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Archive for April, 2015|Monthly archive page

Flue Pipe Problems / Roof Ventilation / Shower Pan Leak

In Plumbing, Ridge Vents, Roofing, Ventilation on April 22, 2015 at 11:48 am

Q:

I think my flue pipe might be loose, is this be something I should be concerned about?

A:

When was the last time you visually inspected the metal flue pipes or vents from your furnace and hot water tank? Frequently, when I am inspecting homes for prospective purchasers, I find loose, rusted through or improperly installed vent pipes. They should be installed with a slight upward pitch from your boiler, furnace or hot water tank and be sealed securely into the chimney. If not, or if they’re rusted and corroded, carbon monoxide could escape or back draft into your house, and some people frown on that. It’s a minor problem, which can be repaired for pennies and could save your life.

If the flue pipe is rusted or corroded, replace it. If they are loose and hanging, screw and secure them. If they are sagging, re-install them and remember to slope upward and least 1/4-inch per foot from the furnace to chimney. If not secured into the chimney or there are gaps the vent should be mortared into the chimney using refractory cement (also know as “furnace cement”). Refractory cement is a high-heat resistant material that will not crumble and deteriorate under high temperatures. It’s available at home and hardware centers. Years ago, furnace cement contained asbestos and for obvious reasons, it no longer does.

When the job is done, everything that should go up in smoke, will!

Q:

I need to get a new roof put on my bungalow-style house. One roofer gave me an estimate but told me that since I have no overhang on my house to add soffit ventilation to, I would need to have a ridge vent put at the very top of my roof (for an additional cost) so it does not void the shingle warranty. This doesn’t sound right to me, since I already have six can vents on the rear of my house, four on the front along with gable vents on the sides. That seems like enough ventilation to me, but would like your opinion.

A:

In my opinion, you should not need a ridge vent along with what you already have. The can vents you have on you house have worked fine for you all these years. You should ask to see the manufacturers warranty or even call the shingle manufacturer directly and ask them if by not adding a ridge vent, will in fact, void their warranty. Sometimes when you purchase an extended warranty, additional things may be required such as this, but you are not planning on purchasing one.

Also be aware that by adding a ridge vent to the roof, the gable vents must be closed off or it will throw the thermal dynamics off of the ridge vent.

You stated that this is the only estimate you’ve gotten. My recommendation to you is to get at least three estimates from reputable roofing companies as well as check the company out. Check with the Better Business Bureau to see if there have been any complaints on them by other homeowners. It’s best to always do your homework before signing any contracts.

Q:

I think I have a shower pan leak. What is involved with getting it fixed?

A:

A leak beneath a stall shower could be from a deteriorating “pan”. Beneath the tile of many stall showers are lead pans and their longevity depends on the workmanship and quality of the lead used.

Less expensive three-pound lead probably will only last seven to ten years, four-pound lead, twelve to fourteen years, while six-pound lead could last thirty years or longer. Lead pans are still in use along with rubber sheeting and fiberglass. Repairs are expensive since the tile work, and replacement in itself is expensive.

To determine if your shower pan is bad and the possible leak is not from any plumbing pipes, block the drain with a rag or stopper. Then using a bucket or hose, collect water from another faucet and fill the shower up to the step or ledge in the shower. Let the water sit for twelve hours… If you find you still have a leak, you probably need a new pan.

 

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