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RE: The importance of paying heed to those clearances and combustibles

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by firefighterjake, Nov 12, 2012.

  1. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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  2. pen

    pen There are some who call me...mod. Staff Member

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    The article gave me full body shivers. I can't imagine.

    That said, had an experience myself that made me thankful for having proper protection tonight.

    Usually when I load the stove, the door doesn't get opened back up until it's time to reload. However, tonight I threw in some BIG but akward nasties on a good coal bed. Since they were akward, they wound up a bit further apart than I wanted and I decided a few mins ago to open the door and adjust them. Well, apparently they were more burnt and less solid than I thought, and as I went to slide the one with the shovel had a shower of coals (some 1/2 to 2/3rds the size of a baseball) spill from the stove and all over the floor.

    In my case, it's a concrete floor. If it were on a combustible floor, it would have taken every bit of 16 inches in front of the stove to catch them. Additionally, having welding gloves and the ash shovel close at hand made cleanup quick and efficient.

    Being prepared matters.

    Making this a sticky while things are busy on here as it's easy to get complacent sometimes.

    Thanks Jake.

    pen
    corey21 and save$ like this.
  3. BIGDADDY

    BIGDADDY Feeling the Heat

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    Sad news but a solem reminder of what we have in that stove, fire.
    firebroad likes this.
  4. Tramontana

    Tramontana Burning Hunk

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    As Pen points out, being prepared matters.

    My Oslo sits on a 4" thick stone slab that exceeds Jotuls clearance minimums on all four sides. The back wall is the original masonry fireplace wall. I am kicking myself now, that during my remodel I didn't think to install a 5/8" type X gypsum ceiling and wall assemblies on the rest of the room, as it would have only added nominal cost.

    At the entry to the "library" where our stove is, I have wall mounted a mag light and a 4A-60 BC rated dry chem extinguisher, and directly adjacent have a Chimfex in it's original packaging (where the instructions are printed).

    I've installed 6 hardwired CO/smoke detectors throughout the house and a separate CO/gas detector in the laundry/furnace room. There are also 4 smaller extinguishers throughout the house including a BC only rated kitchen extinguisher.

    I have no delusions that the home is safe, but I have taken what measures I feel are prudent.

    My next tasks are likely to be installing rate of rise, high temp detectors in the attic and garage, and possibly adding a purple K extinguisher somewhere.

    What else should be done Jake?
  5. Tramontana

    Tramontana Burning Hunk

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    ...oh I have to add, even my wife thinks I'm paranoid. :)

    But I did insist that she read the instructions for both the stove and the Chimfex.
  6. Dakotas Dad

    Dakotas Dad Minister of Fire

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    Careful and safe is important. Only you.. or your wife apparently, can decide if your safety mindset has deteriorated to an unhealthy point... ;)

    We have c0 detectors on both floors, I just replaced all my smoke detectors a couple years ago because they had been installed when the house was built in '96. We have a fire extinguisher and flashlight in every room, roll out escape ladders in all the upstairs bedrooms that need them..


    I can't imagine what this wife, and the rest of the family must be going through.
  7. Elle

    Elle Member

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    I was going to make a thread but I will ask this here if you guys don't mind-about a week ago there was a fire in town caused by a coal stove. He was short on some clearances but the article said the wood frame behind the wall is what started to burn and not the wall itself. So my question is how can you prevent that? Will the clearance be enough, in theory? I have cement board for brick facing and I might just put another inch of cement board to make a relief for where the stove will actually go. I took all the lathe out of the walls and put up fiberglass insulation. Do I have to worry about the beams catching fire? Are there precautions to take?Also if the chimney is going to be inside the house, should I put cement board on those walls that will be close to it? I realize manufacturers specs should be followed and they will be. Just trying to think ahead a bit.

    An added note, the house is well over 100 years old and there is cooling air from the basement that will be in the walls. I did put some rigid foam and "great stuff" in to seal any air leaks before I put the fiberglass insulation in. Maybe I should have left that side of the wall go so the air could come in through the weather boards. What say you? Thanks
  8. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    heat transfers through most any material to some extent. this is why a wall even if it is faced with a non-combustible surface is still a "combustible" wall. to afford better protection than just a facia applied directly to the surface. most wall protection involves either an insulation batting behind a metal or millboard surface or just the metal or milboard with an open airspace of an inch between it and the wall. in the open air spaced type the natural convection behind the protector causes air to rise as it is warmed thus drawing cooler air up behind it from near the floor. as this air circulates it draws the heat out to keep the wall cooler
    bag of hammers likes this.
  9. Elle

    Elle Member

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    Ok...that is definitely some information I can work with. While I already have the cement board on the wall, I can manipulate the "high relief" area of it a bit. I have fiberglass batting in the wall so I can bring the relief out and sandwich a millboard or metal between two other cement boards while leaving a few inches between it and the wall. Hmm...I have some old asbestos shingles on the side that I have to get rid of... (wheels are turning)

