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Chimney Liner for Peerless WBV-03 (Oil)

Kafox15Kafox15 Member Posts: 30
Hello,

We currently have a 6-ish year old Peerless WBV-03 Oil Fired steam boiler (done by previous owner) that vents into an unlined brick chimney. The chimney is looking a bit rough above the roof line, so I went up there to take pics for repointing/repair quotes and looked down inside which is how I discovered it was unlined.

I would have assumed that if a liner were needed it would have been installed when they did the new boiler but that doesn't appear to be the case. Should I be looking to get this chimney lined when I have it repointed or should I leave it alone?

Second, sort of related question: We are exploring a conversion to natural gas in the future as there is a service line running right in front of our house. Is the WBV-03 able to be converted to gas? If so, would it be able to be vented in to the same chimney (provided we have it lined)?

Comments

  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,216
    You definitely need to line the chimney as it violates code to fire fuel burning equipment into an unlined chimney. Unlined will destroy/weaken your chimney and is dangerous as it may eventually allowed CO to enter the living areas, and/or weaken the chimney enough to have a collapse.
    A properly sized/installed stainless steel liner can also be used for gas.
    Yes it can be converted to gas. But double check the nat gas vs. heating oil costs, and weigh that with the cost of the entire gas conversion. May not be worth it.
    steve
  • Kafox15Kafox15 Member Posts: 30

    You definitely need to line the chimney as it violates code to fire fuel burning equipment into an unlined chimney. Unlined will destroy/weaken your chimney and is dangerous as it may eventually allowed CO to enter the living areas, and/or weaken the chimney enough to have a collapse.
    A properly sized/installed stainless steel liner can also be used for gas.
    Yes it can be converted to gas. But double check the nat gas vs. heating oil costs, and weigh that with the cost of the entire gas conversion. May not be worth it.

    Thanks! If that's the case then I am surprised that the town signed off on the new boiler install with no chimney liner. Good news is the chimney is likely over 100 years old and still standing but I will be sure to get it lined when I have it repointed.

    For the gas conversion, we aren't exploring it solely for cost savings but for fuel efficiency and additional gas appliances down the road (gas range, gas fireplace etc.)
  • BobCBobC Member Posts: 5,112
    To many town inspectors don't do their jobs properly. I replaced a Burnam boiler 7 years ago and the inspector missed an open 3" hole in the chimney on the face next to the face with the moved boiler breech. The time before that the inspector left in a huff because the installer was going to be a bit late (because of traffic).

    As I was putting something out for the trash men I overheard that inspector on a phone call to hes buddy telling him to meet him in the 19th hole of the golf club cause he'd be a bit early - he blew off the inspection to have a drink with a golf buddy.

    I plugged that hole myself after the inspector finally came back to inspect the job 3 weeks later.
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Kafox15Kafox15 Member Posts: 30
    Some pictures for those interested. It needs a lot of work to say the least.



  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,216
    Bob is the expert, but I'd seriously consider capping off the chimney, or taking down below the roof line, and going with a power venter.
    Maybe you can do that thing where they drop the pipe, then put a slurry mix around it, but I wouldn't trust it.
    steve
    Bob Harper
  • Kafox15Kafox15 Member Posts: 30

    Bob is the expert, but I'd seriously consider capping off the chimney, or taking down below the roof line, and going with a power venter.
    Maybe you can do that thing where they drop the pipe, then put a slurry mix around it, but I wouldn't trust it.

