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Steamers...

Post in 'The Gear' started by Swedishchef, Sep 30, 2012.

  1. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Hey guys

    I am looking for a steamer in order to help keep my house humid in the winter time. I find that the humidity level simply drops wayyyy too low for my liking (30-40%). I have an air exchanger but it's not hooked up yet (long story)...

    Any suggestions on a steamer?

    Andrew

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  2. pen

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

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    [​IMG]

    http://www.lowes.com/pd_121408-12934-MA0800_4294801320__?productId=1125803&Ns=p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&pl=1&currentURL=?Ns=p_product_qty_sales_dollar|1&facetInfo=

    I used a steamer for years. I finally got tired of still having the wife complain about nose bleeds, so I bought a humidifier (mine is not made anymore, but I'd seriously look at the one I liked for you if I needed to replace it) and use it along side the steamer.

    Last winter, I got sick and tired of messing with the steamer and just took it off the stove, the humidifier keeps up just fine.

    Clay steamers generally need to be set on a trivet. When set on a trivet, they generally don't boil and don't put out as much steam as most people need. If you used an old dutch oven or something and set it directly on the stove, you'd get better results but also run a large risk of running dry and overheating the pot. NEVER use a non-stick dutch oven (or anything Teflon for that matter) on the stove top as a steamer

    pen

    pen
  3. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    since modifying my Napoleon 1900p's top cover, I can now sit a big stockpot of water right on top of the stove, and it will boil off a TON of water in a night. I'm anxious to see how well it does in the dead of winter.......it did good last weekend in a trial run. We didn't even have a big fire in the stove and it still boiled off two gallons in less than 14 hours.......
  4. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Pen: thanks for the advice. I was thinking about buying a humidifier. I have one for my kid's room but I don't think it will be big enough. And it's a cool mist one, less bacteria, etc etc. I too don't want to hear about nosebleeds. Also, my house shifts when the wood dries it out (the basement can reach 27-29 degrees in the room the stove is located and my humidity levels sink to the bottom of the abyss) and creates cracks in the plaster upstairs a long a seam (the crack is barely visible in the summer but highly visible in the winter).

    Scotty: let me now how you make out. I was thinking of gettinga pot but I just think it will entice my kids to hang around the stove more often...

    No non-stick pots eh? What's the reason behind that Pen?

    Andrew
  5. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Non-stick pots and pans have a teflon-based coating on them, and being that your stove can often boil the pot "dry" (all the water evaporates and the pan remains on the stove), you can overheat the non-stick pan and outgas some REALLY nasty stuff into the air. Very, very bad......

    I use a large, stainless steel stockpot on our stove......no teflon coating in this cheap pot. Holds around 3 gallons of water.

    2012-09-23_08-06-08_550.jpg
    HeatsTwice likes this.
  6. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Thanks Scotty! I figured it had to do with the teflon but I never thought about the off gassing of it.

    Good grief. check out what I found on the net about teflon off gassing:
    Studies show that thermal degradation of Teflon leads to the slow breakdown of the fluorinated polymer and the generation of a litany of toxic fumes including TFE (tetrafluoroethylene), HFP (hexafluoropropene), OFCB (octafluorocyclobutane), PFIB (perfluoroisobutane), carbonyl fluoride, CF4 (carbon tetrafluoride), TFA (trifluoroacetic acid), trifluoroacetic acid fluoride, perfluorobutane, SiF4 (silicon tetrafluoride), HF (hydrofluoric acid), and particulate matter. At least four of these gases are extremely toxic - PFIB, which is a chemical warfare agent 10 times more toxic than phosgene (COCl2, a chemical warfare agent used during World Wars I and II), carbonyl fluoride (COF2 which is the fluorine analog of phosgene), MFA (monofluoroacetic acid) which can kill people at low doses, and HF, a highly corrosive gas.
  7. FireBones

    FireBones Member

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    Holy crap!! That's some solid info & I bet more people should know about that......thanks Swedishchef
  8. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Yeah last year I finally got a humidifier for upstairs and down. Wish I had done it many years ago. Unreal the amount of water it takes to keep the place in the normal range. They run forever on squat for electricity and do wonders for comfort level.

    This is the Sunbeam ones I got at Walmart. Around $55. Works a treat.

    http://www.walmart.com/ip/Sunbeam-Cool-Mist-Humidifier/19536348
  9. DexterDay

    DexterDay Guest

    Yeah. A standard steamer wont do much for the overall humidity in the house. I have a Very Large Lasko unit with a removable filling tank. That holds an extra gallon and a half. So as the few gallons in the unit are dispersed, more is fed in. Holds 4/5 gallons total.

    Dont buy a Cold or Warm mist unit. As you will have wet floors and possibly mold.
  10. pen

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

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    Yep, non-stick is no good for any use that might not be under a watchful eye.

