Explanation of Chimney Wet Time & Metal Chimney Corrosion
CHIMNEY WET TIME & CORROSION - CONTENTS: an Explanation of Chimney Wet Time & Metal Chimney Corrosion. Chimney inspection advice includes detailed attention to rust, pitting, corrosion on metal chimneys
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Chimney wet time:
Definition of chimney wet time.
Modern metal chimneys, regardless of the metal used or other chimney construction details,have a significant potential for condensation and corrosion - conditions that can make a chimney unsafe and that lead to need for costly repairs. Here we give an explanation of hidden safety hazards caused by rust and corrosion of metal chimneys and flues.
These articles on chimneys and chimney safety provide detailed suggestions describing how to perform a thorough visual inspection of chimneys for safety and other defects. Chimney inspection methods and chimney repair methods are also discussed.
The reduced dilution air increases the chances of more condensate
to form in the vent.
Reduced flue gas temperatures result in oversized vents not heating
quickly which contribute to increased condensation.
Reduced dilution air increases the maximum capacity of a vent.
Wettime or "wet time" is the time measured after start up that the flue wall temperature
is below the dew point The "Wettime" of a mid-efficiency appliance is double that
of a draft hood appliance.
Therefore, during the flue heat up time condensation
forms inside the connector or flue. This moisture can dislodge soot products
inside the flue which will fall to the bottom of the chimney or connector and
become a corrosive media.
Rust and pitting: While rust is not as likely on a stainless steel chimney, corrosion can occur because of the corrosives in flue gases and in moisture that may develop inside of a chimney.
Carson Dunlop's sketch (above) warns us to inspect metal chimneys (of all types) for signs of rust and pitting.
Because metal flues corrode from the inside out, and because we on occasion find leaks between the layers of multiple-wall metal chimneys, discovery of these damage signs is important in evaluating chimney safety.
we have observed leaks and corrosion of metal chimneys from interior corrosion (described above) and also on occasion we have found exterior leaks into the interstitial space between the chimney walls due to loss of the rain cap or improper exterior installation or flashing.
Even a small amount of visible pitting on the exterior of a metal chimney or flue is likely to mean that the components are unsafe and need replacement.
Thanks to home inspector Arlene Puentes for technical editing - 4/2014
Reader Comment: Why B-Vents & other Gas Appliance Chimneys Rust & Corrode Near the Chimney Top
30 August 2015 Gregh said:
Many experts seem confused as to why some B vent pipes tend to rust near the top under the rain cap. The rust has absolutely nothing to do with the age or condition of the gas appliance.
The rust is a result of the flue gas coming in contact with the outer shell of the B vent which is a type of galvanized metal. This outer shell is generally cool to the touch , so when the warm flue gasses contact the outer shell and condense on it over a long period of time rust will result as the flue gasses are highly corrosive.
Several manufactures became aware of this 40 years ago. Selkirk designed a rain cap around 1971 which incorporated a lower ring shield to direct flue gas away from the b vent pipe.
Both Selkirk and Ecco manufacturing sold a painted termination pipe from 1973-1985. By this time most cap designs used some type of shield to keep flue gas from drifting down onto the b vents outer surface. Also mid efficient furnaces are terrible for creating more corrosive vapor in flue gas as these appliances don't have a draft hood to introduce dilution air which would help dry the flue gas somewhat.
Greg, thank you. Indeed condensate from gas fired appliances is quite corrosive. Understanding just where the corrosion shows up is both diagnostic and interesting. We'll edit your comments into the article on chimney wet time.
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(Nov 15, 2014) A said:
How often do new metal (with aluminum lining) chimney flues from-gas-furnace-to-chimney- cap need to be inspected for condensation-related corrosion/damage? We just had one installed 1 week ago, and we already hear drip noises all the way down the house when the thermostat is raised?
I would ask for a prompt diagnostic inspection from a certified chimney sweep or your heating service technician to understand the condensation going on in the chimney you describe. Chimney condensate is quite corrosive, and corrodes aluminum even faster than stainless steel. We want to be sure the chimney is properly sized, insulated, and matched to the fuel and BTUs of the appliance you are venting. Otherwise it could be unsafe, even risking a carbon monoxide hazard.
(Some condensation is normal during initial chimney heat-up time).
I'm unclear on what you're venting or just what kind of chimney you've installed.
