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If that grate-covered hole is in a "common area" and up against a wall, you can bet that it was once a floor furnace. The combustion boxes on older gas floor furnaces would crack over time (decades) and become a carbon monoxide (CO) danger to inhabitants due to flue gas escaping into the home instead of going up and out the vent pipe. A utility inspector ...


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Your description of the "reinforced hole" matches that of an old well or cistern, perhaps from when the land was agricultural anywhere from the late 1930s through the 1970s. To confirm, ask your local land use bureau, historical society, or equivalent who can produce survey maps from the mid 20th century—or any time before your house was built. ...


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The new support structure with a beam that you are proposing sounds fine. If you are concerned, then overdo it by doubling the materials for the beam, or placing a steel L-rod 3/8" thick around the beam. Using an L-rod will reduce the number of bolts that you need to put through it into the beam, and will add structural support due to the angle. The more ...



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