LESLIE: Now we’ve got Bob from Rhode Island on the line. What can we help you with today at your money pit?
BOB: Well, my money pit is a house, actually. And usually is everybody’s money pit, I guess. I’ve got a – the family’s homestead – it’s been in the family since 1948. And I’m in the process – I’ve gutted it all out. I’m down to the studs, so I took all the studs and the – I mean I’m sorry, I took all the plaster and the laths off the walls and the ceilings. And I’m looking at these two chimneys in the house. It’s a two-and-a-half decker house. And I’m trying to decide if I want to eliminate the chimneys.
You know, the new boilers today, they’re all direct-vented and I’ve got to do the roof anyway. So I’m saying, is this the time to remove the chimneys? What do you think?
TOM: Well, I think it might be. If you want to get rid of the chimneys, it could be the time to do it. Do you feel like the chimneys contribute to the aesthetics of the house?
BOB: Well, that’s a thought, too. That’s part of the reason why I’m calling is because I’m – they kind of do, in some way. And I’m looking at – when I tear the – when I tore the walls out, I exposed the chimney. I do like the brick but then again, I can change the layout of the kitchen without one of the chimneys. The one in the kitchen is quite large, so …
TOM: Do these come up through the middle of the house or they come up the outside wall?
BOB: No, they’re in the middle. Not in the middle but they’re inside. They’re all in …
TOM: OK. So that’s not so bad, yeah.
BOB: Yeah, they’re not like a newer house where they were outside – on the outside of the house, no.
TOM: And your furnace, your water heater, they’re all direct-vent today, so they’re completely disconnected from the chimneys themselves?
BOB: Well, they’re not now. I’m going to replace them. I’m going to put a Navien system in and …
TOM: OK. Alright. So you’re going to use a PVC, probably, vent pipe to take that up and out.
BOB: Correct. Yes.
TOM: Alright. Well, listen, if you – it does make sense to remove the chimneys. They are, obviously, a maintenance headache and a source of many leaks. Since you’re doing the roof, now is the right time to do that.
Removing the chimney is not as difficult as you might expect, because it’s basically like taking apart the building blocks. You start at the top and knock those bricks loose and take them down one at a time until you get below the top of the chimney. Probably go right down to the attic floor, I would imagine, so that it’s not in the middle of the attic. And then go ahead and resheathe that roof, fill the hole in. And once they roof over, it’ll be a distant memory.
BOB: And the funny thing is, as you said, that’s the proper way. But years ago, I had a friend of mine helping me doing another house and my – and it was a three-decker. And I told him, “I want to remove the chimney.” And all of a sudden, I hear this ridiculously loud noise. Sounded like a locomotive. He went down to the basement and knocked out the chimney and it’s a wonder he didn’t get killed. The entire chimney came all the way down to the basement.
TOM: The whole thing came down?
BOB: Yeah. He was entirely covered in soot. It’s a wonder he didn’t get killed. The entire basement was full of brick.
TOM: Yeah, well, let’s hope he learned his lesson.
BOB: Yeah. Well, good. Well, thanks for the advice. And I love your show. I listen to it every weekend on WPRO-AM in Rhode Island.
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