• A New Furnace and Your Chimney

    A New Furnace and Your Chimney

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    If you are getting ready to purchase a new furnace or have just purchased a furnace our sweeps at Lindemann Chimney Service on the North Side of Chicago and Southern Wisconsin would be happy to inspect your chimney for you.

    Furnaces manufactured today are designed very efficiently. Some are so efficient that they vent out the side of the home with a white plastic pipe commonly referred to as PVC pipe. Other new furnaces may still vent into the chimney. Sometimes this can cause problems in the form of white mineral salts called “efflorescence” which show up on the exterior of the chimney. Moisture problems can also appear as “leaking” through the chimney, wet paper or wet dry wall damage or a wet chimney like in the photo below on the right.

    Furance_Flue_Liners_Graphic

    Relined flue Unlined flue

    If your furnace was older and less efficient it likely sent quite a bit of heat up the chimney. Newer furnaces extract more heat that circulates to the living area. This is great except that now the temperatures in the flue is colder. When the flue gasses cool before they reach the top of the chimney you can end up with condensation. It’s like taking an ice cold glass of water outside on a hot day – you get condensation on the exterior of the glass. The same thing can happen in your chimney.

    The problems start with this moisture which by itself can cause damage to your chimney through freeze/thaw cycles. The moisture can also cause the efflorescence mentioned above, which is unsightly and can be hard to remove. It can also soften the mortar making it weaker and subject to more problems down the road. Add to this the fact that the furnace pulls in chlorides from laundry detergent, forhaldehyde from carpets, paint thinners and off-gassing from other products stored in the home. When they mix with the moisture they become acids like, for example, hydrochloric acid.

    furnace

    “Orphaned” water heaters can also cause problems. These are water heaters that used to vent with your furnace and now vent into that big space all by themselves. Even thought it may not be very efficient, the flue gasses can still cool too quickly when vented inside a large space.

    If either of these situations has been going on a while you may also have damage inside the chimney flue. We can inspect your flue using a video camera and provide you with documention of any problems and will share the video scan with you.

    lindemann-video-scanning-chimney

    Video Scanning Equipment

    To fix the moisture and damage problems your chimney needs to be relined. We will use a chimney liner that is JUL Listed for that type of application. It will also help the entire system run more efficiently. It’s like –the difference between trying to water your plants with a garden hose and watering it with the same small amount of water but using a fire hose. It just doesn’t work well. If there is any damage to the masonry structure of your chimney we can also offer repairs.

    For more information on relining your chimney please call us at 847-918-7994 or click here to contact us.

    Posted by Karen Stickels Lamansky, author of Design Ideas for Fireplaces, published by Creative Homeowner Press.

    By Rob Lindemann

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