A sweeping tutorial on chimneys – Bangor Daily News

A sweeping tutorial on chimneys – Bangor Daily News.

…In my earnest attempts to save energy, which cut the heating bill by more than half while making the house comfortable, the chimney was getting cold. Since the chimney was more than 40 feet tall and had spent most of its past 100 years in the wonderful warmth of excessive fuel consumption, the 5 feet that were up in the air on the top of the house never, ever froze. That is until Mr. Energy Efficiency showed up.

And I am not alone. As we all make these old arks tight and more efficient, we use less fuel. All those wonderful, glorious old chimneys have a problem with this.

It is not the end of the world if the chimney is cold, but the cold chimney condenses all the stuff that we vent in it from burning our fuel of choice.

For years, we have known about creosote from wood burning. We (or most of us) know that chimneys for wood burning stoves and boilers have to be lined properly to minimize the effects of creosote formation and the possibility of chimney fires.

A cooler chimney has a similar effect with oil and gas. When we burn gas, which is a relatively clean-burning fuel, there is a tremendous amount of water that is in the exhaust gas. If the chimney is cool enough or is used intermittently as in a well insulated building, ice can actually form in the chimney. Ice can also block a chimney and allow carbon monoxide to enter the home. This is a killer since it is an odorless gas. Wood and oil fuels also exhaust carbon monoxide, but they are smelly enough for us to usually recognize a problem with improper venting.

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