    In college, the one of the roommates came home drunk and decided some pasta would be good. He put the pot of water on the stove then passed out on the couch. I woke up (thankfully) later that night to a smoke like I didn't think was possible, coughing and hacking. We all were sick as dogs with flu type feelings for several days. The only non-stick (Teflon) left on that stock pot he was using was to be found on the top 2 inches. All the rest had burned off into the air.

    Ever since then, I steer clear of Teflon cookware almost exclusively. I have one good Teflon skillet that gets used only for really fluffy scrambled eggs (maybe 3x a year, otherwise, the less fluffy cast iron version is just fine). Everything else is done in cast iron or stainless steel. I was so sick, that I never want to see that sort of thing again.

    pen
    ScotO likes this.
  11. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    Bad thing about pots/steamers is that unless your tap water is mineral free (and nobody's is totally clean) you will get white deposits that show up EVERYWHERE as the pot boils dry. They are not hard to clean up but just more aggravation for little to no benefit.

    My wife is convinced the steamer was helping save electricity to run the large humidifier we have. Personally, I don't think it was doing squat, kinda a drop in the bucket scenario.
  12. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    I think I will end up getting one, if not two, humidifiers. I already have a fancy one with a mineral filter for the kid's room. It's one of those ultrasonic ones, vapour something, X3 SE + models. http://www.amazon.com/Vicks-Ultrasonic-Cool-Mist-Humidifier/dp/B001FWXKLS

    As for the minerals in the water, my local pharmacy sells 5 gallons of distilled water for like $2. If I buy 100 gallons it will cost me $40 and I think should last me a good while...

    I think you guys are right, humidifiers are the way to go.

    Teflon is scary. Makes me wonder how about pre-heating frying pans. I wonder what the temperature is for off-gassing.

    Pen: I wonder how many peopel fall asleep to a boiling pot..I can't see myself ever lying down with something on the stove!

    And I thought I was the only one who had a dry house in the winter while heating! The upstairs is not as bad (stove is in the basement) and I don't think I would want a humidifier up there: condensation on the windows is good as is. However, the humidity levels in the basement will drop to 25-30%.

    A
  13. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Main thing I use my steamer on the stove for is for the nice smelling potpourri . . . an actual humidifier was purchased and used last year -- much more effective at keeping the place from being too dry.
  14. pen

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

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    Anyone ever add an Outside Air Kit to their stove and notice any difference with humidity levels in the house?

    pen
  15. MasterMech

    MasterMech Guest

    I can send 10 gallons through my humidifier in less than 2 days at peak season trying to maintain 40-45%. Food for thought.
  16. lukem

    lukem Minister of Fire

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    I think teflon starts gassing out at about 550* give or take....and will outgass some nasties at lower temps during the manufacture of PFTE.
  17. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Darn it . . . every time I see the thread topic I forget what is about and keep thinking it's about steamed clams . . . and that gets me hungry.
  18. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    lol Jake. That's what happens when you live too close to NB.
    A
  19. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    to heck with New Brunswick . . . I'll eat Maine clams any day . . . although I prefer them battered and fried along with some scallops. Darn it .. . now I'm hungry.
  20. HeatsTwice

    HeatsTwice Minister of Fire

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    Hey Scooter (my name is scott also),

    I like your mod to the 1900. Especially if it gets the humidity up. But it looks like all you did was take of the trivit (or grill), which I can do with my 1900 also but haven't ever.

    My question: I have a trivit but if I take it off and use your technique, will the water boil better/faster. How do you protect the enamel of the stove from possible scrapage of the water filled, heavy pot?

    Btw, I love clams too. Used to live in the Boston area and eat the raw by the bushel. Hard to get them out here in California though. I learned some very interesting things about the cherry stone and cohaug variety which all raw clam eaters should know. I can share it but don't want to get off topic.
  21. ScotO

    ScotO Guest

    Here's a link to the post where I show how I did it:

    http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/modified-the-trivet-on-my-napoleon-1900p.90542/

    If you have a porcelain finished stove, It's going to be tricky opening up your trivet. Mine, being the black steel model, it was quite easy....

    It makes a HUGE difference in steaming off water. The stove cooks like a dream now, I've fried potatoes and eggs on it already, made coffee, gonna do chili sometime this week.
  22. HeatsTwice

    HeatsTwice Minister of Fire

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    Wow. Your are a God. I am not worthy.

    Great job. Napoleon should definatly include your mod as an option. I would buy it. I would cook way more on my stove if my trivet got hotter.

    Amazing work and a very inovative impovement to the design.
  23. smokinj

    smokinj Minister of Fire

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    We are using a small iron dutch oven bought it on sale for 10.00.

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