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What would this hole be?

northernsoulnorthernsoul Posts: 97Member
edited April 13 in THE MAIN WALL
House is from the 1930s. Still has gas boiler with original iron rads. The duct at top is the vent for the boiler and hot water tank. The middle hole is cemeted in and has a capped metal pipe in middle. The bottom is open and has some dirt in it and some loose bricks . Looks like it was roughly filled in at some point.

Any ideas what it would be? Old coal chute?

It’s not the fireplace ash cleanout as that’s beside it.

Comments

  • Intplm.Intplm. Posts: 753Member
    That "is" a cleanout at the bottom of the chimney. It's probably a another ash cleanout that is there for the smoke pipe directly above it. The ash cleanout for the fireplace is a second cleanout serving the just fireplace.
    It is used to access the bottom of the chimney to clean soot and other debris from the chimney. It is supposed to have a metal door installed. It should not be open as pictured.
    The loose brick and dirt is debris from the above smoke pipe that has been exhausting into the chimney for years.
    This needs to be corrected / repaired. A new door needs to be installed.
    I'm surprised no one has gotten sick from CO poisoning.
    Best to get a chimney repair or chimney sweep in there to fix this before someone gets sick. I'm guessing that no one has been sick because the soot and other junk has plugged off the flue where the door should be.
    For safety and health reasons you need to get this fixed right away.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,795Member
    Top hole --boiler flue
    Middle hole-- probably an old barometric damper
    Bottom--flue cleanout
  • northernsoulnorthernsoul Posts: 97Member
    Thanks but where would the CO2 come from? The boiler vents above it up the chimney with a lined duct. We’ve had the boiler serviced a few times and new vent pipes installed at they’ve never mentioned it

    What would the smoke pipe have been from? From an old type of heating system that is long gone?
  • northernsoulnorthernsoul Posts: 97Member
    > @EBEBRATT-Ed said:
    > Top hole --boiler flue
    > Middle hole-- probably an old barometric damper
    > Bottom--flue Cleanout

    Thanks do we need to have this fixed? Is this an issue if the gas boiler vents up above it?
  • Intplm.Intplm. Posts: 753Member
    You have smoke pipe pictured in your picture. It's round piping that has a dent in it at the top of your picture. That , is presumably installed to your chimney liner that you mention in your second post. But not in the first.

    If indeed the flue pipe, or smoke pipe goes all the way up the chimney. All the way to the top?!!? Than you are probably ok. Especially since you have been having it serviced.
    But I would get a door installed anyway. The door would most likely look like the other door at the bottom of the chimney. (Can't tell for sure, cant see it.)
    Not as big an issue if the appliance vents above. But for safety reasons, I would still have that soot cleaned and and a door installed.
    At times, vermin can get into flue pipe and obstruct the bye products of combustion, or smoke from venting. Without the door , the smoke has a easier way to get in the house. Rare but can still happen.
    I assume this has been going on for some time now. I would ask the company that services your unit to give their opinion.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 10,456Member

    > @EBEBRATT-Ed said:

    > Top hole --boiler flue

    > Middle hole-- probably an old barometric damper

    > Bottom--flue Cleanout



    Thanks do we need to have this fixed? Is this an issue if the gas boiler vents up above it?

    You do indeed need to have that fixed. As soon as possible. Yes, the gas boiler vents above it -- but there is such a thing as backdraughting, which could happily pull or push the stack gas down and out that cleanout, rather than going the other way. It's not a difficult repair for a qualified sweep -- although when I see something like that I kind of tend to wonder what else is wrong...
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Posts: 2,912Member
    Also a hole like that would mimic an open draft regulator robbing the appliance of draft, especially over fire draft.
    In the case of an older unit with a higher stack temp it probably helped. With a newer unit, lower stack temp, poor or unwanted positive over fire draft would be a real problem.
    steve
  • Intplm.Intplm. Posts: 753Member
    Back drafting.....Thank you @Jamie Hall for that term. I was drawing a blank. what the......
    @northernsoul take a look at this sight. There is a subject that has been discussed hear called, "strangest thing you have found in a unit".
    Take a look at that discussion.
    And get it fixed!
  • northernsoulnorthernsoul Posts: 97Member
    > @Jamie Hall said:
    > > @EBEBRATT-Ed said:
    >
    > > Top hole --boiler flue
    >
    > > Middle hole-- probably an old barometric damper
    >
    > > Bottom--flue Cleanout
    >
    >
    >
    > Thanks do we need to have this fixed? Is this an issue if the gas boiler vents up above it?
    >
    > You do indeed need to have that fixed. As soon as possible. Yes, the gas boiler vents above it -- but there is such a thing as backdraughting, which could happily pull or push the stack gas down and out that cleanout, rather than going the other way. It's not a difficult repair for a qualified sweep -- although when I see something like that I kind of tend to wonder what else is wrong...

