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I've heard of "coal bang" but Wood bang?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by tang, Dec 19, 2005.

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  1. tang

    tang New Member

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    Let me first say,I have a Harman tlc-2000 wood\coal stove. I had the strangest thing happen last night while loading with wood for the night.. I had a solid bed or coals going [all wood, not coal], and loaded it up with splits of oak for an overnight burn. I had the ash pan door open and wood air contols open to get the fire cranking before closing the dampers down. The coals were not igniting the wood, it was strange, it just kept smoking; about a minute of this and then a loud WOOSH!! it ignites all at once. Scared the crap out of me..a huge puff of ash shot out the ash door[which was open].
    I've heard of this happending with coal, when all the coal gases ignite all at once; Has anyone experieced this with wood? I never have, it was very strange..

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  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Sure. Why do you think I don't have any eyebrows? That's one more reason to screw your stovepipe sections together.

    An air-starved fire produces wood gas that hangs around until it gets enough oxygen to ignite. Usually that's when you have clogged grates and you open the door. The gas rushes out, the air rushes in and where they meet, wooooossssshhhhhh--usually right in your face. Another way of looking at it is that it's the miracle of wood gasification without the benefit of containment.

    If you clean out the grates before opening the fuel loading door, it won't happen. If that's not possible, try just cracking the fuel loading door for awhile. Then once you're in there, clean the grates.
  3. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    OH, yes, this is quite normal.....some stoves even excel at it, but it is mostly operator error. It has been the cause of lawsuits, etc. but I don't know what came of them.

    Word of warning...don't put your face near the door as you open it so you can "peek" inside.

    This is known as a "wood gas explosion", and is as Eric says the ignition of the combustibles due to the air that you provide when you open the door...or, in some other way. It is somewhat related to the "puff puff" syndrome, where a stove puffs and puffs like a train as it searches for air, gets it, and then searches again!

    In general, proper care and operation will reduce this to a minimum.
  4. Mike Wilson

    Mike Wilson New Member

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    Oh man, did I just get coffee through the nose on that one! :) ROTFLMFAO! Nice... very nice!

    Anyways... Step 1, open air intake... wait. Step 2, Crack door open... wait. Step 3, Open door.

    Like Eric inferred... when you have a smolderer... and you introduce all that air at once, you get a nice rush. Have your wife do it and you can save a few bucks on her having her eyebrows tweezed.

    -- Mike
  5. BS-N

    BS-N New Member

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    If I happen to have the thing really drafting with a new load, I always lift the top load door every 5-10 min or so until it ignites. I don't know that I would have expected it with the wood either.
  6. vgrund

    vgrund Feeling the Heat

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  7. tang

    tang New Member

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    interesting. thanks for all the replies..I've just never had this happen with a wood stove..it was actually funny..it scared the sh*t out of my dog who was sleeping in front of the stove...
  8. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    same thing happened to me last year. i kneel down at my stove to load it. so i got down and thru in some cut offs from the hard wood floor guy nice dry oak. anyway i thru in too many pieces, it was smoking so i went to throw in a match and when i opened the door whoosh right in the face.
    no burns just adrenalin
  9. dork

    dork New Member

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    I had a TLC-2000 for 3 years. Overall, good stove.

    But we would get flashbacks often with anthrite. I also would burn some shelled corn in the TLC, and that would flashback too.

    Trial and error. I could tell when a flashback was coming. Too much dense smoke in the firebox, then "WHAMM".

    Worst thing was all the coal soot that got all over the house each time we had a flashback. No fun. Wife HATED it when I flashed the stove.

    Ussually my mistake. Getting impatient and loading in too much coal or corn on a refueling.

    DK
    orintheseaboveinstances,thewifewouldcallmed-or-k
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