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I believe I had a chimney fire.

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by kipp438, Feb 9, 2013.

  1. kipp438

    kipp438 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2012
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    Ok brief background so you don't have to read my old threads... New to woodburning but have done extensive research. Installed a Drolet Escape 1800, and I installed a Selkirk Supervent chimney. Im certain it is installed correctly. Stove installed in basement level, chimney runs mostly straight (2 15-degree elbows used to get around joist) up through other living level, then attic, then out.

    After about a month of burning, I did a chimney sweep, cleaned it really well top to bottom and only had a handful or two of creosote dust, so It seemed like it was burning really clean. Its been about another month and I have been thinking it is time to clean the chimney again to be on the safe side. I have been burning more in the last month than I did the first month, as I have been getting more comfortable sleeping and/or leaving the house during burns. Same wood being used, moisture meter shows it all under 20%.

    3 days ago I started a fire and as usual left the air wide open. I was taking care of my sick kid upstairs and left the fire going wide open longer than usual. I heard just a slight "metal expanding" type noise coming from the chimney area. I went back to the fire to find it burning quite hot, slightly past 700 degrees stove top temp, so Im sure flue temp was really high. I turned the air all the way off, waited about 10-15 mins for the fire to die down. I have access to the chimney on the main level, so in the mean time, I listened intently, ear about an inch from pipe, for sounds of fire or anything odd. There was no noise. The temp on the outside of the chimney was normal, to where I could touch it for several seconds, before it gets a bit uncomfortable to hold my hand on it. Fire started to die down and I dialed it in for a nice burn, no problems...or so I thought. I have had a fire or two since then with no issues. I hadn't been out side in the daylight much since the really hot fire, but yesterday evening my wife pointed out she noticed many bits of soot or creosote spread over the snow in the front and back of my house she noticed earlier in the day.

    I assume that must be a sign of a chimney fire? What else could it be? I have not burned since last eve and assume I at LEAST need to sweep it before any burns, but now does it need to be inspected first? Any thoughts, advice, scoldings?

    Thanks!

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  2. bad69bird

    bad69bird Member

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    I believe many mistake chimney fires for nothing at all, NOt saying it is good to run your stove that hot with the air wide open but a loud roar does not nesscarly mean your chimney caught fire, Just that your moving alot of heat and air very quickly which may have knocked some of the creosote loose
  3. kipp438

    kipp438 New Member

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    Aug 30, 2012
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    Thanks for the quick reply! Yeah, It wasnt even a roar, just one or two little metal pings that was like it saying "hey dummy go check your fire". I just dont know where all the flakes of what I assumed were creosote or ash or whatever came from around the house in the snow. Some is brownish, some is black, but was all ash-like, if i tried to pick it up it is like powder. I am just assuming it came during the hot fire, could have been a different time I suppose but I havent noticed any issues.
  4. kipp438

    kipp438 New Member

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    Thinking about it more, before I did my first chimney sweep, I looked up the chimney, I saw what looked almost like flakes of greyish brown fine paper lining some of the smoke pipe and chimney, I suppose its possible it blew that out of there??? I guess I'm not sure. What I see in the snow is quite similar.
  5. chvymn99

    chvymn99 Minister of Fire

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    Its possible a good up draft could have caused the deposit. Especially if it was loose and just dangling on the inside of the pipe.
  6. 3fordasho

    3fordasho Feeling the Heat

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    South Central Minnesota
    The way the bypass is set up on my stove (Woodstock Fireview) the flames on start up or reload (bypass open) can shoot right up the connector pipe and get really hot really fast if your not paying attention. I got distracted one time on a reload and by the time I got back to the stove my 1000F flue thermometer was pegged, stove top temp was fine but the pipe was really hot, smoking and making noises I'd never heard before. I shut down the air all the way and things came back but that pipe was making crackling noised that I'm sure was a bit of creosote burning off inside the pipe. Now this was just a few minutes of distraction- can't imagine what would have happened if I'd forgot about the stove all together. Inspections of the pipes after have revealed nothing unusual, pipe looks normal. Your attention must be on the stove during air wide open or bypass open events. One more thing I've noticed, no matter what there will be build up in the elbows if you have them in your set up.
    OldLumberKid likes this.
  7. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    It sounds more to me like you just had a hot fire going. Also sounds like you had some loose stuff and with a good draft it blew out the soot .
  8. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    It sounds to me that you simply had some deposit pulled out by the draft. That happens to me often since my stove has a bypass. The flames will roar and if I forget it (for 4 minutes or so) I can find small deposits in the snow.

    Always good to double check though

    Andrew
  9. kipp438

    kipp438 New Member

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    Thanks everyone!
  10. bag of hammers

    bag of hammers Minister of Fire

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    Had this exact thing happen a couple weekends ago. Outside temps were dipping down to -30 and when I got to my place I got the stove Ilit and really let it crank for a couple minutes. Flue temps as high as I like to see them and it got hot fast. Next morning i could see in the fresh white snow cover a dusting of black flaky ash. Nothing but heat waves on top. Stuff disintegrated when I touched it. Kinda reminded me of what happens if I throw some cardboard in the outside fire and the ash floats out. I thought this was very strange as I don't see this often, but the explanations here make sense now...
  11. katwillny

    katwillny Guest

    I bet that got your heart racing a tad higher than normal? its always when we get distracted that things happen.
  12. webby3650

    webby3650 Master of Fire

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    You are doing fine! If you had a flue fire you would have known it!!! It would sound like a train coming down the flue. If you are burning good wood and you have already cleaned the flue once, then there should be no worries.
  13. clemsonfor

    clemsonfor Minister of Fire

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    I agree you just probably pulled fluffy ash out of the chimney with the increase in the draft. My aunt has chimney fires all the time (burns plenty of greenish wood in a fireplace) and the stuff that gets thrown out is balls and hunks of creosote, you can pick them un and there brittle and hard, like the hunks of junk in the bottom of your grill.
  14. gandrimp

    gandrimp Member

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    Loc:
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    When you do have a chimney fire, it will be a sound you'll not soon forget.

    I had an outside wood furnace several years ago that burned out a couple of times a years, you could hear it in the house. It also left red ash everywhere, not black like I expected.

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