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Chimney scammer? (photo attached)

mitch101mitch101 Member Posts: 18
edited June 2016 in Gas Heating

Unsure whether I'm getting scammed or not.

Converted from oil to gas boiler three years ago. Installer said I wouldn't need a steel liner but he was wrong, as some of the masonry crumbled till I put a steel liner in chimney. Installer ran the flue too close to a combustible wall, so I just failed inspection on a new water heater which runs into same flue.

Liner installer admits his mistake and will replace tee with a wye to get flue away from wall. But he won't just swap it out, saying the steel liner has to be tugged upward from top of chimney to replace tee with wye at bottom termination. Huh? So he says it's stuck in place due to further crumbling of mortar. This might be true, but sounds like he just wants to break more masonry inside the chimney. He wants $3000 for a new chimney when the simple swap of a wye for a tee costs almost nothing. Another chimney scammer on the loose, or is there really a reason to lift up the whole steel liner to swap out a part at the very bottom?

Comments

  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 10,874
    edited June 2016
    mitch101 said:

    Unsure whether I'm getting scammed or not.

    Converted from oil to gas boiler three years ago. Installer said I wouldn't need a steel liner but he was wrong, as some of the masonry crumbled till I put a steel liner in chimney Installer ran the flue too close to a combustible wall, so I just failed inspection on a new water heater which runs into same flue.

    Liner installer admits his mistake and will replace tee with a wye to get flue away from wall. But he won't just swap it out, saying the steel liner has to be tugged upward from top of chimney to replace tee with wye at bottom termination. Huh? So he says it's stuck in place due to further crumbling of mortar. This might be true, but sounds like he just wants to break more masonry inside the chimney. He wants $3000 for a new chimney when the simple swap of a wye for a tee costs almost nothing. Another chimney scammer on the loose, or is there really a reason to lift up the whole steel liner to swap out a part at the very bottom?


    Can you show us some pictures of what's too close to a combustible wall?

    There's a chance a piece of sheet metal, or a different kind of connector would solve the issue as well but we need pictures.



    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    Brewbeer
  • mitch101mitch101 Member Posts: 18
    Will post a picture tonight, but town (Roselle Park) and NJ Plumbing Code both say flue must be 6" from a combustible surface, in this case wood covering beneath stairs. I could replace the wood surface with steel but stairs themselves are still made of wood. I sure would like to avoid fighting this chimney liner guy if it could be avoided. Sounds like he wants to replace a car's engine just to change a tire.
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 10,874
    edited June 2016
    mitch101 said:

    Will post a picture tonight, but town (Roselle Park) and NJ Plumbing Code both say flue must be 6" from a combustible surface, in this case wood covering beneath stairs. I could replace the wood surface with steel but stairs themselves are still made of wood. I sure would like to avoid fighting this chimney liner guy if it could be avoided. Sounds like he wants to replace a car's engine just to change a tire.

    There's times a shield can be installed.

    You may also be able to use a double lined pipe which only needs 1" spacing. I'm not a professional, and don't know if you can mix B vent (double wall pipe) with a liner, but I don't see why not.

    From what I've heard, there's a lot of shady chimney places out there. Oddly enough, when I did my boiler the chimney place was the only guys I didn't have a problem with.

    But we'll see how we can help once we get the pictures. The more the better.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,116
    Can you double 5/8" fire rock/tape the covering beneath the steps and make the building inspector happy?
    As far as the liner goes, the installer admitted he did the job wrong. So tell him it's his problem to fix it.
    How does he know more masonry fell?
    My feeling is if he agreed to install a liner, that means to me he properly inspected the chimney, with a camera, and determined it to be in sound shape to accept a liner. A liner doesn't fix a crumbling masonry chimney, nor keep it from further deterioration. It only protects it from the products of combustion from doing further damage.
    If the chimney is still crumbling, a new liner isn't going to fix it either.
    I think a proper inspection from a licensed chimney sweep is in order.
    steve
    ChrisJ
  • Jason_13Jason_13 Member Posts: 297
    There are acceptable ways of reducing clearances to combustibles by code as other have suggested a few. Can't he just cut off a bit from the bottom and add the Wye?
  • mitch101mitch101 Member Posts: 18
    I've just posted a photo in my initial post above. I don't think replacing the plywood with fireproof material will help since stairs are still wood and still too close to flue (6" minimum clearance from combustible material acc. to NJ Plumbing Code).
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 6,797
    How about remove the 6 x 4 reducer fitting from the existing tee.
    Leave the tee and cap/plug the side inlet where the WH was.
    Add a new tee or wye (wye is better IMO) to old tee and connect appliances.

    Do you have room for that?
    rick in Alaska
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 10,874
    I have no clue why you would need to do anything with the liner to swap that? Without hearing the guy's story it's hard to say but with the information you provided and the picture it sounds like he's full of it.


    Personally, if it was mine I'd ask the inspector if I could take a piece of sheet metal, and screw it to the stairs using some washers as spacers. Keep it off of the wood some and have an air gap, and keep it away from the pipe.

    I have a floor joist that's too close to my single wall pipe so I screwed a piece of metal I cut out of a new piece of flue pipe to the joist, didn't even use spacers. The NJ state inspector was fine with it but mine is a few inches or so away from the wood.


    Obviously above all, you want it to be safe.

    If the inspector says a metal shield isn't good enough with such a small gap, the inside connector needs to be modified, or replaced to get the pipe away from the stairs but I see no reason to touch the liner for that.




    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • GreenGeneGreenGene Member Posts: 290
    6" from combustible material??

    How does NJ circumvent National Codes???
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 10,874
    GreenGene said:

    6" from combustible material??

    How does NJ circumvent National Codes???

