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Question DetailsAsked on 5/4/2012

Chimney Liner: Is it mandatory in the case of a gas furnace that vents out from a smaller flue in the chimney?

Our contractor who initially contracted with us to replace our oil furnace with a gas furnace included a in the price the price for lining the chimney's smaller flue to vent the gas fumes. Once the work was completed and we paid him the full amount, he told us that he could not line the smaller flue because it was too small (he had inspected prior to the job and never told us this). He "offered" to vent it out another more cumbersome way out the basement for an additional 6K . This was the kicker, he said that it is now not up to code and we would not be able to sell the house with out this new vent. I hope he is wrong, but I refuse to use his services and I am in the process of finding another contractor to "line" the little flue, (two so far have said it is doable in the chimney) but they quote about 5K-6K. Is this liner really necessary to meet code in Massachusetts?

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4 Answers


Every state has a variation to standard code so I can't say for sure what it is in Massachusetts. However, I can say that there are minimum sizing requirements which are typically outlined by the appliance manufacturer to venitilation. If the the existing flue is too small it will have to be replaced. Depending on the construction of the chimney you can see a wide array of prices to do this. If it is a wood framed chinmey with adequate air space around the flue pipe a contractor should be able to remove the old flue and slide the new one in which is always prefered to a liner. If it is masonry your options become a bit more limited. Consult with a few climate contraol (HVAC) specialists in your area that specialize in your heating system. You can also call your system's manufacturer for a reference to a local authorized dealer/installer that can help.

Todd Shell
Todd's Home Services

Answered 8 years ago by Todd's Home Services


It seems unnecessary at this stage but one cannot confirm completely. In any case, you should consider advice from other contractors in your area to get a more rounded opinion on gas furnace prices including installation details.


Answered 7 years ago by woodyh


Answered 7 years ago by LCD


If you can stop payment, I would. His contract included lining - it was up to him to bid the job right, then do what he bid. Also, $5-6K sounds about 3-4 times too high for this - the entire furnace job should probably not have been more than about 1/2 to 2/3 that much. If the existing vent is too small to line then it probably meets code for dimensions, if not then he should have figured on opening up the area (tearing out existing liner ?) to make room for the duct. Alternatively, direct venting out the wall might be possible (depending on furnace model) which would typically cost about $500-800 including ducting and forced-evacuation fan (if needed) and safety interlock.
Personally, I think this whole setup stinks - makes me wonder how much you paid for the whole job versus what it should have cost.
You have a definite contract claim here - a pity you paid in full. I would get the local city/county building HVAC inspector to come out and flunk it in writing. Provide him with the above, where the contractor said it did not meet code. You then have good evidence of inadequate performance - send him (maybe wth help from an attorney) with the failed inspection, and that you have no faith he can remedy it, so you are demanding X dollars back to have it done right by another contractor. You will need a firm quote from another contractor (preferably two) for what it will take to fix it, add your attorneys fees, and that is your X amount. If he refuses you cold have Angie's List try to mediate it, but that would probably result in him wanting to "fix" it himself, which is not what you want. I would then complain to the state licensing board about his failure to adhere to the contract, and knowlingly installing a not-to-code system. If they take action and find he violated code, that combined with the inspector's flunking it and written quotes to bring up to code from other contractors will provide your attorney with ammunition to sue for professional malfeasance. Of course, if he was not licensed, then that strengthens your case even more, bringing in civil fraud and the possibility of multiple punitive damages as well.If you can stop paymetn, I woul

Answered 7 years ago by LCD

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