Gallery Of Bad Ideas:
Below are some photos that we have taken over the years at various customer's homes. They detail problems that we have seen. No information is available on this page that can identify any particular customer. We always keep customer information private. The intent of this page is only to give examples of what can go wrong, and what we can fix we can fix.
Properly installed chimneys, liners and appliances don't fail, don't catch on fire, don't leak carbon monoxide into your home, don't harm your family or burn your house down. Doing something properly may cost more initially, but is well worth it in the long run.
Never use an umbrella as a rain cap, even as a temporary fix during a storm. Flue gases from the furnace can be trapped under here and forced back into the house, filling the house with carbon monoxide. We do provide emergency services. (This is not our customer, it was seen driving by.) For more about caps go to our "Caps and Waterseals" page.
Venting, even pellet, can not go "down" only horizontal or "up". Also it can't terminate in that spot.
More about venting "Metal Chimneys"
This is a metal chimney venting a furnace. Snow and ice slid down the roof, folding the chimney over and pinching it off. Carbon monoxide was coming back into the home. The furnace had to be shut down immediately. Fortunately they had a secondary heat source! Always check that storms have not damaged chimneys, and that all vents are clear of snow, ice and debris. For more about oil furnace venting go to "Oil Flues and Chimneys"
Burned hidden combustibles under a hearth. Pyrolization occurs over time, lowering the ignition point of wood. Many hearths have hidden combustibles.
Damage caused by incorrect clearances above a fireplace.
To combine heat and flammable chemicals is never a good idea. This is extremely dangerous.
Hidden combustibles in a stone wall behind a fireplace. The stone work (and this applies to brick as well) is not a sufficient heat barrier.
Incorrect floor protection, floor protection must extend to the front and sides of the unit, as determined by the manufacturer, or by Fire Codes. On an old stove Fire Code specifies it must extend 36" in every direction, and be of sufficient thickness ("R Value"). A layer of brick or tile is not floor protection as they are a thermal mass that conducts heat to the floor below.
Wooden boards directly underneath and supporting a fireplace. This will eventually catch fire. It was apparently a common practice to put down wood and then build the fireplace on top of it. We have also run into situations where wooden support beams for the house run through the fireplace structure.
Incorrect stainless steel liner installation. All of the black is soot. Unfortunately there a many companies that do "inexpensive" installs, and this is what happens.
In this case the installer crushed the liner to fit through a damper opening.
An improperly supported stainless steel liner system dropped. This is the view through the thimble.
This is the flue of a pellet stove that hadn't been cleaned in several years. It is almost completely blocked. All flues need cleaning.
These are examples of why we don't do poured liners. For a detailed description of liners go to our Chimney Flue Liners page.
This is the "latest" bad pour we have seen. Have no idea why the flue tiles ares still in there, but this may mean we can remove it without destroying the entire chimney. :
In the first picture the pour was not lined up correctly and damaged the chimney. The entire chimney had to come down as there is no way to "fix" a poured liner. The second set of pictures is a chimney cracked vertically from a poured liner. Again there is no fix other than a complete tear-down and replacement.