A good source of chimney safety information is CSIA the Chimney Safety Institute of America, from who we quote:
"Metal chimney liners, usually of stainless steel or aluminum, are primarily used to upgrade and repair existing chimneys. These liner systems are U.L. tested and listed, and if properly installed and maintained are extremely safe and durable. Stainless steel is suitable for woodburning, gas, or oil applications, while the aluminum is an inexpensive alternative for certain medium efficiency gas applications only. It is usually required that high temperature insulation be used in conjunction with the liners for safety and performance considerations." - retrieved 15 Nov 14, original source: www.csia.org/homeowner-resources/about_chimney_liners.aspx
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Use the "Click to Show or Hide FAQs" link just above to see recently-posted questions, comments, replies, try the search box just below, or if you prefer, post a question or comment in the Comments box below and we will respond promptly.
Arlene Puentes, an ASHI member and a licensed home inspector in Kingston, NY, and has served on ASHI national committees as well as HVASHI Chapter President. Ms. Puentes can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Mark Cramer Inspection Services Mark Cramer, Tampa Florida, Mr. Cramer is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors and is a Florida home inspector and home inspection educator. Mr. Cramer serves on the ASHI Home Inspection Standards. Contact Mark Cramer at: 727-595-4211 mark@BestTampaInspector.com
John Cranor is an ASHI member and a home inspector (The House Whisperer) is located in Glen Allen, VA 23060. He is also a contributor to InspectApedia.com in several technical areas such as plumbing and appliances (dryer vents). Contact Mr. Cranor at 804-747-7747 or by Email: email@example.com
Thanks to Luke Barnes for suggesting that we add text regarding the hazards of shared chimney flues. USMA - Sept. 2008.
Roger Hankey is principal of Hankey and Brown home inspectors, Eden Prairie, MN, technical review by Roger Hankey, prior chairman, Standards Committee, American Society of Home Inspectors - ASHI. 952 829-0044 - hankeyandbrown.com
Gas Research Institute Venting Project is cited at www.energyd.com/gas_vent.htm and its results are reflected in the National Fuel Gas Code cited just below.
NFPA #211-3.1 1988 -
Specific to chimneys, fireplaces, vents and solid fuel burning appliances.
NFPA # 54-7.1 1992 -
Specific to venting of equipment with fan-assisted combustion systems.
Gas Appliance Manufacturers' Association has prepared venting tables for
Category I draft hood equipped central furnaces as well as fan-assisted
combustion system central furnaces.
National Fuel Gas Code, an American National Standard, 4th ed. 1988 (newer edition is available) Secretariats, American Gas Association (AGA), 1515 Wilson Blvd., Arlington VA22209, and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Batterymarch Park, Quincy MA 02269. ANSI Z223.1-1988 - NFPA 54-1988. WARNING: be sure to check clearances and other safety guidelines in the latest edition of these standards.
Fire Inspector Guidebook, A Correlation of Fire Safety Requirements Contained in the 1987 BOCA National Codes, (newer edition available), Building Officials and Code Administrators International, Inc. (BOCA), Country Club HIlls, IL 60478 312-799-2300 4th ed. Note: this document is reissued every four years. Be sure to obtain the latest edition.
Uniform Mechanical Code - UMC 1991, Sec 913 (a.) Masonry Chimneys,
refers to Chapters 23, 29, and 37 of the Building Code.
New York 1984 Uniform Fire
Prevention and Building Code, Article 10, Heating, Ventilating, and Air Conditioning Requirements
New York 1979 Uniform Fire Prevention & Building Code, The "requirement" for 8" of solid masonry OR for use of a
flue liner was listed in the One and Two Family Dwelling Code for New
York, in 1979, in Chapter 9, Chimneys and Fireplaces, New York 1979
Building and Fire Prevention Code:
"Top Ten Chimney (and related) Problems Encountered by One Chimney Sweep," Hudson Valley ASHI education seminar, 3 January 2000, contributed by Bob Hansen, ASHI
"Rooftop View Turns to Darkness," Martine Costello, Josh Kovner, New Haven Register, 12 May 1992 p. 11: Catherine Murphy was sunning on a building roof when a chimney collapsed; she fell into and was trapped inside the chimney until rescued by emergency workers.
"Chimneys and Vents," Mark J. Reinmiller, P.E., ASHI Technical Journal, Vol. 1 No. 2 July 1991 p. 34-38.
