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Possible Wiki Item - What To Do With A Runaway Stove

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by BrotherBart, Oct 24, 2006.

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  1. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Nokoni's recent experience with a stove getting a bit unruly raised the thought that some discussion here, and possibly a Wiki item, would be in order. The subject being, what to do if you have a stove start to runaway on you. It is a real possibility with every stove on the planet and with the secondary burn babies there is no "just cut off the air completely".

    Let the cussin and discussin begin!

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  2. webbie

    webbie Seasoned Moderator Staff Member

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    Somebody gots to write and post it - take the posts, and distill 'em and get something basic......

    then post it in wiki...anyone can post.

    We have to get some regular wikians here or the thing will be of little use. I just put the first 50+ entries in to show how it is done.
  3. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Understand. I want to get the post responses so there is something to put in the still. If enough consistency in handling methods show up then I will have something to work with besides just "Dial 911 and the Holiday Inn".
  4. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    I guess if mine got bad enough I could pull the clean-out plug and stuff a piece of Kevlar blanket in there.

    The place I work at manufacturers Kevlar, Nomex etc. so I have a few blankets of both for plumbing jobs etc.

    If I remember correctly there is a product for this, open the door and throw it in..............?
  5. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    There used to be. Chimfex. It was for putting out chimney fires. Their factory burned down. No kidding. And they decided not to rebuild or make the stuff anymore.
  6. daninohio

    daninohio New Member

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    If my insert was burning "out of control" I'd close the damper all the way, make sure the blower fan was on high to help dissipate the heat as much as possible and have the fire extinguisher at the ready in case that wasn't enough. After that I guess I'd be running buckets of water from the sink/hose and calling the fire department. Oh, and I'm presuming the family was already outside or ready to leave on a moment's notice.

    I guess you could pull out burning logs but if it were that out of control I think I'd feel safer keeping it contained inside of the metal box!
  7. Marty

    Marty Feeling the Heat

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    That's why I built the ejector seat into my hearthpad.
  8. fbelec

    fbelec Minister of Fire

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    if my stove was that hot that i was worrying about a problem that last thing i would do would be throwing water on or in it for fear of it coming back at me with pieces

    i guess if you close down the air to a secondary burn type stove it gets even hotter due to more secondary gasses to burn.

    i would think the stove companys could install a emergency shut down valve or some sort of shut down for the secondary air

    when i had a chimney fire the fire dept came in with a chemical extinguisher. i would think that might be the way to go. if the stove had a small load of wood and it was getting hot due to secondary combustion and only if the stove did not have a full load of wood i would open the loading door all the way and the secondary flame might die down. but that would only be something to try. if the secondary flame died out then keeping the door open would cool the stove and chimney down.
    just my experience with my stove.
  9. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    Coffee can full of baking soda?
    Open it up and throw it in.
  10. fastrac

    fastrac Member

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    You know this would be exstreemley dangerous.

    If you have an air tight stove, and you on its secondary burn (just starveing it for air ) the last thisng you should do is open the door, Those flames would be leaping wright out at you


    My suggestion would be to let it settle in and learn from the mistake.

    Whats the best thing to do in a chimney fire ?

    RUN!
  11. babalu87

    babalu87 New Member

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    Flames are going up the chimney, the draft of the chimney is alot stronger than the one that occurs when you open the door on a stove.

    Ever open your stove when it is full of flame?
  12. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I would say, don't panic.

    If everything's as it should be, then you got no worries. If not, odds are you'll still be OK.

    Panic, and you're going to try really stupid and dangerous things like trying to pull the wood out of the firebox.

    Been there; done that.
  13. AKFireMan

    AKFireMan New Member

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    I go to around 10-15 Chimney fires every year. Most of the problems are due to poor or imporper installation, Chimney gets to hot and catches surrounding materilal on fire. A couple of things a person can do is to keep your chimney cleaned on a regular basis, couple of times a year depending on type of wood and burning habits. Keep combustible materials away from your stove (sounds silly but you would be amazed) normally around 18" or so. Keep a 5 lb dry chemical extinguisher handy for worst case scenerios, don't use water (cold water...hot metal = disaster). Somtimes things happen and the stove can run away but if your chimney is cresote free there is nothing to burn and if installed properly clearances should disipate enough heat prevent problems, but sure to have it inspected after the event.

    If all else fails.....grab everone in the house, call 911 and your insurance guy.

    Ron
  14. laynes69

    laynes69 Minister of Fire

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    I've been close a few times due to the thermostat in the door malfunctioning. The flue was cherry red. Due to having a clean chimney and flue it has saved my a$$. I just shut all the dampers and starve the stove for air and wait for it to calm down. My dad has had 2 chimney fires here 1 was his fault trying to start the draft on a chimney that was plugged with bees and creasote. He balled up newspaper and stuffed them in the cleanout and lit them. DUH Its scary and you learn how to do the proper maintence to dodge those types of situations. We have an extingusher in the basement right by the stove in case.
  15. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    The best way to control runaway overburns is to do mantiance to your stove replace gaskets when they need to be

