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Rate my quick reference fireplace insert operating/safety guide for a relative

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by BillLion, Jan 18, 2014.

  1. BillLion

    BillLion Feeling the Heat

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    Sep 4, 2013
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    Loc:
    Greater Hartford, CT
    My wife and I are leaving town for a few days soon and leaving the kids with the grandparents. Grandpa is fine at starting fires and is generally attentive and responsible, but has little fireplace insert experience. I have explained some things to him, but I've also typed up some operating/safety instructions for his use and my piece of mind. Anything you'd add or change to help someone get by for a few days?:

    General fireplace insert Safety Tips:

    · Always be sure the door is completely sealed before leaving the fireplace unattended (turned all the way to the left)

    · Be sure the airflow is max before opening the fire door otherwise harmful gases and particulates can enter the room (max airflow is lever pushed all the way in)

    · Never open the door with the fan on

    · Keep combustibles like kindling, paper, wood, etc. a safe distance from fireplace especially at night or when unattended (nothing should remain on tile unattended)

    Restarting a fire from hot coals:

    1. Push the airflow to max (lever all the way in)

    2. Turn off the fan

    3. Use the fire shovel to rake coals from the back of the stove to the front

    4. Put a log in the back and then load the rest of the stove

    5. Shut the door & Turn on fan

    6. Once the wood is fully engulfed in flame and the fan is running, decrease the airflow by pulling the lever out about 20%

    7. Every 5 to 10 minutes after this pull the lever out 20% more until it is 80-90% of minimum airflow (lever pulled out)

    8. Enjoy the fire until it is time to reload

    Starting a fire from scratch or minimal coals:

    1. Turn off the fan

    2. Use the fire shovel to rake coals from the back of the stove to the front

    3. Ball up a bunch of newspaper pieces and place them on the bottom

    4. Put 1-2 pieces of fatwood on the bottom as well as some kindling

    5. Load the stove with smaller to medium logs (save bigger pieces for reloads)

    6. Shut the door & Turn on fan

    7. Once the wood is fully engulfed in flame and the fan is running, decrease the airflow by pulling the lever out about 20%

    8. Every 5 to 10 minutes after this pull the lever out 20% more until it is 80-90% of minimum airflow (lever pulled out)

    9. Enjoy the fire until it is time to reload


    General Fireplace Insert Tips:

    · Using proper burning techniques minimizes pollution, reduces creosote buildup in fireplace (which causes fire) & conserves wood supply

    · The goal is to get the secondary burners roaring! (If airflow is low and wood is sputtering try increasing airflow as needed)

    · In addition to great heat you know you’re burning well by going outside and examining your chimney. Dark to black smoke is very bad, and clear is very good! White smoke is acceptable in the startup phase of a fire

    · Safety always comes first!

    PS: Thanks to everyone I've learned many of these tips from!

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  2. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    That seems like a lot for anyone to absorb all at once. Is the insert your house's only source of heat? If this visit is only for a few days and there's an alternate heat source, I'd let them rely on the furnace primarily, and only use the insert for ambiance. To that end, I'd give really simple instructions like...

  3. Jon1270

    Jon1270 Minister of Fire

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    Oh, and the other thing I'd do is time things so that it's time to reload the stove right around the time that the grandparents arrive, so you can coach Grandpa through the reloading and initial air adjustments while you're still there.
  4. BillLion

    BillLion Feeling the Heat

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    Loc:
    Greater Hartford, CT
    No, we also have oil. Definitely a good idea, I've offered to just use that and he's said no. Thanks for the streamlined suggestions, I guess the list might be a much for people new to it!

    Excellent idea. He's seen me do it a few times, but repetition is the best teacher. Repetition is the best teacher.
  5. Firedancer

    Firedancer New Member

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    New Jersey
    I'm sorry...why should we turn off blower fan? Only asking because I don't. ==c

    Thanks....
  6. Hills Hoard

    Hills Hoard Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Great list, and a great idea for someone new to burning....

    Trying to think of someone of the best things I learned when I first started out and I would stress the importance of only burning seasoned wood...but my biggest safety tip would be to think about placement when loading up the insert. eg. You don't want to load wood in such a way that it might fall out when re loading, or fall onto the door meaning you can't open the door.

    Another habit I have gotten into is when I open the door to re load, I hold it open slightly for a few seconds to let the air being sucked in to clear any ash and coals that might of fallen or formed around the door.....60% of the time, it works every time ;)
  7. Beer Belly

    Beer Belly Minister of Fire

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    " Keep combustibles like kindling, paper, wood, etc. a safe distance from fireplace especially at night or when unattended (nothing should remain on tile unattended)"
    This is one that after 7 years I cannot get my Wife to do.....next to the Insert, and between the Insert and the poker (which she always uses), I always find newspaper, matches, and kindling when I come home from work:mad:
  8. Beer Belly

    Beer Belly Minister of Fire

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    If I leave my house to anyone...they burn oil
  9. lml999

    lml999 Member

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    Metrowest Boston
    +1 on that. A couple of gallons of oil burned is cheap insurance and peace of mind.
  10. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    +2 . . . as stated . . . cheap insurance.
  11. BillLion

    BillLion Feeling the Heat

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    Funny you should mention it; but that's exactly what happened. We're paying the vigorish on oil until we get back.
    Beer Belly likes this.
  12. Firedancer

    Firedancer New Member

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    I hear that-electric for me...I'm afraid to let anyone touch our insert. So much more than just feeding it wood.
  13. Beer Belly

    Beer Belly Minister of Fire

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    If anybody is staying in our house while we are gone, it's to dog sit our pup, and I hate to have something happen to him.....the house, I don't care, the pup is a different story.....I always say, if you see it burnin', get the pup out first....second, pull the car in the garage....third, call 911 once the flames break thru the roof

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