This is a picture looking up my chimney cleanout. It sort of looks like it was filled with debris, but also sort of looks like it was intentionally blocked off. It is used to vent the gas furnace and hot water heater. Anyone have an idea if this is blockage that needs to be removed or does it serve a purpose?

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  • 2
    Some code requirements required "flues" that were converted to natural gas vents to be blocked. I found this in several Victorian homes we remodeled and the wanted to replace the original "woodworth" wood / coal burning ovens.
    – Ed Beal
    Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 1:27
  • So do you have an open fireplace above that cleanout? (One would hope not :-) ). Just to be clear: the heater exhausts enter the chimney above this point, right? Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 15:12
  • @CarlWitthoft - no fireplace. yes, the exhausts enter above that point. Used a jack to break through and was definitely just blockage.
    – mrtsherman
    Commented Oct 11, 2016 at 16:21

2 Answers 2


Well I used a jack to punch through the mess and it turns out it was indeed just blockage. There was a bunch of crud randomly piled on top. I have no idea how it three stoogered into looking intentional.


I recently had a chimney sweep out to inspect and clean my fireplace on a new-to-me 45-year-old home. He told me that all those cleanouts are good for is giving rodents a nice entry into the house. He recommended that I fill it up with ash and never open it again. I suspect that the previous owner of your home was working under the same idea.

  • How does one clean out the ash? Just shovel it from inside the firebox?
    – Freiheit
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 17:58
  • Exactly. I just use the shovel and broom from a standard fireplace set.
    – Dave Shuck
    Commented Feb 21, 2017 at 22:26

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