Large pipe in old fireplace

caffeinecatDecember 13, 2013

I posted this in the fireplace section but figure it would be a good idea to post here too since this is an old house issue.

So I took off the cover on my fireplace today and discovered what's in the photo below. This is a old house, and while I wasn't expecting it to be in good shape, I also wasn't expecting whatever that is.

It goes up and out the roof and down into the crawls space somewhere (I assume, I didn't check, but it goes way down)

Can someone tell me why this pipe is there, what it's supposed to do, and how difficult it would be to remove it so I can at least have a decorative fireplace after blocking off the hole in the ground? I've lost hope now on it ever been wood burning but would be nice to have something pretty.

Thank you!

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The broken boxy thing surrounding the metal pipe looks like a pretty standard chimney liner, maybe a piece that broke off and fell down the floor of the firebox. The metal pipe looks like stovepipe, doesn't it? You say it goes from the roof to the crawl space? How peculiar.

I would look around for a professional opinion. I engaged a chimney sweep once who turned out to be a retired fire chief for one of the towns around here, and he gave me some good advice. Basically, I can't burn stuff in my fireplace without risking a chimney fire. Disappointing, but good to know!

    Bookmark   December 13, 2013 at 7:31PM
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vjrnts is correct. The large box shaped object is almost certainly a terra cotta tile used to line chimneys. The fact that it seems to have dropped out of the chimney suggests that the lining is badly damaged. It might, however, have been placed where it is deliberately.

The galvanized stove pipe was probably used to vent something in the cellar. This would be contrary to codes and a possible danger, especially if it has lots of angles and has not been cleaned. By all means check to see if it's still connected to something such as a water heater or even furnace.

Fireplaces of this size and design were intended for coal rather than wood. I second the idea of an inspection by a certified chimney sweep or perhaps your local fire department.

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 6:33AM
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Thank you for the replies, now that you mention it venting something in the basement, it's almost certainly the water heater.

So I would need to vent that elsewhere to use this fireplace for anything at all. :(

This is disappointing, but at least I know now. Thanks again

    Bookmark   December 14, 2013 at 10:33AM
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