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Chimney fire or no? Could it have been just the junk on cap?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Bub381, Feb 28, 2012.

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  1. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    Can't reach the cap to clean it but usually do a monthly pipe clean and get about a small coffee can full of dry stuff.Well it's been 2 months.Loaded the stove and let it get to 500 and closed it up.It was roaring as a big fire does.Nothing out of the ordinary.Sounded like it was drafting good.A fire roar bur not loud.Went outside and the underside of the cap was all hot coals and quarter sized chunks 1/4" thick of coaling glowing pieces were falling out of cap.Glowing went out in about 7 or 8 min's.Cap was dirty as hell last cleaning but pipe was super clean.Checked in stove and maybe a dozen corn flake size pieces were under the flue.No open flames out side and stove stayed under 500.I put sand on fire and opened door.Cooled down in about 5 mins.Did i just burn chit off cap or chimney fire? Damp roof thank god.No fault of the stove but maybe i left it open too long.Damned dry small wood on a hot coal bed. Put magnets on 2ndary intake just to make sure.

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  2. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Do you monitor your flue temps?
  3. Burd

    Burd Feeling the Heat

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    How do you clean your chimney if you can't reach your cap?
    I would say yes that is a chimney fire. Any time you have glowing ambers thats not in your stove.
    If your pushing a brush up your pushing any creo up as well ( maybe Im wrong)
  4. milleo

    milleo Feeling the Heat

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    Burd, he sweeps from the bottom up and if he is brushing up all the loose stuff will fall down.
  5. Burd

    Burd Feeling the Heat

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    Your wright it should fall out. But what if the the creo is tar-ish your going to keep pushing it in to the cap. Now your starting a plug. The diametor of the pipe gets smaller at the top witch in return heats up faster creating the creo to igniite. When I clean my liner I allways look at the top. the last couple of feet of the liner is going to be the worst as it has lower temps at the top (creo) lower part in my opinion is all way cleaner as it hotter and burns that creo up..
  6. milleo

    milleo Feeling the Heat

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    Valid point Burd and yes some form of chimney fire with chunks of burning coal coming out, had to be scary....
  7. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    Cleaned chimney and it looked better than usual,about 1/8" to 1/4" maybe in pipe.Was cleanest down toward stove as you said.Cap had old creosote drooling from it about 1" long and looked melted it was so bad.The 1st and 2nd section of pipe by stove was clean as a whistle.I could tell there hadn't been any fire in pipe and nothing had fell into stove.I am burning older wood now and it's quite dry,almost too dry.I went up to roof and tapped on the cap.WOW! I bet i knocked 2 cupfuls of creosote off it.I do clean from bottom up and have never had sticky creosote in pipe so nothing gets piled up up there.I noticed the cap buildup a few months ago.Now i know how to get it off.It is always grayish black and grainy when i brush it.I can tell that the cap definately has buildup even when pipe is clean so for now on back to the once a month cleaning.I knew what to do in this case thanks to this board.Thanks all.Hope i didn't repeat myself too much. ;-P
  8. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    My pipe is about 10' above a 25 pitch roof so i can't get to the cap without taking it all apart.Also it's class A pipe from flu to cap and no i haven't bought a probe therm.
  9. Burd

    Burd Feeling the Heat

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    Im no expert but you should be good to go for a while our intill spring. Get that top part cleaned . Are you running that brush up to the cap. I think you should buy another section and make sure you get all the way up to the cage and give that brush a couple of spinns to insure its clean Just woundering what kind of temps are you getting on the stove our your stack. with out a temp gauge yourr
    burning blind and really in danger of a chiminey fire . In my apinion you got really lucky so please do two things Get a temp gauge and a longer extention for your brush. and burn safe. fire is no joke if its not in your box.
    Im hoping some one else willl chime in.
  10. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    Yep thats why I asked the question about monitoring flue temps, just another tool that helps keep things safer.
    Hank195 likes this.
  11. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    It is possible to have a fire just in the cap but it also can be very scary. Another good reason to clean the cap when you do the chimney.