    I'm not sure what it is in NJ, but local codes always out rank national, no? Or do local codes need to meet national at a minimum?

    I thought I had a good 6 or 8" on mine and the inspector wanted a shield. I honestly can't remember because we're talking about something I did in 2011, but I swear it was 18" minimum.

    At the same time, 18" sounds absurd, so I don't know.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • mitch101mitch101 Member Posts: 18
    Thanks to all respondents. I don't know if official complaints in NJ do any good, but BBB and the Div. of Consumer Affairs handle contractor scams and I'll be paying them a visit if my suspicion about unnecessary work is correct. I've done too much mechanical work in my day to be snowed this easily.
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,116
    Cant you just come off the side of that tee and go 45 to the appliance?
    steve
  • GreenGeneGreenGene Member Posts: 290
    not sure if this is what NJ is currently following but should be close

    http://www2.iccsafe.org/states/newjersey/nj_residential/PDFs/NJ_Res_Chapter13.pdf
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 6,797
    Could it be the installer believes there is now masonry rubble that has fallen down around the lower part of the liner and is packed around the Tee. If he pulls the tee then the stuff falls down, must be cleaned out, and one thing leads to another.

    Personally if that were the case I would leave it but get someone with a camera scope to assure that the liner was intact and drafting correctly.
    3 grand would buy you a pretty good side wall vented WH.

    A picture from farther back showing where the appliances are located in relation to the chimney would be good.
  • Bob HarperBob Harper Member Posts: 824
    This is BS. The liner should have been pulled into the room where it could split between the appliances while maintaining clearances to combustibles using galvanized vent connector. The presence of foil tape on vent connector is a red flag as it is not allowed. I would locate a FIRE Certified Inspector to perform a level II inspection and make the corrections. Don't let this hack back into your house. FYI, 5/8" type X drywall is considered combustible. Also, ask for the warranty card for your liner and the listed installation instructions. The best liners come with a lifetime warranty or better. Also, galv. pipe cannot be cemented into the masonry anymore- must be SS. What area of NJ? Two experts in Landing and Bridgewater and the one in Landing is an AHJ, too.
  • Bob Bona_4Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    I never pull the corrugated liner into the space. The liner kits I use have a ss Tee, cap and snout at the base. The snout protrudes into the room. In CT, 9" to combustibles is allowed from single wall pipe if there's sheet metal stood off 1" with non combustible spacers. Otherwise it's 18".
    Firecontrol933
  • Firecontrol933Firecontrol933 Member Posts: 73
    You don't seem to be having much luck with picking contractors. First the initial liner wasn't done right and then the person you hired to install the new water heater thought connecting to the existing venting, too close to combustibles, was ok. Good thing the water heater installation somehow triggered an inspection that somehow wasn't done when the original work was done.

    As most professionals will tell you...... you get exactly what you pay for in this business. I suggest it's time to hire a fully qualified, insured and vetted chimney installer and have things resolved so that there are no future surprises.
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 10,874
    edited June 2016

    You don't seem to be having much luck with picking contractors. First the initial liner wasn't done right and then the person you hired to install the new water heater thought connecting to the existing venting, too close to combustibles, was ok. Good thing the water heater installation somehow triggered an inspection that somehow wasn't done when the original work was done.

    As most professionals will tell you...... you get exactly what you pay for in this business. I suggest it's time to hire a fully qualified, insured and vetted chimney installer and have things resolved so that there are no future surprises.


    Most professionals may say that but it's not reality.
    Sometimes you get what you pay for, often you don't.


    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 10,874
    @Dave0176 Can you help?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Bob HarperBob Harper Member Posts: 824
    Both the Nat'l and Int'l fuel gas codes call for a 6" clearance to combustibles off a single walled unlisted vent connector as does NFPA 211. You can use a mfrs. ss tee but you'll have to bust open a lot more of the chimney to get it in there and make room for a clean-out access at the base. A pull-through liner is approved by the major codes and liner mfrs. and it creates a long radius bend instead of the hard 90 degree upturn from a tee. Much more aerodynamic, which translates into less flow restriction. It's also a LOT easier to clean and inspect a pull-through liner. I pack the base and top with Roxul insulation then cement around the base and use the listed base support at the top as required by the listing then listed rain cap. FYI, you can never use aluminum liners in a chimney that has ever served oil. While not in the code, practically speaking the sulfur will destroy an aluminum liner in less than a year. Most people are using 316Ti for everything except condensing appliances.

    The two contractors I recommended are old friends and industry experts. They both teach for a major liner mfr.: Bill teaches chimney codes and NFPA 211. Mike teaches relining. They each have done thousands of liners and know their stuff or I wouldn't recommend them.
    You can create a login and read NFPA 211 online for free here: https://www.nfpa.org/Login I get it free because I'm on the cmte. along with UL 103 that writes the liner listing, 1777.
  • Robert O'Connor_12Robert O'Connor_12 Member Posts: 724
    What does it say in the contract will chimney guy?
    If he is a registered Home improvement contractor, secures a permit and he says he'll install it according to code, he has to eat it in my opinion.
    sounds like a simple fix to me. I also recognize & appreciate good service from that inspector. I know him & know he's a reasonably smart guy without an addenda.

    Robert O'Connor/NJ
  • HenryHenry Member Posts: 963
    NFPA54 Table 12.8.4.5 for single wall metal pipe
    Listed appliance with draft hood listed for use with Type B vents 6 in
    Residebtial boilers and furnaces with listed conversion burner and with draft hood 9 in
    Residential appliances listed for use with Type L vents 9 in
    Unlisted residential appliances with draft hood 9 in
    Residential and low-heat appliances other than those above 18 in
    Medium heat appliances 36 in
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