(206) 949-5683, Top Rated Plumber, Seattle
Results 1 to 15 of 17

Thread: "Dead" chimney with oil furnace

Hybrid View

  1. #1

    Unhappy "Dead" chimney with oil furnace

    I've been having problems for about a year with my oil burning furnace. The furnace is only 5 years old. Starting last year I was having to continually push the reset button to get it to fire. Then it went to not working at all. I have had the repairmen out about 10 times over the past 12 months and they finally replaced a part (forgive me I don't remember what) so that now it runs and heats. However there is a lot of soot and it's quite loud. I had the repairman out again today and after running several test he determined that the problem is a "dead" chimney and not a cracked heat exchanger.

    He admitted he's only seen this problem about 3 times over the past 12 years so I'm a bit skeptical. I don't want to have to pay $1200 for a new chimney liner if it's not really going to solve the problem. Does anyone have any words of wisdom?

  2. #2

    Default

    Yes, always keep a record of what is being fixed when the repairmen comes. Is their maybe a warranty?

  3. #3

    Default

    Yes - it is under warranty but the furance only. The chimney issue would not fall under warranty......

  4. #4
    Computer Programmer Bill Arden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    MN, USA
    Posts
    584

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kim156 View Post
    I've been having problems for about a year with my oil burning furnace. The furnace is only 5 years old. Starting last year I was having to continually push the reset button to get it to fire. Then it went to not working at all. I have had the repairmen out about 10 times over the past 12 months and they finally replaced a part (forgive me I don't remember what) so that now it runs and heats. However there is a lot of soot and it's quite loud. I had the repairman out again today and after running several test he determined that the problem is a "dead" chimney and not a cracked heat exchanger.
    I have never heard of a chimney dieing. It could be plugged, or broken, but dead. I did not know that live ones existed.
    Important note Ė I donít know man made laws, just laws of physics
    Disclaimer: I'm a big fan of Darwin awards.

  5. #5
    Plumber krow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Ontario, Canada
    Posts
    906

    Default

    I heard that term before, and the tech that explained to me was referring to the brick/inner wall collapsing/ flaking.

  6. #6
    DIY Senior Member Wrex's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    New Jersey
    Posts
    126

    Default

    Chimneys are supposed to be lined (unless your house is really old) since its required by code for newer homes.

    For example in my house built in the 50s is lined with terra cotta.

    If your chimney is not lined then flaking bricks and internal blockages of that sort are possible however if your chimney is lined then you may just have some sort of buildup.

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member yarrow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Washington
    Posts
    11

    Default

    Your problem is that you now have a much better/more efficient system.

    the new furnace burns hotter/cleaner, which then releases much hotter gases into the chimney, which then react with the soot/creosote buildup from the previous less efficient furnace. it's basically cooking the residual buildup in your chimney. it can also cause sweating in the chimney, also not a good thing, as it will eventually erode the chimney.

    installing a liner will take care of this. i suppose you could sign on for a heavy duty chimney cleaning, but i'm not sure that you'd ever get enough of the older buildup off to completely prevent this reaction.

    a liner is good for other reasons, especially in older homes - as the mortar in older chimneys begins to age, small fissures can occur, allowing smoke and gases such as CO to escape into your living space.
    Last edited by yarrow; 03-26-2008 at 11:07 AM.

  8. #8

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by yarrow View Post
    Your problem is that you now have a much better/more efficient system.

    the new furnace burns hotter/cleaner, which then releases much hotter gases into the chimney, which then react with the soot/creosote buildup from the previous less efficient furnace. it's basically cooking the residual buildup in your chimney. it can also cause sweating in the chimney, also not a good thing, as it will eventually erode the chimney.
    ok the only part you kinda sorta got right is the sweating or more properly condensation, which is acidic and can degrade the chimney with time.
    A newer more efficient unit will release COLDER flue gases in the chimney which can cause draft issues. there is no cooking of any sort taking place.
    Creosote also only builds up from wood fired appliances

    Quote Originally Posted by yarrow View Post
    installing a liner will take care of this. i suppose you could sign on for a heavy duty chimney cleaning, but i'm not sure that you'd ever get enough of the older buildup off to completely prevent this reaction.
    .
    Umm unless I am losing my mind a good cleaning will take more then enough of any build up out. Seeing as its soot which will just fall off at the slightest provocation. If you don't believe me take off the old smoke pipe and bang on it a few times.
    Quote Originally Posted by yarrow View Post
    a liner is good for other reasons, especially in older homes - as the mortar in older chimneys begins to age, small fissures can occur, allowing smoke and gases such as CO to escape into your living space.
    Well I guess this is true but not very probable unless the home has now been made air tight. If anything the hot gasses rising or even just got air escaping from your house are going to suck in air through the cracks like a venturi

    Installing a liner will constrict the colder flue gasses allowing them to stay hotter longer and pull a draft in the chimney. I don't think a chimney can die. If your heating guy does not have a basic understanding of how his appliances work and how they draft then I would be looking for a new tech. Most new furnaces will state that they require a liner right in the installation instructions.

