Chimney Jenga

I knew all those games of Jenga would teach me some real-life skills! I played a real-life game of Jenga tonight with the bricks in our chimney – removing them one-by-one after making sure that they weren’t supporting any weight transferred from other bricks.

In previous posts, I’ve shown you that a lot of the bricks in our chimney aren’t really doing very much – just hanging around loose… I’ve been trying to figure out what to do about it.

Inspector Reuben (who I assure you is a real person, not just me pretending to be an inspector…) was kind enough to tell me I have 2 options:
1. repair the chimney. This has two sub-options:
a) leave the existing chimney above the roof and fill in new bricks where the old ones were
b) remove all the chimney above the roof and build a new one
2. remove all bricks from ceiling level and above and replace it with metal ducts
I know nothing about masonry or ductwork, though masonry seems a little bit more straight-forward. So I did some poking around tonight to figure out my options. I started pulling out the bricks that weren’t supporting any weight above it… and this is what I am left with:
YIKES! THERE’S ALMOST NOTHING LEFT! So what’s supporting the weight of the chimney??? Well, I’m really not sure, except I am beginning to suspect that the entire chimney above the roof is being supported by some little metal flashing pieces! YIKES! I knew our chimney was in bad shape… I had NO IDEA it was this bad!
I’m guessing option 1a is no longer an option… I think no matter what we do, the entire chimney above the roof will need to be removed to get the job done correctly. And at that point, it almost seems easier to replace it with metal ducts – especially since I’ve practically dismantled the entire thing already.
So I went to Home Depot tonight to learn what I could learn about ducts, and found that nobody there had any idea what they were talking about. And I was quite disappointed with their selection of furnace ducts… Phooey. I’ll try Menards tomorrow, and if that doesn’t help, it may be time to seek outside help… I tried to google around for hvac supply companies, but I could only find warehouses and wholesalers – no retailers.
aargh…. all this JUST SO WE CAN PAINT THE HALLWAY????

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