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  1. rudysmallfry

    rudysmallfry Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 29, 2005
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    Loc:
    Milford, CT
    I'm pretty sure I know the answer to this, but is a floor vent an absolute no-no? I had originally wanted to put my stove on the main floor, but there was nowhere to put it. Then it was going to go in the basement corner near the stairwell, but I couldn't put it in the corner due to some outside obstructions. Now it's downstairs in the room directly underneath me burning away at 400 degrees while I'm up here with the oil heat still running. Some of the heat is making it up the stairs since I have an extra wide staircase, but not much. I had the corner basement stove setup as a kid in the same style house and the heat rushed up the stairs. We had windows open sometimes due to the heat.

    I've been told that putting a vent in the floor creates the potential for fire to jump floors quickly and therefore shouldn't be there, but it would really do the trick in the this case. The other thing I could do is cut a few pass throughs in the staircase wall. That way the heat would not have to go around a corner to get up the stairs. Any suggestions?

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  2. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Your right to say that putting in vents in the floor is a no-no as per fire safty. I did it anyway in my house. Stove on first floor ( main floor ) 3 bedrooms & 1 den up stairs . I put two 4X12 units in the floor. It does help but still most of the heat goes up at the top of the stairs and the cold comes down at the steps of the stairs. A no-no ? Yes . I didi it but that is "ME" You will have to make your own decision with your own house. PS I myself would NOT put in any vents right above the stove. I have mine 20' away.
  3. Rick

    Rick Member

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    Cutting a vent hole in the floor really is no different than leaving the basement door open, actually the open door is worse (larger volume). For real fire protection from a basement fire, you would need to have your basement ceiling sheet-rocked (which mine isn't and most aren't) with the stairs totally closed off and a fire rated door at the bottom (maybe even up top?). At my last house I cut a hole directly above the stove, it worked great. But, like Spike said, the decision is up to you.

    Rick
  4. rudysmallfry

    rudysmallfry Feeling the Heat

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    Good point about the door. It does seem silly that they frown upon a vent in the floor, but you can let the heat coming screaming up a staircase. I'll try adding one vent just to take the edge off.
  5. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    Ah , PLEASE LET ME ADD TO MY FIRST POST ON THIS TOPIC. The vents i cut in the floor ( again , 20' away from the stove ) are the burn away vents . There is a spring with a clip that when it gets so hot it it melts and the spring shuts the damper on the vent . I read ELKS post/thread and that reminded me that i needed to add that bit of info. HERE IS THE SAFTY POST , PLEASE READ> http://www.hearth.com/econtent/index.php/forums/viewthread/349/
  6. Rick

    Rick Member

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    Wow, I feel a bit foolish. I'm a career firefighter and I've never even heard of self-closing vents. They make sense. Sounds like the way to go.

    Rick
  7. crow

    crow New Member

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Ohio
    I am curious about "self closing vents" .
    Are they readily available? If so, where? I am installing a new wood-stove next week. There was previously a wood-stove in this house and the previous owner installed a floor vent directly above the stove . This vents heated air from the downstairs living room directly to the bed room upstairs . Great for warmth...lousy from a safety standpoint.
    Any suggestions?
    Thanks.
  8. Roospike

    Roospike New Member

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    I got mine from the local heat and A/C supply store . It was ELK i think that has posted about them in the first place and is where i got the ideal .
  9. crow

    crow New Member

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    Thanks! I'll call around and see what I can find.
    I would feel much better replacing the existing vent w/ one that was more safe. Ofcoarse , smoke rises quickly...and you wonder if you would be overcome by smoke inhalation before the vent got hot enough to close itself....
  10. rudysmallfry

    rudysmallfry Feeling the Heat

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    Glad I asked the question. I had no idea there was such a thing as a burn away vent. I'd feel much better about doing something I wasn't supposed to do if I were doing it safer. My nearest vent would be about 15' from the stove. I am still debating whether I should put them in the floor or on the wall to the staircase. (the latter would be much easier to put back to solid wall if I ever decide to sell and need to get the house up to code). If that wall was not there, the heat would come screaming up the stairwell. The wall is about 17' from the stove. Logic tells me that some of those self closing vents in the wall would be a tad safer than putting them in the floor. The heat seems to go toward the direction of that wall, and I think it would do the trick. I'd just have to frame up a couple of 4x12 holes so the heat passes through and not up. Any yey or ney on that idea?
  11. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    What about putting a couple, framed and trimmed, but glassless "windows" in the stairway wall? I've seen these done before and they can look quite attractive and can improve lighting in the stairway. With proper layout and matching trim, they can look quite intentional. When you sell the house, this is much less likely to raise an inspector's eyebrows and pencil.
  12. Willhound

    Willhound Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Northern Ontario, Canada
    From what I can see in the Ontario building code, heat activating self closing vent flaps are also required between floors of a building, particularly for commercial buildings or multi use structures to inhibit flame advance into adjacent floors or neighbouring buildings to limit damage. There is no mention of them being used to inhibit smoke damage however. I would be concerned that by the time the heat of a fire or flame activated the flap, the damage has been done since I understand that the vast majority of fire victims succumb to smoke inhalation.

    On the other hand, an open stairwell will likely make a much better smoke "chimney" than a between floor vent.

    There ain't no replacement for the piece of mind that smoke detectors provide. Lot's of em, on every floor. Pain in the "you know where" when they accidentaly go off when your unit back puffs when you are filling it, but that's why you get the kind with a cancel button. I'd rather hit the cancel button, than get annoyed and take the batteries out. Last three fire fatalities in our area...there were smoke detectors present (required by law here, and surprise inspections carried out by fire dept.), but batteries had been removed, presumabley because the owner got annoyed when their toast burnt or some other equally ridiculous reason.

    Willhound.
  13. rudysmallfry

    rudysmallfry Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Milford, CT
    I thought about just cutting out some ordinary pass throughs in the wall, but sort of like the closeable vent idea. That way if I do have a fire, (outside my stove) I can just shut the vents and door to the stairway to attempt to keep it contained.

    On the subject of safety, I am interested in installing a sprinkler system in the room where the stove is. Since it's in my basement, I feel that would buy me some valuable time if there was ever a problem. Any idea what a small system might run? There's a laundry room next to the wood stove area, so there's plumming nearby.

    I do have smoke detectors all over the place. I was pleased to find that even my cheap ones sounded when I was building my first fire with newspaper and kindling and nearly smoked myself out of the room. I've read that the cheap ones usually fail to go off with just a smoldering fire. Mine seem to work. I also have 5 extinguishers around the house. As much as I love fire, I have tremendous respect for what it can do if it gets out of control. The more I can do to be safe, the better.
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