Sunday, January 18, 2015

It's Chimney Time!

Way, way back when we bought our house, one of the biggest issues the inspector found was with the deck.  It was poorly constructed, but also poorly implemented - the power vent for the furnace was under the deck. So much so, it made it on to the original big top five fix's when we first bought the house. 

The furnace runs our hot water, so it has to be on year round.   Thanks to our good inspection, we were already anticipating having to leave our deck anytime the furnace kicked on... which happened a lot.

However, we had not anticipated some of the other big issues.  For most of the hot parts of the summer, the air was so thick with exhaust that it surrounded the entire house so that we couldn't even air out the parts of the house it was backing up into.  Despite have the furnace serviced 3 times, replacing one part, we ended up having no how water for most of the summer.  The service men said that the power vent is at the end of it's life, and the radon system is fighting it's forward motion.  We left a window open, per his request, which did seem to help some... but introduced a mold/moisture  problem in our basement instead :(

During the end of summer and the start of fall, things settled down some... but picked up a new symptom e hadn't experienced last winter, with when temperatures dropped and we were using our heat again. The exhaust not just hung around the deck, but filled our basement and kitchen, to the point where I couldn't use the basement, and sometimes not even our kitchen. 

So we schedules so quotes, and in the meantime took the matters into our own hands. 

There's a vent right on the corner of the house under there

Nothing like randomly sawing holes in your deck, right?

So, the covering is just a register heater.  The cheapest thing I could find to keep our kids from falling through the deck. Not the nicest, smartest solution, but it did something. 

Right away, we noticed a change in airflow, and could feel the exhaust rising through the hole.  Despite the better airflow, we were still having lots of trouble with exhaust smell in the basement.

After a few over the phone quotes, we had these guys from "A Merry Sweep" come out to quote us. They quoted us at $2,600, which was on the low end of what we had expected, so we decided to go for it. However, if there was one fault with them, it was scheduling.  It took longer than antipated to get the quote, longer than they said to schedule after signing the contract, and after a weather delay even longer to finally get it installed.

But... so worth the wait.  While I was at work, Jon snapped some pictures of the build in progress.

And when I came home... the chimney was up! Despite being a die hard DIYer, I sure can appreciate having the job done by someone else.

Once the chimney guy was all set, we had set up a furnace guy to come swap the furnace over to a chimney type system (it won't require a signal to be sent to/from the power vent anymore) and calibrate the set up.

The one snafu we ran into, was that the chimney guy and Jon had to take down the awning, it fell, hurt Jon a little bit, and broke off part of a window.  Not a huge deal, since Jon survives and we were going to replace that window anyway.

It was a lot of money to be spent, and I still have to box in the chimney somehow... but at least we are finally exhaust free in our house!

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