Home>Discussions>INSULATION & HVAC>Stainless Steel Liner or Aluminum
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violet holly
Stainless Steel Liner or Aluminum

Just purchase 1880 home from parents estate. Noticed stain on ceiling on second floor near chimney. Called "Chimney Sweep Co." to give me a diagnosis and estimate. Chimney needs complete rebuild from roof up. This includes new lead around the base etc. I agree with this.

Having a heating system installed in the near future and will need a liner,
(vent) for the natural gas water heater only. New gas furnace will vent to the outside through house wall.
My heating system guy tells me 3 inch aluminum vent pipe will work fine.

"Chimney Sweep Co. which has proper license to do the liner tells me that aluminum will only last 10 years.
They recommend using stainless - life time use. Cost for stainless 3" is just shy of one thousand dollars. I realize stainless is expensive but...

I am wondering if it is still ok to go with the aluminum as we will be only venting one gas water heater.

Please advise.

Re: Stainless Steel Liner or Aluminum

Sweep this guy out o town, he wants to make a killing, and get another estimate.

Ask any kid: what's cheaper? aluminum or galvanized? he'll tell you the answer is galvanized.

BTW, a roofer can do the cut in the roof, install your vent and seal the roof - for less.

Re: Stainless Steel Liner or Aluminum

ditto what dj said!

Your heating system guy & roofing contractors are usually more trustworthy.

Re: Stainless Steel Liner or Aluminum

There are high efficiency, direct vent hot water heaters too. If you bought one of those, you would not need the chimney at all.

Re: Stainless Steel Liner or Aluminum

You need to check with the Aluminum manufacture of the vent pipe most Aluminum that come in contact with Masonary Mortars will fail due to the Calcium in the Mortar it will corrode.
If the Aluminum is treated for use in mansonary you should be fine.

Re: Stainless Steel Liner or Aluminum

The sweep is right an aluminum liner is a 10 maybe 15 year liner. That being said when it is time to replace that heater you will go with a high efficiency one right? So for a water heater i would go aluminum. For anything else i would always say stainless. And what the hell pelton i am a sweep and i know many roofers and hvac guys that are crooks actually many more than sweeps. If you don't trust that sweep get another opinion but what he said was right i just think in this case the 10 year aluminum liner will do ok for you. And yes i have pulled many aluminum liners put in for furnaces that designated in about 10 years to put in a stainless one.

Re: Stainless Steel Liner or Aluminum

My family was involved several years ago in a situation where we converted from oil to gas heat with a 20 y.o. brick chimney---the heating contractor doing the job advised me that the chimney appeared to be in excellent shape, but that he had to notify the city of the new chimney connection & that the chimney approval had to be passed by the town hvac inspector.

Next thing I know a certain local chimney repair/service company is calling me wondering when he can come over to install a stainless steel chimney liner for $2000, otherwise it wouldn't get inspector approval & I would be without heat---I asked him how he knew I was having heating work done on the chimney, and if my heating contractor called him---he finally admitted that the city hvac inspector had called him & that I'd better have the work done right away for the $2000 if I knew what was good for me!

I was eventually able to resolve the situation by having my heating contractor contact someone who could install a chimney insert for a lot less than the $2k.

The city council eventually voted to fire the hvac inspector, and modified the ordinances covering chimneys & hvac vents to allow inspections by qualified heating contractors who could obtain certification, as well as a special unit of the local Fire Dept.; the town ordinances covering this area were so amended to reflect the changes.

My heating contractor took me aside after the install & told me that this sort of thing has been going on ad infinitum for years & years---most homeowners are too afraid to fight back & just kow-tow to the arm twisting & threats out of fear of losing their heat or being fined for having an "unsafe building" and having the property condemned as unfit for human habitation & being told to vacate the building.

Re: Stainless Steel Liner or Aluminum

Did you watch this weeks TOH on PBS? I think you would have found it very interesting and applicable to your situation.

Ok, it looks like my local PBS station is behind the schedule here, this is the episode I am talking about


Re: Stainless Steel Liner or Aluminum

That system only works with high efficiency appliances which i am assuming the water heater is not or they would have just vented it out the side wall like the furnace

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