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Question DetailsAsked on 1/12/2018

my house is over 100 years old water was filled in the chimmeny,i behind a little black door andfilled with water.

In the basement i was vacumeing up water from a heavy rain when i noticed water coming down from the chimmenys little black door in the basement , i opened it up and it was filled with 32 gallons of water. i took it out with a wet dry vac. what is it?

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1 Answer


Wow - that was one well-sealed ashpit door - unless it has leaked before and someone caulked it shut. Usually they are not anywhere near airtight.

The little black door is the ash cleanout - there is a metal door in the bottom of the firebox which you can just sweep the ash into, it falls down a chute into the basement (hence the 32 gallons), and you dig it out through the little door a the bottom periodically. Keeps from making a mess upstairs cleaning the ash out of the firebox directly, and allows you do have a number of fires between ash cleanouts. If not properly built can also be a real danger, because the ash going down (though it should not for safety reasons) commonly includes glowing coals - plus a few glowing embers or coals will commonly trickle down in from the firebox around the trap door perimeter seal in the first fire after each firebox cleanout.

The water in there could be from leakage through the outside of the chimney into the chimney, or could mean you have a roof flashing leak or a mising or rusted through rain cap on top of the chimney, or possibly a missing or damaged crown or bricks in the chimney.

Dig out the ash in the ashpit if any is still in there, then get a Chimney Sweep (your Search the List category) who is certified to come do a chimney inspection and locate the source of the leak - usually pretty obvious because the water makes a stinky, gooey creosote mess in the chimney, so one normally just needs to move up the chimney with the inspection light till you hit the top of the gooey, slimy creosote. The sooner he can do this the better, while it is still wet.

Answered 2 years ago by LCD

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