    > @Jamie Hall said:
    > > @EBEBRATT-Ed said:
    >
    > > Top hole --boiler flue
    >
    > > Middle hole-- probably an old barometric damper
    >
    > > Bottom--flue Cleanout
    >
    >
    >
    > Thanks do we need to have this fixed? Is this an issue if the gas boiler vents up above it?
    >
    > You do indeed need to have that fixed. As soon as possible. Yes, the gas boiler vents above it -- but there is such a thing as backdraughting, which could happily pull or push the stack gas down and out that cleanout, rather than going the other way. It's not a difficult repair for a qualified sweep -- although when I see something like that I kind of tend to wonder what else is wrong...

    Thanks - would I get a chimney sweep to just put a plate on the front or do they need to do anything else with the hole? It looks it’s mainly plugged with dirt and bricks but I can’t see all the way up to see if there are gaps

    Or would I call my heating company who services the boiler to fix it?

    They replaced the metal duct from the boiker to the wall last year as it was getting rusted - surprised they didn’t say anything about that hole.

    We do have multiple C02 detectors which makes me feel a little better
  • Intplm.Intplm. Posts: 753Member
    You can purchase a door at some hardware stores or a company that specialises in masonry supplies and do it yourself,or ask the service company if they will do it.
  • northernsoulnorthernsoul Posts: 97Member
    > @Intplm. said:
    > You can purchase a door at some hardware stores or a company that specialises in masonry supplies and do it yourself,or ask the service company if they will do it.

    Thanks I’ll do some research
  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 12,982Member

    Top hole --boiler flue
    Middle hole-- probably an old barometric damper
    Bottom--flue cleanout

    @EBEBRATT-Ed nailed it. It's definitely an old barometric- if you enlarge the pic you can see the octagonal frame and that the knob toward the bottom is marked "DRAFT".

    This definitely needs to be looked at. If the chimney has not had a stainless-steel liner installed that terminates at the boiler smoke pipe connection, the old cleanout opening needs to be sealed. A chimney company might recommend a liner if there is none- if so, do it.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • northernsoulnorthernsoul Posts: 97Member
    > @Steamhead said:
    > Top hole --boiler flue
    > Middle hole-- probably an old barometric damper
    > Bottom--flue cleanout
    >
    > @EBEBRATT-Ed nailed it. It's definitely an old barometric- if you enlarge the pic you can see the octagonal frame and that the knob toward the bottom is marked "DRAFT".
    >
    > This definitely needs to be looked at. If the chimney has not had a stainless-steel liner installed that terminates at the boiler smoke pipe connection, the old cleanout opening needs to be sealed. A chimney company might recommend a liner if there is none- if so, do it.

    Thanks will have our company come take a look. I’m assuming there is a liner but who knows - the current mid efficiency boiler is nearly 20 years old from what I gather
    We just moved in 2 years ago. The inspection report doesn’t make mention of any concerns with the boiler or chimney but you never know
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Posts: 2,175Member
    edited April 14
    @northernsoul
    In order to get the correct answer's to your questions, we need the correct information.
    "The boiler vents above it up the chimney with a lined duct."
    "I'm assuming there's a liner but who knows..."
    Um, you should.

    Edit:
    You wrote in about what seemingly would be a quick answer to your query but turned into "you're gonna die".
    And by your title, for a second there I thought I had to delete my browsing history again.

    If you do in fact have a hard piped stainless steel chimney liner, complete with cap, flashing, drop tee, then you really dont have to do anything.
    If theres no liner, call a reputable chimney company. Check Angie's list or get referrals. Theres a lot of crooked chimney companies by me.

    You are definitely justified coming here for help. Even though you expected a simple answer, those guys ^^^^ saw things that you didn't and set you up right.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,795Member
    I agree with @HVACNUT

    Conflicting information.
    Chimney has no liner?
    Chimney has a clay liner?
    Chimney has a stainless steel liner that runs up the chimney?

    Until we know we cant give you the correct answer
  • northernsoulnorthernsoul Posts: 97Member
    > @EBEBRATT-Ed said:
    > I agree with @HVACNUT
    >
    > Conflicting information.
    > Chimney has no liner?
    > Chimney has a clay liner?
    > Chimney has a stainless steel liner that runs up the chimney?
    >
    > Until we know we cant give you the correct answer

    My assumption was that it would have a metal liner since I can see the metal duct going into the wall but I don’t know for sure. When I began to read replies I realized that assumption was possibly wrong.

    I’m new to boiler heating so I had wrongly assumed that when they put in the current boiler in 2000 or so (long before we owned house)they would have put in a metal liner up the chimney. I didn’t realize it wasn’t standard and some may just vent up the mortar chimney with no metal liner.

    Unfortunately I cannot tell until I get either a chimney company in or the heating company. I had the boiler cleaned last summer and a new vent pipe (boiler to wall section ) installed so I should have asked if there was a liner or any cause for concern.
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