Adam shares an interesting case study about a leaking coal chute. He explains how he was able to stop the leak in this legacy apparatus no longer in use.
Narrator: It’s time once again for the “Crack Man Podcast” hosted by A1 Foundation Crack Repair. I’m Darren Kincaid here with the Crack Daddy himself, Adam Tracy. Adam and The Crack Man Rich have over 30 years’ experience in the construction industry. Rich as over 25 years as the president and founder of A1 Foundation Crack Repair. This podcast provides expert basement waterproofing, concrete repair, and preventative maintenance tips for homeowners and businesses. A1 Foundation’s valuable insight will help avert a disastrous flood within the basement, health problems associated with water infiltration, and protect your biggest investment….your home. Oh shoot! There's water coming out of my coal chute.
Narrator: So, Adam, you have an interesting case study today. Something about a leaking coal chute. What happened there?
Adam: Yeah, you can chalk this one up to random things that you find mostly in New England towns where you have a coal chute in an old home that causes leaks. So when we look at basement waterproofing and if the customer is looking at basement waterproofing online, this typically isn't one that shows up in the Google search results, but we'd see it probably four or five times a year where there's a coal chute in an old home that is the bane of the existence for rain issues.
It usually is in much older homes, fieldstone foundations, and primarily the ones that we typically deal with are inside the Boston area. So this house happened to be right inside Boston proper. It was a row house with multiple houses all tied in together, and what had happened was that they never had water for years and they had a pretty dry basement. They had dampness every once in a while, but then all of a sudden they started seeing a lot of water coming in specifically around the coal chute, which is an old metal pipe, essentially, or box pipe that goes out to the soil, and that's where the coal companies would dump down the coal and it would end up in your basement, and that's how you would heat your home.
Now, what had happened was most of these are abandoned and they just abandoned them in place because they're not going to dig out the entire chute underground, so they just cap them off and abandon them in place. In this particular house in Boston, they did a lot of sidewalk repairs, and so they ripped out the old sidewalk, they did some compacting, they had to do some regrading in that area and then they put a new sidewalk down. And in doing so, they disturbed all the soil and the connection pieces within the coal chute. So any time the water got saturated into the soil underneath the sidewalk, it actually came into the basement through the coal chute.
We're not going to go out and strip out the brand new concrete sidewalk and we can't really get it out of the wall from the inside because it goes up about 8 ft., so there's really very limited things we could do to help these people from getting water into the basement. In this case, we take our normal waterproofing resin which is a closed cell polymer resin material, and we're able to soak in special materials and actually use that coal chute as the channel for putting any material in. We don't usually inject it like we would on a crack injection because the void space is too large. So really, we fill this coal chute, because it's abandoned, it's never going to be used again. From the inside, all the way up to the street level, and that material will expand and find all the cracks and the metal material that will actually work its way out into the soil and totally encapsulate this thing, and then you could put a little steel door on the inside and call it a day.
This is one of those interesting cases that we don't see very often, but they're always fun to do because it's interesting to see some of the old infrastructure from over 100 years ago, still intact, but just banded in place. And fortunately for these guys, we're able to seal it up. No problem. They've had plenty of rain since then, no water coming through and now they can use that area for storage again.
Narrator: Well, very cool case study, Adam. Thanks for sharing how you helped a customer with a problem with a leaky coal chute.
Narrator: If you have a basement water problem and think you need a professional, or, if you’d like more information on foundation crack repair and basement waterproofing topics, please visit A1FoundationCrackRepair.com or call Rich at (866) 929-3171. Or you can email Rich at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks for listening and keep that basement dry.