    Oh yea? Is the chimney really that far gone? Not too familiar with the power vent option so I'll have to do some research. Any more info is appreciated.
  • Bob HarperBob Harper Member Posts: 846
    All chimneys must be lined- period. The liner must be suitable for the class of service. In your case, oil or gas. That negates an aluminum liner for you so you're looking at stainless steel. Preferably 316Ti or 316L alloy. Other alloys are legal but these are the standard ones. Now, ALL metallic liners listed in the US under UL 1777 are based upon a minimum 4" nominal masonry unit chimney. That is defined as at least 75" of the net surface area of the brick AND MORTAR solid. For instance, most 3 hole cored bricks comply but not 10 hole. However, if more than 25% of your mortar is gone just installing a metal liner does not meet the standard. In fact, if there are gaps where the mortar is gone and surrounding combustibles are exposed at that point, it becomes a fire hazard, which is why you must have a Level II inspection done. The video camera will uncover any major blowouts, shunts, fistulas or other disasters that will guide your liner choice. If more than 25% of the mortar is gone and you want to vent vertically up a chimney or vent as opposed to horizontally using a sidewall power venter then you have a few choices. If the chimney is large enough you might be able to use it as a 'chase' for type L vent just like a liner. If there are offsets that preclude rigid vent it gets difficult. An expensive cast in place system would solve it but they're hard to offset. Just installing a metallic liner with its UL listed cementitious insulation, such as Thermix, does not meet the requirement. Yes, it will fill in the gaps some but it does not always flow readily into every nook and cranny the way cast liners do. More importantly, some cast liners, such as Guardian, have been tested and approved as a structural repair. This means this material will fill those voids and render the otherwise Swiss cheese chimney sound again. This is very expensive however. Still, its the best system if you can afford it and must vent vertically for a non-condensing appliance.
    Now, that exterior chimney is a mess. I'd tear it down and rebuild it from however far down it takes to find viable material. Then, flash it properly and cast a concrete crown with a drip edge, resilient expansion joint to a flue tile extension that houses the listed liner. You can either use the mfrs. listed liner termination of, it water damage is a concern, a large outside mount custom ss cap with a big drip edge lid. I'd use lime mortar then treat it with a 100% vapor permeable water repellent. If you find you have to tear the chimney down you can replace it with a listed type L vent or factory chimney listed to UL 103 (doesn't have to be HT for oil the way it does for solid fuel). Regardless, the liner must be properly sized then when done run combustion analysis to tune the burner and draft. HTH
  • Kafox15Kafox15 Member Posts: 30
    Thanks Bob. That is quite a bit of information to digest but I appreciate the detailed response. I certainly have a lot of questions.

    1. Can you explain what blowouts, shunts and fistulas would look like? My googling only brings up medical images.
    2. What are your thoughts on performance of the power vent vs a vertical chimney? My limited research says wind and other factors can affect the power vent and there is also a potential for soot stains on the siding where it vents (and my house is white).
    3. What are the rules for how far a power vent needs to be from windows, doors etc? We have very limited options on where one could go due to the wraparound porch that covers 2 full sides of the house. The spot where we have our oil fill is directly beneath a window and adjacent to a door, so that doesn't seem like an option.
    4. If I do go with a power vent and remove the chimney, does it have to be completely removed down to the basement or just to below the roofline? I am in Massachusetts.
    4. Is type L vent the same thing as pellet vent? What diameters does it come in? The chimney is completely vertical with no offsets, but I will have to take some interior width measurements to see what would fit.
    5. Is it fair to say the power vent is the most cost effective option provided I can find a place for it to go? Excluding potential chimney tear down costs of course.
  • Bob HarperBob Harper Member Posts: 846
    edited July 28
    Kafox15 said:

    Thanks Bob. That is quite a bit of information to digest but I appreciate the detailed response. I certainly have a lot of questions.

    1. Can you explain what blowouts, shunts and fistulas would look like? My googling only brings up medical images. That's where I got them. I'm a retired paramedic and applied those terms. Think of a boo-boo or opening between flues.
    2. What are your thoughts on performance of the power vent vs a vertical chimney? My limited research says wind and other factors can affect the power vent and there is also a potential for soot stains on the siding where it vents (and my house is white). Sure, wind can affect them. Can affect chimney vented, too.
    3. What are the rules for how far a power vent needs to be from windows, doors etc? We have very limited options on where one could go due to the wraparound porch that covers 2 full sides of the house. The spot where we have our oil fill is directly beneath a window and adjacent to a door, so that doesn't seem like an option. See the listed instructions with your power venter. Start with the Field Controls SWG series. Then cross-reference with local mechanical codes. Need to consider clearance to building openings, public walkways and kill every living thing where it discharges.
    4. If I do go with a power vent and remove the chimney, does it have to be completely removed down to the basement or just to below the roofline? I am in Massachusetts. You'd need to check with your local code official. May have to pull a demo. permit. You'd want to place signs at chimney breaching stating chimney not serviceable, why and must be rebuilt to use. Usually just demo. below roof.
    4. Is type L vent the same thing as pellet vent? What diameters does it come in? The chimney is completely vertical with no offsets, but I will have to take some interior width measurements to see what would fit. Yes, Both listed to UL 641. Can go up to 8" I'm aware of. See each mfr. listed instructions. Must use all required components.
    5. Is it fair to say the power vent is the most cost effective option provided I can find a place for it to go? Excluding potential chimney tear down costs of course.

