They had found the furnace was not connected to the chimney (see drawing, left).
Before I moved in, the property manager had told me the former tenants had preferred to use electric heaters instead of the furnace. He said he didn't know why.
Had they used the furnace, the consequences from carbon monoxide poisoning could have been deadly.
The property manager said he was not aware of the problem. So did the absentee owner, who paid to have it fixed.
This house was unfit for human habitation for several reasons: the dangerous furnace/chimney problem; the disconnected air return boxes that had electrical wiring run through them; the leaking pipes in the kitchen ceiling; the corroded and leaking sewer main in the basement. All those were things I found along the way, after I moved in. Lesson one: always hire a building inspector.
The day I moved in and saw a rusted wreck of a stove with no working oven and only two working burners; and all other appliances gone, contrary to agreements with the property manager and the property owner, my heart sank.
Lesson two: always get everything in writing.
This house is now a safe, livable space, not just for me but for those who come after, for years to come. And that's made it all worthwhile.
Below left: another view of the old furnace. Mike Minney of Haller Enterprises joked that the coat of paint really made it pop.
Below, an efficient new furnace.