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Natural Fireplace Question

 
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Old 03-14-2012, 08:34 PM   #1
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Natural Fireplace Question


I'm looking to buy a home that has a natural fireplace amd I have no experience with them. The chimney has what looks like 6 flues. It's also double stacked, meaning there is one on the main level and one directly below in the basement. I'd like to make sure its safe first but also looking to put an insert in it. I like to keep it a log fireplace. Is there anything I should look at. Anyone want to inspect it. I'm wanting to use it for supplemental heat.

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Old 03-14-2012, 08:38 PM   #2
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Re: Natural Fireplace Question


Hire a certified chimney sweep, he will be able to determine the integrity of the fireplace and chimney.

Six flues doesn't sound right, but only someone on the scene can determine what's up with that.

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Old 03-14-2012, 08:59 PM   #3
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Re: Natural Fireplace Question


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Originally Posted by dakzaag
Hire a certified chimney sweep, he will be able to determine the integrity of the fireplace and chimney.

Six flues doesn't sound right, but only someone on the scene can determine what's up with that.
I got a call in to one but won't be out till Friday. Just want to educate a little. The top of the chimneys has six seperate flues. I figured 1 was for the furnace and water heater. Maybe 2 per fireplace?.
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:06 PM   #4
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Re: Natural Fireplace Question


Never seen a fireplace with two flues. Not saying it can't be done, but never seen it and can't figure why it would be done.

I have seen cold air return flues, but I think they are likely to pull smoke back in.

You should be able to smell a water heater or furnace.

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Old 03-14-2012, 09:22 PM   #5
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Re: Natural Fireplace Question


I have seen fireplaces done with double fluetiles.........I've only seen it twice, and both were enormous fireplaces, 6-7 feet wide and maybe 4 ft. high.......they used 'siamese' flues......probably to keep from having to lay those 280 lb. monsters......Are you saying that there are only 2 fireplaces? And six flues? Hmmmm.... That is odd, for sure. If any of the fireplaces have twin flues, it will be very evident just looking up through the damper, at the top of the smoke chamber......but that picture looks like an average size f-place.......Curious.....
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Old 03-14-2012, 09:29 PM   #6
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Re: Natural Fireplace Question


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I have seen fireplaces done with double fluetiles.........I've only seen it twice, and both were enormous fireplaces, 6-7 feet wide and maybe 4 ft. high.......they used 'siamese' flues......probably to keep from having to lay those 280 lb. monsters......Are you saying that there are only 2 fireplaces? And six flues? Hmmmm.... That is odd, for sure. If any of the fireplaces have twin flues, it will be very evident just looking up through the damper, at the top of the smoke chamber......but that picture looks like an average size f-place.......Curious.....
Yep two, one on top of the other.
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:05 PM   #7
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Re: Natural Fireplace Question


What is a natural fireplace? I have seen and recommended double flues for large or size limited chases.
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:15 PM   #8
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Re: Natural Fireplace Question


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What is a natural fireplace? I have seen and recommended double flues for large or size limited chases.
Natural wood.
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Old 03-14-2012, 10:49 PM   #9
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Re: Natural Fireplace Question


Sometimes because of the position the flues in a wide chimney, there might be a dummy flue- a short piece of flue pipe that is installed just to make the chimney top look symetrical.
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Old 03-14-2012, 11:44 PM   #10
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Re: Natural Fireplace Question


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Sometimes because of the position the flues in a wide chimney, there might be a dummy flue- a short piece of flue pipe that is installed just to make the chimney top look symetrical.
Dave
that would be my guess....dummy flues at the top.
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Old 03-15-2012, 05:56 AM   #11
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Re: Natural Fireplace Question


Here's one with 16 flues.
natural fireplace question-6782122546_bac3cdf862_z.jpg
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:03 AM   #12
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Re: Natural Fireplace Question


Could have spare thimbles we almost always add a secondary flue for future use in new homes.
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:38 AM   #13
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Re: Natural Fireplace Question


The whole chimney from basement to roof is about 10 ft wide.
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Old 03-15-2012, 12:36 PM   #14
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Re: Natural Fireplace Question


I vote for dummy flues as well, just something to balance the size of the chimney.
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Old 03-15-2012, 04:08 PM   #15
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Re: Natural Fireplace Question


Well if you have a woodstove set up, a furnace, and 2 fireplaces thats 4 flues. Not sure where the others are from.

Ive done a chimney with 2x 12x18 flues but it was a very large firebox. The firebox in the picture looks rather squatty and small and could use a mantle.

The good news is there is no staining on the face of the fireplace. Thats a good indication that it draws well.

Your chimney sweep will tell you that you need a metal liner no matter what the tiles look like.
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Old 03-15-2012, 04:25 PM   #16
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Re: Natural Fireplace Question


Chimneys guy inspected it today. He said flues are good and clean and that he didn't think wood was ever burned in it. There's one dummy flue. 2 flues for the fireplaces 1 each . 1 flue for the furnace/water heater. 1 unknown flue that goes to nothing.
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Old 03-15-2012, 07:38 PM   #17
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Re: Natural Fireplace Question





Be aware that if you decide to put a gas log in sometime down the road, that it will attack the clay liners aggressively. If it is only occasional use, then you should be fine, but if the gas log is used as a constant heat source, you will have to pay close attention and eventually replace the liners.

Since your planning to burn wood, it won't be a problem, but sometimes guys get tired of the wood thing and then the real damage begins.
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Old 03-15-2012, 08:45 PM   #18
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Re: Natural Fireplace Question


Quote:
Originally Posted by dakzaag


Be aware that if you decide to put a gas log in sometime down the road, that it will attack the clay liners aggressively. If it is only occasional use, then you should be fine, but if the gas log is used as a constant heat source, you will have to pay close attention and eventually replace the liners.

Since your planning to burn wood, it won't be a problem, but sometimes guys get tired of the wood thing and then the real damage begins.
I think I'm going with an insert, so what I was told there will be a stainless steel liner going in. What makes the gas attack the clay that a wood fire don't? Just curious.
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Old 03-16-2012, 03:02 AM   #19
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Re: Natural Fireplace Question


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I think I'm going with an insert, so what I was told there will be a stainless steel liner going in. What makes the gas attack the clay that a wood fire don't? Just curious.
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Old 03-16-2012, 07:09 AM   #20
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Re: Natural Fireplace Question


The results of burning a gas appliance are very acidic fumes that draw moisture into the chimney. This moisture condenses on the flue walls and eats into the liner until it completely desintigrates.

The best description I have heard is it basically causes a micro environment of acid rain in the chimney that agressively attacks the clay liner. Since the gas appliance doesn't exhaust the amount of fumes as a natural wood burning fire, the chimney is way oversized and doesn't draw as well and often the gasses never leave the chimney.

High quality stainless steal is the only product I am aware of that resists the acid corrosion over extended times. If some of the flues currently in use are venting a gas appliance, I would have expected the sweep to discover problems in those flues.

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