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Insert Owners - Be Careful of Blowing Embers

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Mike Wilson, Feb 8, 2006.

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  1. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    WOW. Had a shocker this evening. I run my Jotul 24/7 in the winter, with the blower on low, and once every week I shut it down completely, clean out most of the ashes, and vacuum all around the insert, fan, and blower outlets on top. I even use the little skinny vacuum nozzle to get into the vents, etc. Then I fire it up again for another week. During the week I clean up around the hearth, making sure there is no dirt, debris, etc.

    Well, today, after running for the past 3 days, I was sitting in front of the insert, and decided to kick the fan onto high to get a little more heat into the room (it was already 72, God was punishing me for being greedy). While I was sitting there, with the insert door completely closed, and (unfortunately), in plain view of the wife, a hot burning ember shot out from the air vent on the top of the insert, flew about 4 feet across the room, and landed on a sisal rug. Quick thinking (read: panic mode) caused me to grab the ember with my glove and throw it onto the hearth, with no damage to the rug, etc. Close call avoided. But what if this happened at 2 in the morning?

    So this got me thinking... where did the ember come from. I figure that the fan (when it was set to low) sucked up a little piece of wood or bark from the hearth, and it was blown around and onto the top of the insert, were it sat there, getting red hot. When I put the fan onto high, it blew out and into the room. Now, I always shut the fan off when I load the stove (helps keep smoke out of the room), and I always sweep up the debris after I load it... but this one got through.

    So, I am adding a "put fan on high while I watch it" time period to my cleaning routine, to hopefully clean out anything that is sitting in there waiting to burn my house down.

    -- Mike

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  2. Sundeep Arole

    Sundeep Arole New Member

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    Thanks for the great advice. I would have overlooked this, for sure.
  3. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    thaks for sharing that. Who would thunk? Bet your wife had daggers in her eyes. Great reaction time.
    you saved a lot of the you know honey talk. Taking all those grounders in Little League paid off
  4. Corie

    Corie Minister of Fire

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    Yeah I have to say that's quite a surprise. I would never have expected something like that to happen and as you said, it's a blessing that you were sitting there when it happened. Who knows what could have happened otherwise.
  5. the_guad

    the_guad New Member

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    That's wild. How long after you cleaned out the stove did that ember shoot out? I don't imagine that they could last very long inside the blower channel since they're being constantly bombarded with air and they should burn out. This is something that I'll have to watch out for too.
  6. wg_bent

    wg_bent Minister of Fire

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    My biggest surprise is that you didn't catch the ember in mid-air :ahhh: and in the same flying motion, place it back into the (closed) stove, before your wife noticed you even flintch.

    Very odd though.

    I generally run my blower on high, or on the high side, but after some of the discussion on blowers last week or so, I've been playing with keeping it on a lower setting. Often, I don't even adjust the blower when tossing a log on quick (no coal raking involved) I'll have to change that.
  7. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    It was 3 days after I did a complete clean out, however I clean around the stove daily also. And trust me, I almost did catch it mid-air... with my teeth. The little burning bugger shot right over my right shoulder, right next to my head! Makes me wonder why they don't have a screen over the vent exit. I suppose after a few homes burn down they'll all update their products. Any lawyers out there?

    -- Mike
  8. MountainStoveGuy

    MountainStoveGuy New Member

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    I think a screen over the blower ports would diffuse alot of the air, and would put a bit of backpressure on the unit, i dont think it would hurt anything. Im realy taking a guess at that.
  9. Sundeep Arole

    Sundeep Arole New Member

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    If it is still around in the ash can I had made an attempt to relate the cfm to the vent area given a particular power blower motor. The result was a small reduction in area could cause a large drop in CFM. That might just give you the answer you are looking for wrt putting a screen.
  10. kwburn

    kwburn New Member

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    similar story just happened to me today.
    my insert has air intakes below the doors and they do have screens built into them. i heard the burning wood pop and before my very eyes i saw an orange streak shoot through the air intake and go halfway across the room. while i admit i couldnt even find the ember it still reaffirmed my belief in better safe than sorry. on that stove i always put a trifold screen up in front of it at night or when we are not home. my wife thinks its being overcautious but after seeing that spark fly out i'll continue to do it.
  11. JAred

    JAred New Member

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    My insert manual says to turn the blower off when opening the door...
  12. Shane

    Shane Minister of Fire

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    Visited a house fire a couple months ago. Appears that the owners filled the pellet stove and some pellets landed in front of the convection chamber. Stove got hot enough ignited one of those suckers it blew out and started the basement on fire. I'll post some pictures of it. Pretty scary stuff.
  13. Czech

    Czech Minister of Fire

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    Jeez, Mike, you're killing me here! After weeks of sleeping in the basement to watch the newly installed pellet stove to make sure it's ok, installation of like 15 detectors, an escape ladder, and fire drills for the family, I was finally getting comfortable and confident (and semi-sobered up). Now I've got to worry about FREAKING FLYING BURNING EMBERS???? God have mercy! I just called the wife, told her to unplug the stove, spray it with the new extinguisher, and dump a couple of gallons of water down the combustion tubes! Deploy the ladder honey! Run! On a more serious note, this event concerns me, esp the story about the pellet stove. Man alive, now I've got to move back into the basement again (next to the beer refrig). So, is the moral just making sure all is clean on a constant basis (which I do daily)? I can't see anything but lint getting thru the blower cage, but even that must have some potential. I can see how a pellet may make it down a combustion tube by a bad fill job. Is there potential to screen the tube exits without restricting airflow too bad, or is this overkill? Me thinks the stove goes no higher than Med when not at home from now on.
  14. velvetfoot

    velvetfoot Minister of Fire

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    Sand Lake, NY
    Something similar happened to me this morning.
    I was adjusting a log that fell against the glass - totally not necessary of course.
    Some ash got onto the lip and I shoveled it into the stove.
    I'm not sure of the fan status during the whole event, but when I cranked up the fan again something blew out the air exit.
    I couldn't find an ember. I found other pieces of wood, etc, but it's hard to see against the background of the Persian rug, eek.
    There followed a smell of burning plastic and a ticking sound from the fan.
    It turned out the plastic impeller blades were burned on the inside (toward the motor) of one of the two fan rotors.
    There was a fair amount of dust there as well.
    The damage did not make the fan unusable.
    It's possible the dust aided burning, since the inside part of all the vanes were affected, but I'm not sure.
    The ticking probably was caused by some molten plastic impinging on the fan housing.
    I was able to "adjust" the fan housing to make the ticking go away.

    I resolve to:
    1-Turn off fan when opening door
    2-Be wary of any small embers on hearth that could get sucked in
    2-Vacuum fan area periodiocally, trying to get to inside fan impellers


    On a side note, the fan was only bolted down on 2 of the 4 studs provided.
    Maybe access in a little hard, but really not that bad.
    Laziness on someone's part, I believe.
    I don't know who mounts the motor, but I'm thinking it's the dealer.

    I've read about access problems with other inserts, but access on this model is very easy.
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