    Maybe another wiki should be done labled changing the dymanics of your current stove and venting system
    In Dave and BB case they have to relearn how to opperate their current setups after the liner install.
    Also when rebuilding and gasketing a stove that old leaky stove is going to react different

    Maybe the best way to control an over burn is to learn your stove know wood species and there characteristics. Know how they react to being burnt
    and reconise moisture content. In other words know how to avoid the situations in the first place
  16. jabush

    jabush Feeling the Heat

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    Hasn't happened to me (yet). My air controls give me pretty good control over the fire. I'm confident I could reduce my firebox to a smolder by closing the inlets completely. Although...a chimney fire is another story. I keep an extinguisher close to the stove just in case. I figure open the door, give it a shot and the chimney fire should go out. I imagine the hard part would be keeping cool while all this is going on...it's easy for me to sit here an "type" about how I would handle it.
  17. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Yeah, one of the things the "airtights" let you do. Well, unless there is an air leak somewhere. With the new secondary burn stoves you can't cut off the secondary air. Ya just have to hope the engineer figured on the draft that you have as the max air draw.

    As to the "extinguisher close to the stove just in case". Get that thing over by an exit door. I addressed that issue last season when somebody posted a pic with the extinguisher close to the stove. Pressurized gas and heat don't mix. It makes a powder filled grenade out of that lil red sucker.
  18. jabush

    jabush Feeling the Heat

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    "Yeah, one of the things the “airtights” let you do. Well, unless there is an air leak somewhere. With the new secondary burn stoves you can’t cut off the secondary air. Ya just have to hope the engineer figured on the draft that you have as the max air draw."

    Ahhh...just one more reason to hang on to my "state of the art" 1977 woodstove!!!



    "As to the “extinguisher close to the stove just in case”. Get that thing over by an exit door."

    It actually sits on the other side of the (half) wall that creates the "corner" the stove is in. It's not exposed to any direct heat from the heater.

    Until you brought it up, I didn't think about how to "shut down" a runaway fire on a modern stove. Good thread!!
  19. fastrac

    fastrac Member

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    I wont argue the point here

    But

    Yes I have opened the door.

    Get an air tight over fired while in bypass, starving for air.

    Open the door

    The flames are coming out at you because of the open supply of oxygen.

    If you have an air tight and you crack the door and the flames are not changing or coming towards the door when you open it, you might have to tighten the door or replace gaskets.

    I would be real concerned with a unit in a runways state and some one is opening the door, or trying to extinguish the flame with a fire extinguisher, Seams like you would be chasing all of the ash,cinders out of the steel containment of the stove into the flammable home environment.

    I just dont understand the principle here

    If the unit is installed correct why do anything except let it settle down and add less fuel next time

    Could some one explain to me what I am missing here, are we talking about old stoves?
  20. propguy

    propguy New Member

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    My new Defiant got a little wild today with some real dry wood.It jumped up to 650-700 and I had a hard time bringing it down. I usually run it around 500 ..................but the stove is new to me and is teaching me things daily.
  21. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    And will continue too. Every loading of wood and every days outside temps make it different.

    Thanks for the post. What would you have done it it headed for eight or nine hundred?
  22. propguy

    propguy New Member

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    Well as I have done with my old Vigilant "once" put on the "real" heavy gloves prop open front door and reach in and grab the problem.......[Disclaimer!!!!!!] That stove 1977' there was no way to shut it down so thats what I did BTW The gloves are Almost elbow length long and EXtremly well suited for that job .............fun NO!!! but it took my home and family out of danger with minimal smoke in the house and a huge adrinaline rush it was over in a few minutes.

    I could live the rest of my life without that happening again and be just fine.

    As far as the new Defiant first I would have tried to shut it down and if that did not work and it kept climbing "Glove up" I keepem right there next to the fire extinguisher [sp] also it is literally 5 steps to the front door and to a rock garden [ya know where ya grow rocks]................... I think the new stove should be able to shut it down though. PG
  23. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    want to slow a run away stove down without ruining it? For get the powder extinguisher that is for dire straights use. and what a mess.


    Im suprised no one mentioned it? You have to starve the fire cut its air source A simple bucket of sand, like a beach pail, will do the trick shovel that in and smother the fire

    Want to kill a fire Put in a very moist round, the ones most wood men sell as seasoned, put in a couple that will calm things down.

    do not use a liquid extinguisher on that stove or water
  24. elkimmeg

    elkimmeg Guest

    650 700 is a good temp to fire a cat off or start secondary burn In mid winter I want 600 +- degrees when I want heat

    800 + is the area you want to stay out of as much as possible
  25. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    I had the old 602 heading to 900 once or twice. Usually the smell of a hot stove is the first sign. It ended up the cause was some resiny fir and I left the air damper too widely open, then got distracted. The stove gradually cooled down fine and was not the worse for wear.

    I think the number one thing to do is stay calm and cool. Figure out why the stove is running hot. Is it the wood, ash bin door open, too much air, new defect (crack)? Then figure out a strategy to mitigate the problem. You don't want to react so rashly as to make the problem worse by juggling hot logs in your living room and maybe dropping them on the carpet. Assuming that the stove isn't climbing in temp by 100 degrees a minute, taking a moment to think through the situation can mean much safer conclusion.
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