    Bub, I'm not sure what you mean by stating that wood is almost too dry. Can you explain that one, because I've never seen wood too dry to burn? It is common for us to burn 6-8 year old wood here and it is not too dry. At present 99% of the wood we are burning was also dead when we cut it. Burns rather nicely.
  12. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    I have a stove top therm and burn around 300 otherwise it gets too hot in the house,also i have 1 more section of rod left and i use enough to bang the cap when cleaning.Just don't wanna knock it off.I'll spin it next time.About the wood too dry,i was joking,Just meant that it really takes off quick compared to my not so seasoned wood.I'll tell ya,next yr my wood will be seasoned.I have so many batches of wood from diiferent cuttiing times that it drives me nuts trying to figure burn times and how to set my primary.This year, i'll buy all 1 lot.That cap looked like somebody melted a milk jug on it.Hit it a few times and she cleaned up nice,as it should've being all aglow.Scarey!
  13. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Sounds like you have things under control Duane and next year will probably be a dream year for you. The wood does make a huge difference as you've already seen. Good luck.
  14. Burd

    Burd Feeling the Heat

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    I live in a small house so I tend to burn around 375 on mild days but at least once a month ill burn really hot like in the 600 700 area
    To help clean out the liner.our burn it off. On cold day shes burning in the 500s
    I do have a question why is the chimeny 10ft higher then your ridge
    Line. Too me that seems why to high
  15. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    Burning hot like that doesn't clean out the liner unless you start a chimney fire. Doing that simply shows you what temperature will or will not start a chimney fire with the accumulation that is in the chimney.

    pen
  16. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    Sorry not 10' past the peak.It comes up through the knee wall and then it protrudes through the roof about 10'.It is about 3' higher than the peak.The only thing is on this pitch i'm not standing on anything to put me up 10' lol I put the ladder up against the house and then tapped the cap from there.Took 4 lengths to reach it with the cleaning rods.Ya,now i know why you all say.SEASONED alot. :cheese:
  17. xman23

    xman23 Minister of Fire

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    Bub, The cap can get real gummy because it's not insulated. I had to lose the screen 10 years ago. If it get hot enough up there I'm sure you can light up a dirty cap. To clean mine I tie down ladders, bear hug the last section of chimney pipe, turn a bit and remove it. Then I can top down clean the chimney. The last section a the cap I clean on the ground. I can tell you my first 2 years of burning oak the cap was soaking wet with creosote. The wood was seasoned a year or 2. Now, for many years I am burning 3 or 4 year old seasoned oak the cap is dry and a little blacken ever year.
  18. Burd

    Burd Feeling the Heat

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    I'm sorry Ididnt mean to inply that I clean my liner that way. I always run a brush once a year
  19. burleymike

    burleymike Feeling the Heat

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    The creosote I get is more like soot, it is light, fluffy, coffee ground like in texture. The first time I cleaned my chimney I saved the soot and put it in a coffee can. I hit it with a propane torch to see how flammable it is. It did not burn very well as the propane flame kept blowing it around. What did ignite did not burn with a flame it would glow and float around. It was almost like charcoal dust burning. Perhaps it was this type of creosote that started burning from the high flue temps and it ignited the crusty creosote on the cap.
  20. maverick06

    maverick06 Minister of Fire

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    haha i have tried the same thing... twice... same result too.
  21. bormat70

    bormat70 Member

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    I just this morning had the same thing happen I think. I had the ash door open to ignite things while trying to restart the fire this a.m. I noticed sparks out the window... Oh %&$! The wind was blowing and sparks were flying off the chimney cap. Luckily it was raining. I think this has happened a couple times before. I shut the fire down, and it went away after a while. I guess I am getting flu temps too hot when heating up the stove. I will buy an IR thermometer today.

    Whenever I clean the chimney, it is pretty clean, maybe a little dust, but the cap will be caked up with flasky stuff pretty bad. If I didn't have that stuff all over the cap, I wouldn't be having this problem with sparks. Why is my cap getting so crusty? Is it simply because the chimney is cool at the top/condensation (only about 3-4' sticks out of the roof)? Are my fires too smokey? I usually only have a lot of smoke when relighting the fire. Once I close it down, I usually have little or no smoke.

    This crusty gunk on the cap is a real problem. There seems to be little margin for error in my setup. The wood I am using is very dry, at least 2 yrs old. Seems like my only recourse is to clean the cap every month. Should I get a cap that allows more airflow through it? Would this make a difference?

    There's a lot going on with my stove (yes it's a Dutchwest non-cat)... The top inside of the stove has become warped, and now the damper won't close tightly... I suppose this is because I overfired, but this was done to achieve a hot enough burn to get good secondary combustion. I stuck some gasket material in the top to seal it up a bit, and that has helped. I know I need to call manufacturer.
  22. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    I have no screen in my cap and it still gunked up and the stuff i get from my pipe is the dry grainy creosote as mentioned.I have never found anything sticky in my pipe.
  23. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    The last time I checked my cap just had the brown stuff that just brushes off, but I get my flue hot a lot.
  24. Bub381

    Bub381 Minister of Fire

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    I don't have hot fires hardly at all.
  25. oldspark

    oldspark Guest

    OK I can see that happening very easy then.
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