"Chimney Inspection Procedures & Codes," Donald V. Cohen was to be published in the first volume of the 1994 ASHI Technical Journal by D. Friedman, then editor/publisher of that publication. The production of the ASHI Technical Journal and future editions was cancelled by ASHI President Patrick Porzio. Some of the content of Mr. Cohen's original submission has been included in this more complete chimney inspection article: InspectAPedia.com/chimneys/Chimney_Inspection_Repair.php. Copies of earlier editions of the ASHI Technical Journal are available from ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors.
Natural Gas Weekly Update: http://tonto.eia.doe.gov/oog/info/ngw/ngupdate.asp Official Energy Statistics from the U.S. Government
US Energy Administration: Electrical Energy Costs http://www.eia.doe.gov/fuelelectric.html
Books & Articles on Building & Environmental Inspection, Testing, Diagnosis, & Repair
Ceramic Roofware, Hans Van Lemmen, Shire Library, 2008, ISBN-13: 978-0747805694 - Brick chimneys, chimney-pots and roof and ridge tiles have been a feature of the roofs of a wide range of buildings since the late Middle Ages. In the first instance this ceramic roofware was functional - to make the roof weatherproof and to provide an outlet for smoke - but it could also be very decorative.
The practical and ornamental aspects of ceramic roofware can still be seen throughout Britain, particularly on buildings of the Victorian and Edwardian periods. Not only do these often have ornate chimneys and roof tiles but they may also feature ornamental sculptures or highly decorative gable ends. This book charts the history of ceramic roofware from the Middle Ages to the present day, highlighting both practical and decorative applications, and giving information about manufacturers and on the styles and techniques of production and decoration.
Hans van Lemmen is an established author on the history of tiles and has lectured on the subject in Britain and elsewhere. He is founder member and presently publications editor of the British Tiles and Architectural Ceramics Society. Available at the InspectAPedia Bookstore.
Chimney & Stack Inspection Guidelines, American Society of Civil Engineers, 2003 - These guidelines address the inspection of chimneys and stacks. Each guideline assists owners in determining what level of inspection is appropriate to a particular chimney and provides common criteria so that all parties involved have a clear understanding of the scope of the inspection and the end product required. Each chimney or stack is a unique structure, subject to both aggressive operating and natural environments, and degradation over time. Such degradation may be managed via a prudent inspection program followed by maintenance work on any equipment or structure determined to be in need of attention. Sample inspection report specifications, sample field inspection data forms, and an example of a developed plan of a concrete chimney are included in the guidelines. This book provides a valuable guidance tool for chimney and stack inspections and also offers a set of references for these particular inspections.
NFPA 211 - 3-4 - Clearance from Combustible Material
NFPA 54 - 7-1 - Venting of Equipment into chimneys
Brick Institute of America - Flashing Chimneys
Brick Institute of America - Proper Chimney Crowns
Brick Institute of America - Moisture Resistance of Brick
American Gas Association - New Vent Sizing Tables
Chimney Safety Institute of America - Chimney Fires: Causes, Effects, Evaluation
National Chimney Sweep Guild - Yellow Pages of Suppliers
Carson, Dunlop & Associates Ltd., 120 Carlton Street Suite 407, Toronto ON M5A 4K2. Tel: (416) 964-9415 1-800-268-7070 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. The firm provides professional home inspection services & home inspection education & publications. Alan Carson is a past president of ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home. Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Illustrated Home purchased as a single order Enter INSPECTAILL in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
TECHNICAL REFERENCE GUIDE to manufacturer's model and serial number information for heating and cooling equipment, useful for determining the age of heating boilers, furnaces, water heaters is provided by Carson Dunlop, Associates, Toronto - Carson Dunlop Weldon & Associates Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Technical Reference Guide purchased as a single order. Just enter INSPECTATRG in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space.
The Home Reference Book - the Encyclopedia of Homes, Carson Dunlop & Associates, Toronto, Ontario, 25th Ed., 2012, is a bound volume of more than 450 illustrated pages that assist home inspectors and home owners in the inspection and detection of problems on buildings. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Field inspection worksheets are included at the back of the volume.
Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. Enter INSPECTAHRB in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
Special Offer: Carson Dunlop Associates offers InspectAPedia readers in the U.S.A. a 5% discount on these courses: Enter INSPECTAHITP in the order payment page "Promo/Redemption" space. InspectAPedia.com editor Daniel Friedman is a contributing author.
The Horizon Software System manages business operations,scheduling, & inspection report writing using Carson Dunlop's knowledge base & color images. The Horizon system runs on always-available cloud-based software for office computers, laptops, tablets, iPad, Android, & other smartphones