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99 Ways to Burn Your House Down

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by DeerHunter, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. simple.serf

    simple.serf Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Sherman, NY
    Thus far, at this house all of my "almost burnt the house/barn down" events involve a very faulty ITE pushmatic electrical box. It's going away in the next two months. I don't worry about the stove, but it's the last thing I check before I go to bed, and the first thing I check when I get up in the morning (and halfway though the night).

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  2. fossil

    fossil Accidental Moderator Staff Member

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    Bend, OR
    Scariest personal experience for me had everything to do with combustibles (firewood) sitting too close to the side of a steel stove (old Lopi 520 that was in the house when we bought it) that was rippin' into its overnight burn fuel load. Laying in bed, I kept thinking I smelled smoke...finally got up to check, and the dang ends of some of those splits close to (but outside of!) the stove were smoldering/smoking...just about ready to burst into flame. Scared the bejeezuz out of me. I can't even look at either of my stoves without remembering that...and it was in 2007. Rick
  3. FanMan

    FanMan Feeling the Heat

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    313
    Loc:
    CT stix & upstate NY
    The wiring is typical 1930s where it hasn't been upgraded (and I've upgraded much of it). The plumbing was so bad that I replaced all of it... it was nothing but splices and patches presumably due to split frozen pipes from improper winter draining. The core structure was solid but the later additions were pretty bad... I went into it knowing I'd have to completely gut and renovate it. Took 5 years but I finally finished (more or less) last spring.
  4. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    southern ontario
    Sounds like you'll be able to relax and enjoy for many years. Pictures?
  5. Chrism

    Chrism Feeling the Heat

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    Oct 8, 2009
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    Loc:
    Eastern PA
    well one thing i do in the winter is have the right amount of garden hose to reach my stove. its in the heated basement nothing worse than to have a fire and your hose is frozen or having not enough hose to reach it !! never needed it but id rather cover may butt.
  6. theonlyzarathu

    theonlyzarathu Member

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2011
    Messages:
    104
    Loc:
    Bar Harbor, Maine
    I have to say that when I was burning the old riteway 37 in a 7 inch outside insulated chimney pipe it was way more scary than anything last year when I started buring a Pacific Energy Summit using the stainles Steel liner in the concrete and ceramic flue that goes up the center of the house. The old side drafting riteway was a heck of a big stove holding 4 cu ft of wood. But the draft was so intense that even with a damper in the stack there were times I couldn't slow it down and the interior stove pipe got cherry red at about 900 degrees F. When it was below 20 and the wind was blowing I could either not burn wood, or only burn small amounts because the stove would "take off" and I would be running fans on the stove and the interior pipe to try to keep it cooled down.

    The worst time I had all winter with the PE Summit was when the temps ouside were -8 and the wind started blowing at about 30 mph. And then I simply turned the air intake down, turned the blower fan on full, and the temps stabilized in about 5 minutes.

    The PE stove in an appropriate configuation is a dream to start up, and easy as sin to run smoothly. But never leave the front door open or you might have a serious problem. Other than that, there is really nothing more that you can do. You turn the stove back to "L" at night or when you arenot there, and you are good to go.
  7. NextEndeavor

    NextEndeavor Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Jan 16, 2011
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    242
    Loc:
    Southern Iowa
    I'm careful about not loading thing such that a chunk of wood could roll/fall into the glass. If using a butane lighter, never set it down near the hearth. Never use a liquid fuel to start a fire.
  8. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Honestly . . . I don't know if I would say I "worry" . . . but I am always thinking about the woodstove . . . and it doesn't matter if I am home or not home. In some ways, there may be less worry if no one is home and the stove is going unattended since if something does happen no one is at risk . . . one way of looking at it I suppose . . . although one could also argue that if you were home and things went bad you would wake up and be able to deal with the problem.
  9. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Hmmm . . . that sounds very familiar. ;)
  10. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    What scares me is something oddly goes wrong with my co2 alarm while i am sleeping.

