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What is this and how do I fix it?

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Jim Franklin
Jim Franklin Member Posts: 170
A few months ago I posted about a loud rumbling when the oil boiler was running and that I narrowed it down to a cracked plaster patch in the wall surrounding the chimney. Today I tore the Homasote(!) off it and found this access hole with corroded plug hanging out of it. I'm assuming it was for some kind of heater? The house is in MA and was built in 1926. The hole is in the small room on the very left of the house, and the stairs leading to the 2nd floor are also in this room. The house has steam heat and I'm guessing originally coal fired given what looks like a walled-up delivery chute. There is no heat on the second floor, just a grille in the floor at the top of the stairs in the center of the house.

I'd like to keep the recess open and just plug the hole, even though the original stained wood will constantly remind me that this house was once full of beautiful stained wood and some <insert derrogatory term here> did a fast crappy white paint job on all of it. Is that possible?

thanks,
jim

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