Now back to my soap box, RMH's exhaust temps are so low that the tear in the stainless won't hurt anything. wood ignites at 456F damage to wood starts at 300F . Ten feet from the top of your chimney a rmh exhaust, would be at most 150F usually less.
thomas rubino wrote:Now back to my soap box, RMH's exhaust temps are so low that the tear in the stainless won't hurt anything. wood ignites at 456F damage to wood starts at 300F . Ten feet from the top of your chimney a rmh exhaust, would be at most 150F usually less.
I installed a single wall stainless steel flue for our wood stove with 20 feet of it inside our house so it radiates heat all the way up. The temperature where it goes through the ceiling is 95 degrees so we're getting most of the heat.
Diego Footer on Permaculture Based Homesteads - from the Eat Your Dirt Summit