    Thanks! This makes me feel better as I never even thought about the inside of the wall burning...
  10. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    most people do not , they simply look at the wall surface not whats inside of it. if you "google" the "NFPA211" you can find a realread version online which lays out exactly how to proportion and position a proper compliant wall protection system as well as provide clearances allowed when these systems are utilized. PM me if you have any trouble locating this referrence.
  11. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Maybe you were kidding, but I'd sure hate to see you put asbestos shingles in there. Even though they aren't friable, they can get scratched, scuffed and broken and release fibers.
  12. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    nice catch, i didnt see the asbestos part thay should be disposed of properly and certainly not used if this is what the shingles are made of
  13. DianeB

    DianeB Feeling the Heat

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    That firefighter you mentioned that died while trying to save those kids was the son of my mother's neighbor - He of course did not grow up in Unity but on the South Shore of Boston. His poor mother still grieves.
  14. DianeB

    DianeB Feeling the Heat

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    Could just be embers flying out the door not detected until too late.
  15. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Yet.
    Cross Cut Saw likes this.
  16. Elle

    Elle Member

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    well yes I was kidding...sort of. While they are in fairly good shape I would rather something that is more suitable for the area. Thank you for your concern though. It is greatly appreciated.
  17. bag of hammers

    bag of hammers Minister of Fire

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    +1 - this can be really effective and almost no cost. For my old stove, a couple pieces of durock fastened on the wall with a few small pieces of scrap metal furring strip, leaving about an inch airspace. The durock up off the floor an inch or so. The durock would get pretty warm, but the wall behind (pine t&g) stayed cool to the touch even with the best fires going in the stove.
  18. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    its a cumulitive thing in most cases, closer than tolerable clearances transfer heat into wall studs. especially around poorly built chimneys where the heat radiates through the brick or epecially through cracked mortar joints and tiles (which is why periodic inspections of masonary flues are important) literally "bake" the wood over time this wood becomes more succeptible to combustion. i remember on a job years ago we were replacing an old stove and chimney with a class a system the old chimney was being torn down as it had been inspected and found unusable. when the old flue was torn down there were exposed studs behind it and they looked like someone had taken a torch and brought them just short of actually burning, literally they were almost charred.

    it happens in walls behind stoves too sometimes especially when the stove is too close and or the wall was not adequately protected.
  19. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    My old stove is now at the back corner of the yard for outdoor burning enjoyment. Crap that blows on it and twigs and stuff that fall on it catch fire all of the time. It charred some wood I had stacked too close to the side of it a couple of years ago. Just because that crap on your stove hasn't burned the joint down yet doesn't mean it can't.
  20. wkpoor

    wkpoor Minister of Fire

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    A house burned (not to the ground) near me a few yrs back when the roof trusses caught fire from the chimney. The guy had heated with a stove for 20+yrs. Turned out the chimney was laid up around the trusses. Eventually enough mortor deteriated and probably cracked tiles, to expose the wood.
    I like to think of adequate clearance as minimizing risk. Only reason I did the test was to see just how great the risk factor was. If the paper had ignited as soon as it was placed on the stove I probably wouldn't be heating with a wood stove today.
  21. Sprinter

    Sprinter Minister of Fire

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    Believe it or not, there is at least one study on the ignition point of wood dust. It's 320°C for a layer of oak dust. 430 C for a cloud. Sounds like a fun job.
  22. Melissa220

    Melissa220 Feeling the Heat

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    This was a family who did not have much. they were trying to purchase a foreclosed home and were renting it until their financing came through. The furnace did not work, and this was all they had to heat the two story home. My thought is this was a man who had no experience with wood stoves, was trying to do the best for his family and did not think. Granted, we haven't all done anything fatal, or we wouldn't be here, but haven't we all done something really stupid because we JUST DIDN"T THINK ABOUT IT???
  23. bag of hammers

    bag of hammers Minister of Fire

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    In another forum there was a thread about the stupid things we've all done that resulted in injuries, embarrassment, etc - mostly around construction and power tools. I know I've had my share of stupid human tricks in that regard. Imagine what this man would have felt like if he had survived (but killed his kids). What he did wasn't very bright, and we should all learn from that, but what he was (apparently a good dad trying his best) is how he should be remembered. Just my 2c....
    Melissa220 likes this.
  24. Melissa220

    Melissa220 Feeling the Heat

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    unfortunately, this wasn't the case here. the family of five was trying to leave an old two-bedroom mobile home with a leaky roof and purchase a two story foreclosed home with a furnace that didn't work. Their financing to purchase the home was to include enough funds to repair the furnace. The only source of working heat in the home was the wood stove. They were what the news article called 'House Sitting' with a monthly rent paid, until the financing came through.

    And yes, I may seem a tad defensive of this family, but I knew this young 30 year old father when he was only 8 years old.
  25. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    I think you have it pretty well covered . . . heck once you install some heat detectors your house will be better than mine. About the only thing you could add . . . and it would be quite a bit more money . . . would be a home sprinkler system as the survival rate with a sprinkler system in place is something like 80 or 85%.

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