Chimney & Fireplaces/Chimney ooze

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QUESTION: Hi.

My home was built in 1886 on Long Island.  When my family and I returned from our Christmas holiday, we noticed a dark red liquid dripping down the chimney on the exterior of my home.  Because my home is in foreclosure, we cannot afford to bring a  professional in to evaluate the situation.  However, we would like to know what this liquid is and if it is toxic.  Because the chimney begins at the 3rd floor and comes down the rear of the house, this liquid is being tracked into my home where pets are present.  The liquid does not drip from the top of the chimney but begins 1/4 of the way down.  The liquid is not easily removed from the chimney but will dissipate when it rains really hard but reappears.  Is there a really cheap fix?  Or is this something we can live with.

Thank you very much.

K. DeRose

ANSWER: Hello Kristen, not sure what you have maybe it is oil soot, if the crown (top cement cap of the chimney) is cracked it could be letting water into the chimney and taking the Ooze through the cracks that then washes off when it rains? I would have a local Certified Chimney Sweep www.csia.org, there you can look up by zip code to find one near you) take a first hand look at what you have (I know Chief Chimney personally on Long Island they are the best, not sure what they would charge to look, they should be able to help. Either way It may be toxic or unsafe to use that chimney and it may hold your heating equipment.
Hope this helps
James


---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

Rear of home
Rear of home  
QUESTION: Hi James.  I have attached a picture; do not know if this is helpful or not.  I am only allowed to attach one picture.  I canno afford a chimney specialist right now.  Is this substance toxic to humans and dogs?  Toxic to the skin?  Or if ingested? Or both?  

Thank you again for your help.

Kristen DeRose

Answer
Welcome back Kristen, are you heating your home with natural gas? It looks like the white staining is from the moist hot gases that leach out through the brick of a chimney, there might be some thing melting maybe some kind of tar coating in the chimney, old oil or coal soot in the chimney? with out seeing it I can't tell what is is or if it is toxic. sorry.I think it should be looked at, if it is toxic you would want to know If I came out I would start with looking at the fuel source, the flue construction (lined or un lined flue), a video scan and see what I find,
James

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James Ball

Expertise

I am a chimney sweep with over 22 years of experience, CSIA certified and member of the NCSG, I can answer questions about smoky fire places, wood stoves, and heating units (boiler and furnace chimneys) do you need a relining? A cap? And much more

Experience

over 22 years

Organizations
Chimney Safety Institute of America, National Chimney Sweep Guild

Education/Credentials
CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) certified

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