    My guess is its in the burner and has nothing to do with the chimney or the furnace it self

  9. #9

    Default chimney -furnace update

    Hi;I had the proffessionals clean and inspect my chimney {sat. afternoon};they removed about 1 quart of soot from thechimney and put a 500 watt light at the bottm ;took dig. pics. ;CHImney Is Fine!!.They found some minor flaws at the basement level...they are going to patch a couple minor areas at the pipe entry area with re-factory cement.O.K. now that we know the chimney is good...we are back to the furnace;I should mention its a CARRIER normal efficiency 80% unit.Remember I have had 10 visits by htis companies tech's some have mention possible faulty heat exchanger??I have the sooting issue in my house;[my filters were black after one month] any help would be appreciated.The last tech was the service manager;he is reluctant to trouble the CARRIER rep, about my problem...after a year I think its time!

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kim156 View Post
    I should mention its a CARRIER normal efficiency 80% unit.
    Kim,
    RANT
    thats a LOW efficiency unit and in my personal opinion they should be out lawed here in the states like there are in so many other countries. nothing normal about running such low efficiency equipment. The only good news is that rules out your chimney its pretty hard to not get flue gasses that hot to vent.
    /rant

    Remember I have had 10 visits by htis companies tech's some have mention possible faulty heat exchanger??I have the sooting issue in my house;[my filters were black after one month] any help would be appreciated.The last tech was the service manager;he is reluctant to trouble the CARRIER rep, about my problem...after a year I think its time
    Kim,
    I think its was time after the 2nd or 3rd trip. Now its time to fire this company and get a knowledgeable person in there to fix your problem. Have they charged you for all ten visits ? your local heating supply house should be able to point you in the right direction on who is good. My neighbor is an oil burner tech, he never took more then one trip to fix anything that was wrong with my 60 year old boiler before I replaced it with a new gas unit.
    I think your person is afraid to call the rep and admit their incompetence.
    When I did find some one was able fix it I would sue the first company for your money back. Seeing as you at least paid them for the first service call and they never fixed your problem. Saying it had a dead chimney is like a mechanic telling some one they have stale air in their tires of they need to change the head light fluid. Really makes me wonder about the ethics of this company and how many other people they are fleecing out of thier money

    All oil fired units consist of two seperate parts often manufactured by two seperate companies. The furnace it self and the burner which has the reset button you have to keep pressing. My personal guess is the burner was over firing which overheated and cracked the heat exchanger.

    Lou

  11. #11
    Computer Programmer Bill Arden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    MN, USA
    Posts
    584

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kim156 View Post
    The furnace is only 5 years old. Starting last year I was having to continually push the reset button to get it to fire... now soot...
    Q1: Did the furnace ever make a really loud bang or a loud roaring sound after you pressed reset?

    There is a chance that this earlier problem could have damaged the heat exchanger.

    You should buy a CO(Carbon Monoxide) alarm.

    Q2: Do you have a gas hot water heater or anything else connected to the chimney?
    Important note Ė I donít know man made laws, just laws of physics
    Disclaimer: I'm a big fan of Darwin awards.

  12. #12

    Default

    Yes ;....the furnace did do bangs..and sounded like a freight train some times at start up;even after some tech work.The furnace is the only thing on the chimney
    Last edited by kim156; 03-30-2008 at 08:22 AM.

  13. #13
    Computer Programmer Bill Arden's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    MN, USA
    Posts
    584

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kim156 View Post
    Yes ;....the furnace did do bangs..and sounded like a freight train some times at start up;even after some tech work.The furnace is the only thing on the chimney
    Buy a CO(Carbon Monoxide) alarm!

    I had my furnace do that and then it blew soot out the fire door. Luckily for me mine is a very old heavy unit (Sears 10) and my heat exchanger was fine.

    Newer furnaces use thinner metal to improve efficiency.
    Important note Ė I donít know man made laws, just laws of physics
    Disclaimer: I'm a big fan of Darwin awards.

  14. #14

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by kim156 View Post
    Yes ;....the furnace did do bangs..and sounded like a freight train some times at start up;even after some tech work.The furnace is the only thing on the chimney
    Kim,
    thats almost defeniatly the transformer that sparks the burner which is where the reset button is located. when it fails to ignite for a shot time unburnt oil is sprayed in to the firebox and when it does finally ignite BOOM and soot goes everywhere. Thats oil heating 101. I missed this post when posting my last reply and would like to make this my cause for a damaged heat exchanger

    Lou

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •