Jump to content

Any idea (or guess) what these are/were for?


Richard Moore
 Share

Recommended Posts

I had another inspector/friend shoot me this photo after he called me to see if I knew what these would be for. I don't. I told him I would try the really smart guys here...(but anyone can answer [;)] )

Click to Enlarge
tn_20091221202727_whatsit.jpg

97.86 KB

1940's house, north Seattle (on public water/sewer) with full unfinished basement, currently gas heat. The fireplace is a normal masonry wood-burner (no air-inlets). Supposedly, there was no sign in the basement of these 2" galvanized pipes entering (or having ever entered). No stove or fireplace in the basement. Too big for a normal buried oil tank vent and would be a very odd place to have them anyway.

Anyone?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

May be combustiion air for fireplace. If there is a hollow cavity under firebox they could have routed the pipe into the ash dump under firebox and the draw from the flue brings in air from outside. Just a guess.

That was my first guess, but he says it is just a normal fireplace. I don't know if there was an ash dump or if he looked in it. I can't see an exterior cleanout door in the photo. Maybe they had some type of stove insert that has long since been removed and the firebox restored.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We sometimes use pipes like that for whiskey stills in Kentucky. The buried ends typically terminate in a safe, easily disguised location.

In Kentucky, I'm sure they know better than to allow whiskey to touch galvanized steel.

I've seen many "bomb shelters" and storm cellars with similar vents.

Everything's copper, now, Bill. But there was that inescapable learning curve.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'd play it safe and caution the client about underground tanks. In real time, though, the pipes may have been installed for some purpose we'll never be able to glean. Around here, I see galvanized pipes used for everything from clothes-line posts, handrails, shelving supports . . . you name it.

The first thing I would have done is pull on the pipes and see if they were set in concrete. With all the crazy booshit we see everyday, who can tell what some Joe Homeowner was trying to create or achieve?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yup, most of the time vents for old underground fuel storage tanks around here (and there are a TON of them), have come straight up with a little mushroom style cap over them, but now and then they'll just be turned down like that. Had I simply walked up on them, that would have been my automatic assumption - underground tanks.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I've never seen a bomb shelter built at a residence during WWII, but they were quite popular during the Kennedy - Cuban missile crisis. I had a friend who's pop put one in their back yard, as did several others in the area. It was back when we as children were being basically told, based upon the time it took us to get home, whether we had tiime to run home and be incinerated with the rest of the fam or at school under a desk or face into a hill side. Great memories..

Of course we all knew that the bomb shelter just delayed the inevitable, since you can't come out for something like 7 years without dying from radiation. Growing up in Washington DC meant we were toast for sure...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I showed the pic to another inspector I know and he has seen this exact thing. He says without more info that he would say it is old decommissioned fuel tank.

Why would he say it was decommissioned?

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Yeah,

I'd never assume that it's a decommissioned tank. A few years ago, the Department of Ecology estimated there were something like 10,000 abandoned UST's in Seattle that still had oil in them.

OT - OF!!!

M.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The first and automatic thing I start doing as soon as I see anything like those is trying to locate a filler cap flush with the ground in typically a five for or so foot radius of those vents. If you don't find filler caps, it's probably abandoned, but still could have oil in it, or be empty and a possible future problem due to collapse. In the city of Richmond, they must be removed now and some degree of soil contamination is typical.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Because the ones he saw were done the same way and were not being used anymore. Maybe a better way to have said it would have been its an oil tank.

Maybe. Around here, the word "decommissioned" has a very specific meaning. It doesn't just mean that it's abandoned or that it's had it's fill cap removed. To decommission a tank, someone has to open it up, clean it out and fill it with inert material -- usually sand, gravel, or slurry. When this is done, the vent and fill pipes are invariably removed and the oil lines are crimped or capped.

It might be that in TN, the word doesn't carry the same meaning.

As Mike said, here in the Pacific NW, underground oil tanks are everywhere and pretty much everyone is accustomed to dealing with them.

As for the original post, those things might be oil tank vents. But if they are, they're certainly not typical looking. The vents usually have caps. With the things in those pictures, anyone could stuff anything in the vents -- stuff that could contaminate the oil or stuff that could clog the pipes. I doubt that they're oil tank vents.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

 Share

×
×
  • Create New...