    That's my biggest fears may sound odd just check your alarms often.
  11. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    But be aware that most folks check their CO and smoke alarms simply by pushing the test button . . . which tests the audible alarm and for power . . . but does not actually check the sensing unit. You can purchase "canned smoke" from some hardware stores and electric supply places that will test the actual sensing unit in the smoke alarm.
    tfdchief and corey21 like this.
  12. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Just realized . . . this may have sounded "harsh" . . . when in fact I understand what you're saying . . . that if you are home you know there is a good chance you can monitor things and deal with most situations vs. being away. Didn't want to come across as a DB.
  13. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    Gret tip i did not know that.
  14. maverick06

    maverick06 Minister of Fire

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    Sep 27, 2008
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    700
    Loc:
    media, pa
    I am always watching to see how the stove is going. Its a combination of looking for an efficient burn, looking to keep it from getting too hot, and little OCD. It might drive my wife a bit nuts, but it doesnt hurt to keep an eye on it! The stove has been wonderful, but it is always in my mind when its going, suspect thats what makes it safe for me.

    My wife does a very good job when running it too, certainly better than average. But she doesnt have the paranoia of continually checking on it as i do.

    gegtting new smoke alarms has been one of the most obvious and yet overlooked things i did. The old ones had long since expired.
  15. FanMan

    FanMan Feeling the Heat

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    CT stix & upstate NY
  16. Poult

    Poult Member

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    Loc:
    Northern NYS
    In my opinion, once you get into the swing of things burning wood you should be good. Where the problem is (with me, anyway) is when something unexpected happens, like a knock on the door with someone telling you your cows are out, for example, and your mind changes gear completely and you walk out of the house without checking the stove. You need to get it in your head that in all circumstances you will walk to the stove and check it when something happens that you didn't expect that will take you away from the stove.
  17. neumsky

    neumsky Minister of Fire

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  18. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Well, I've only been burning for 4 days now (right), and only in the morning, but I've already identified a few potential areas to watch for. One is that it is very easy to go off and do something (like take a shower) after initially lighting the fire with the damper full open. My operating manual suggests waiting about 20 minutes on full before turning the damper down which leaves plenty of time to get distracted with making coffee, breakfast, whatever. At first, I followed somebody's advise and opened the door for little while after lighting, but I won't do that anymore at all. I have a stove top thermometer, but I'm going to look for one that has a settable alarm. That should help during the night as well. I have a Polder electronic meat thermometer but it only goes up to 392 F.
  19. fishingpol

    fishingpol Minister of Fire

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    No that's fine Jake. Maybe "worry" should have been "in the back of my mind". I have examples why I think this. When I was a kid, we had an plug-in timer for a lamp short out and catch fire in our living room. It was put out quickly with a fire extinguisher. Scary nonetheless being a kid. The other was a few years ago, my neighbors steam boiler water auto-fill failed and the unit overheated until it was cherry red in places. They heard the smoke alarms and called 911 and everything turned out fine. I guess for me it is just a better chance to respond and call for help if you are home.
  20. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Good . . . sometimes I type and realize afterwards that I may have come across wrong . . . by the way, very manly looking woodbox! ;)
    fishingpol likes this.
  21. osagebow

    osagebow Minister of Fire

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    Testing fire alarms by sneaking up while the wife cooks in our tiny kitchen has been a running joke for years. (She often forgets to put the exhaust fan on) Helps hone the reflexes, too!
  22. Dakotas Dad

    Dakotas Dad Minister of Fire

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    Just like smoke detectors.. we have more than 1..
  23. btuser

    btuser Minister of Fire

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    Don't vacuum up ash with your vacuum cleaner.
  24. rideau

    rideau Minister of Fire

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    Anybody else ever had all the fire alarms in their house go off at once and had ALL the children sleep right through them, while you are running around dying from the sound, trying to figure out what the heck is going on?
  25. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    KUDO'S to FF jake! what an amazingly great post!

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