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leaking clean out for chimney

Our clean out for the chimney is in the basement. It leaks a black liquid every time it rains or we burn wood that is wet. It has ruined our basement floor. the floor is cement. It appears to be eroding the floor. How can we fix this leak and repair our floor? We do have a chimney cap in place.

Re: leaking clean out for chimney

My fist thought is to clean out the cleanout. The cleanout "should" be a little ways above the bottom of chimney, to provide a reservoir for ash, soot, and moisture so it doesn't leak out the cleanout door.

If there isn't this space below the door, then you'll need to look at other things. Is the chimney cap sufficient? Rain may be blowing into it. Consider one that pivots in the wind so it's always facing downwind. This can help prevent rain and downdraft intrusion. You might be able to add some woodstove gasket to the door to help seal it up. It's made of spun ceramic, so it's heat and moisture proof.

You might also want to have your chimney inspected by a licensed chimney sweep (preferably not one that repairs chimneys so you get an unbiased opinion) to make sure there aren't cracks that let in water -- and potentially, let out carbon monoxide into your living space.

Make sure the roof flashing is sealed well to the chimney, so you don't get rain coming down the outside of the chimney.

You should never burn wet or damp wood. It burns inefficiently so you don't get much heat out of it, it creates extra creosote so you have to clean your chimney more often, and it pollutes the air. Firewood should be "seasoned" -- left to dry outdoors after cutting -- for at least 6 months before burning. Some hardwoods require a year or more.

Clean your chimney often. How often depends on the type of wood you are burning, how well seasoned it is, and how efficient your woodstove or fireplace is. If an inspection shows a buildup of 1/4", it's time to clean it. We had a woodstove when I was growing up, and we had to clean the stovepipe once a month. After replacing the stove with a more efficient model, we were able to go two months between cleanings, and we cut our wood consumption by a third.

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Re: leaking clean out for chimney

Thanks for the input. My husband has already put a gasket around the inside of the door making the seal tight. We thought that would work but it leaked again. My husband cleans out the chimney regularly as he is a fireman. We usually do not burn wet wood. We are stumped at what to do. We have a two story house and the clean out is in the basement. I believe it was put there because our basement is well below ground level. Any suggestions?

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