Collapsing metalbestos insulated chimney (C) Daniel Friedman Chimney Safety When Changing Fuels or Heating Appliances on a Masonry Flue
     

  • FUEL CHANGES for HEATING APPLIANCES - CONTENTS: What to do about chimneys when you are changing fuel from oil to gas, gas to oil, coal to oil or gas, etc.
    • Effects on chimney safety when switching from oil to gas, gas to oil, etc.
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about care of heating appliance chimneys when converting from oil to gas, gas to oil, coal or wood stove to oil or gas fuel
  • REFERENCES

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Chimney safety requirements when changing fuels: oil to gas conversions. Changing the fuel burned for heating appliances, for example from oil to gas, can present serious chimney safety hazards that need to be addressed by cleaning, inspection, and possibly repair or re-lining of the chimney flue.

Our page top photo shows that the outdoor oil tank has been disconnected (red arrow) and a portable LP gas tank and regulator (green arrows) have been installed to provide heat to this Pennsylvania cabin. At an amateur-looking installation like this one, we guess that no one has considered whether the chimney is safe to use in these conditions.

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Changing Fuels or Heating Appliances on a Masonry Flue

Collapsing metalbestos insulated chimney (C) Daniel FriedmanChanging fuel, for example from oil to gas, during an oil-to-gas heat conversion (or from wood or coal to oil or gas fuel) can present serious chimney safety hazards that need to be addressed by cleaning, inspection, and possibly repair or re-lining of the chimney flue.

Masonry chimneys without flue tiles must be lined before a new appliance can be installed.

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  • Metal liners: Typically, a flexible stainless steel metal liner is inserted into the flue space and secured with various design techniques ranging from a cap plate at the top to pressure grouting between the masonry surround and the new liner.

    Good practice includes pouring an insulating material around the metal liner, between the liner and the interior of the chimney wall, and also a good chimney rain cap and top crown seal.
  • Poured cement or a two step cement fill and ceramic glaze can be used. Processes such as SupaFlu™ or PermaFlu™ use a refractory cement that is poured into the chimney around an inflated central core.

    While these cements may be lightweight, nevertheless the chimney must be basically structurally sound for these processes to succeed.
  • Expert chimney - pouring a chimney liner in stages to avoid a collapse: installers can sometimes salvage an old un-lined or damaged chimney by making the chimney liner pour in stages to reduce the chances of a chimney collapse.

More Information & Warnings About Oil to Gas Heat Conversions

See OIL TANK ABANDONMENT or LEAK REGS - 1993 where we report on the concern for oil spills at discontinued heating oil storage tanks. Quoting New Jersey's Department of Community Affairs Division of Codes and Standards,

It has recently come to the Department's attention that them have been several accidental discharges of fuel oil resulting from oil tanks that have been placed out of service. These incidents commonly occur when home-owners convert from oil to natural gas for their heating needs. The problems have centered around tanks that have not been removed and have been "forgotten about" and subsequently leaked due to corrosion.

In other cases the tank has been removed but the fill pipe has been left in place. Fuel oil deliveries made to an incorrect address in these cases have resulted in fuel oil being pumped into the basement of the home.

See OIL TANK ABANDONING PROCEDURE where we give advice on steps to take when converting from oil to gas fuel for home heating

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