    Cost vs. cost of ownership. If you have a lot of problems with power vent then how cost effective was it? To me chimney vent preferred when possible.
    6. HTH

    HVACNUT
  • Kafox15Kafox15 Member Posts: 30
    edited July 28
    Thanks! So is it fair to say I should explore all avenues of saving the chimney provided it is not cost prohibitive?

    Would my next step be to get a level 2 inspection from a reputable chimney company and see what their recommendation is? Or is an inspection not even worth it considering the state of the chimney?

    EDIT: I emailed the company that installed the boiler and asked why the chimney was not brought up to code or even mentioned when it was installed in 2014. This was their response:

    "We did pull a permit with the fire department at the time of install 10/29/14 and the check number was XXXXX. Oil heat code is different than gas and does not require a chimney liner and the chimney was sound at the time of install." :(
  • Bob HarperBob Harper Member Posts: 846
    What area/ jurisdiction is this?
  • Kafox15Kafox15 Member Posts: 30
    edited July 28
    Tewksbury, MA. I'm pretty sure they just have no idea what they are talking about or are trying to avoid admitting wrongdoing.

    The 8th edition of the Massachusetts building code (which would have been in effect in 2014) refers you to the 2009 IBC which states "Where an oil-fired appliance is connected to an existing masonry chimney, such chimney flue shall be repaired or relined in accordance with NFPA 31."

    NFPA 31 states "Masonry Chimneys shall be lined with an approved clay tile liner or a listed chimney lining system installed in accordance with manufacturers' instructions."
  • Kafox15Kafox15 Member Posts: 30
    @Bob Harper

    After doing lots of research these last few days, I am thinking the power venter won't work out and I am going to have to stick with the chimney in some fashion.

    There is really only one corner of the house a power venter could go and its wedged between a door and a window (picture below). 4 ft down from the window is right at the level of the oil fill so the only real option would be to board up the basement window below and put it through there, but thats cutting it close to the 1 ft off ground level and the 3 ft from inside corner. Thoughts?


    So back to the chimney, if (big IF) I have a qualified mason inspect/make repairs (likely rebuild from roof up) and determine the chimney is structurally sound (not going to fall over/collapse), is it correct that I can run type L vent and NOT have to install any additional insulation between the existing chimney and the type L? This is assuming I can fit the required type L vent in the existing chimney.


  • Bob HarperBob Harper Member Posts: 846
    You don't need a chimney for L vent. It's made to run up through the house maintaining clearances to combustibles.
  • Kafox15Kafox15 Member Posts: 30

    You don't need a chimney for L vent. It's made to run up through the house maintaining clearances to combustibles.

    Right but if I leave the existing chimney in place then I would not have to pay to have it demo'd (or do it myself). And I would like to avoid having the metal pipe sticking out through the roof, it would look really odd on the house.

    Sorry there are just so many different ways to do this, I keep going back and forth on what is the best course of action.

    Can you explain a little more about UL 1777 and why the standard is not met if I am missing 25% or more of mortar? I don't understand that fully.
  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,216
    edited July 31
    Can you come thru the wall (dotted red line) under the lattice, out, and use the snorkel attachment on the power venter, maintaining proper vertical and horizontal spacing from window?

    But without seeing the entire house, I’d probably take the chimney down below the roof, then properly install the L vent. Would anybody but you notice or care? Least ugliest solution even if you box out the power venter snorkel.
    https://www.fieldcontrols.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/05/46568400_RevA_0615.pdf


    steve
  • Bob HarperBob Harper Member Posts: 846
    If too much mortar is gone then the UL1777 listing is not valid. You can't hang a liner in mid-air nor can you hang one in a chimney that is Swiss cheese. You need 4" of "solid masonry units" which is defined as having at least 75% of the net free area solid. This includes the mortar joint.
  • Kafox15Kafox15 Member Posts: 30
    edited July 31
    @STEVEusaPA Coming out that sidewall won't work. Too much plumbing/electrical/other junk from the kitchen in the way. I suppose you are right about the L vent and I could just cover it with one of these if it really bothered me.
    http://www.flexibricksource.com/chimneys.htm

    @Bob Harper Got it! Chimney company is coming out today to take a look so will see what they think. If I were to use the masonry chimney as a chase for L vent, how would I install supports along its length?
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