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The home I purchased recently has a chimney that's in poor condition above the roof line. It's being used to exhaust the gas boiler (recent model LoganoUS/CA GC 144II) and Rheem gas water heater for the house. We're gotten quotes for tuck pointing that range from $ to $. I don't know the condition of the pipes within the chimney.
I'm wondering if it makes sense to use a "power vent" (Tjernlund HS1) to side vent the exhaust instead of going through the chimney? It's appealing to me to be able to seal the roof, and to avoid possible chimney expenses in the future. I have one quote to install a power vent (that would handle both the boiler and water heater) for about $. Here are some questions I have:
a) how reliable are Tjernlund power venters?
b) If there is an electrical outage, that's problematic for a power venter, right?
c) How much more worrisome is it to have the exhaust gasses being exhausted near ground level (as opposed to chimney height)?
d) Does $ to install a power venter seem reasonable?
e) Could I install a separate chimney running alongside the house to 1) avoid using the current chimney and 2) avoid a power venter?
f) Rheem, the company that produced my water heater, said that side venting is not possible. Is it common for companies to claim that side venting is not possible when it actually is possible? Note: HVAC guys who installed the boiler claim it's no problem, and I don't know who do believe.
g) besides tuck pointing, how much maintenance should I expect for this chimney?
All your advice is much appreciated.