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I saw these high and low registers on either side of this old fireplace (the house was 100 years old). I am assuming that the high and low on the left-hand side, and the high and low on the right-hand side are connected by a duct creating a convection loop on both sides. Is that right?

I peered into the high registers and saw they were lined with asbestos. Is that common? Was the temperature passing through the ducts high enough to necessitate this? If so why was the asbestos inside the duct and not outside the duct.

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Originally posted by caryseidner

I saw these high and low registers on either side of this old fireplace (the house was 100 years old). I am assuming that the high and low on the left-hand side, and the high and low on the right-hand side are connected by a duct creating a convection loop on both sides. Is that right?

I peered into the high registers and saw they were lined with asbestos. Is that common? Was the temperature passing through the ducts high enough to necessitate this? If so why was the asbestos inside the duct and not outside the duct.

That's a heatilator design. Actually, Heatilator is, I believe, a brand name of a prefab metal firebox with heating channels. Your example is just a masonry version. It works exactly as you guessed. Air enters in the low vents, is warmed by the back side of the firebox and rises out the upper vents. This design is extremely common in older homes.

I've never seen one with asbestos inside. From your pics, I don't believe that there's asbestos in the one you saw either. I think that's just mortar parging. There's really no need for asbestos in those passages because they're surrounded by masonry on all sides.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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