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Stopped a potential overfire just now

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by ckarotka, Jan 29, 2010.

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  1. ckarotka

    ckarotka Minister of Fire

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    I'm really not sure how it happened cuz the door was shut and the air was already mostly closed. What happened was this. Reload it full (nothing new) things were going as expected. I closed the primary almost all the way and the top was 550 with nice flames. Came back about 3 minutes later and the Hellfire was in my living room. I closed the primary completely then check the top temp with ir gun 700 and the fire did t reflect any signs of slowing down within a minute or so. I grabbed my handy dandy roll of aluminum tape and covered 90% of the 3" air inlet in the back. The fire went down but not out and continued at a lower temp about 600 for about 10-15min then I remove some of the tape and she stablized and finished the burn without incident.

    Boy did she smoke through a lot of wood quick. What should have been a nice 5 hour burn turned out to be 3.
    So now the tape stays real close by the stove for those "just in case" moments.

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  2. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    I wonder if its because the weather has gotten so cold the past day or so in your (our) neck of the woods. The draft gets a lot better and the fire burns hotter. I have noticed that with the same draft setting my stove goes through wood much faster in this cold weather - indicating a better draft. The wind has been fierce, too.
  3. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Hmmm....if I had to guess, I would say that you reloaded on top of a coal bed that was a little hotter than normal. It can make for some interesting times.
  4. ckarotka

    ckarotka Minister of Fire

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    It was the opposite. I was gone all after noon and came home to 300* stove. Things have been going quite well recently with new stove so I might have been a bit over confindent thinking "it will be fine, I'm good". That's when I upset the Fire Gods and reminded who REALLY is in charge here.
  5. Northern NH Mike

    Northern NH Mike Member

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    Any difference in the type of wood you loaded, or how tight the load was? A loose load will burn hotter and faster than a tighter one.

    I keep a round end cap for duct work behind my stove. A bit of foil inside makes a nice seal on the primary intake just in case.
  6. ckarotka

    ckarotka Minister of Fire

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    The only thing I can think of is I put one more medium sized split in than usual. I just let her get too hot before shutting her down. Lesson learned. Oh the outside temp has been colder than our norms as fire man said but before and after loads went fine.
  7. tcassavaugh

    tcassavaugh Minister of Fire

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    could a gasket be bad ? have an ash bin or trap for ash...proper seal? kinda quick to get going that fast, that quick

    cass
  8. Northern NH Mike

    Northern NH Mike Member

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    Simplest answer is probably correct
  9. tfdchief

    tfdchief Minister of Fire

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    Along with all the other mentioned possibilities, I have had very dry fast burning wood like ash, on a big bed of coals do that.
  10. fire_man

    fire_man Minister of Fire

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    Was the fire from the secondary (gases burning) flame or was it primary (wood burning) flame? It it was primary flame then I say there was too much air and there was a leak (piece of coal stuck in door gasket?). If secondary, you just had a wicked good load of fuel and fired it up nice and hot with no worries.
  11. ckarotka

    ckarotka Minister of Fire

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    it started out being a wall of flames. After I closed the air down the secondaries looked like afterburners and went nuts. It was all secondaries from there on in.
  12. carinya

    carinya New Member

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    Sounds like you have an EPA stove doing what it's supposed to be doing :)
  13. Tedsokol

    Tedsokol New Member

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    Same thing happened to me some time ago. I checked everything on and around the stove...gaskets on the ash drawer, around the door, around the collar of the flue (I have a soapstone), and had the air control completely shut down and I had an inferno!

    Well, it had nothing to do with the stove. It was the fuel. I found some 2" thick hard maple lumber that I harvested and processed years ago in order to make hardwood floors for a small room in my home. Unfortunately, powder post beetles did a number on the wood and it was not usable as lumber so I used it for firewood instead.

    After the inferno incident, I checked the moisture content of the wood and it was between 6.4 and 8.2 EMC (equilibrium moisture content). That's like burning a stove full of kiln dried lumber....It's too dry. Can firewood be too dry? You bet it can. I'm glad I have a moisture meter. Knowing the MC of wood gives me the knowledge and know-how on loading my stove with wood.

    I am still burning the Hard maple supply of lumber but now I mix in regular firewood to fill up the stove and balance out the moisture contents.

    The ideal Moisture content for firewood is 15% to 20%.

    A stove full of small pieces will burn the same way because of the increased air flow around each piece of wood. For this reason I never burn a stove full of bark scraps. I know someone who started a chimney fire doing just that! The high heat from the bark ignited the creosote in the chimney. Please everyone....Keep your chimneys clean!


    Ted

    www.woodhomeheating.com
  14. LLigetfa

    LLigetfa Minister of Fire

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    Did you go out and look at the chimney cap? You might have had a chimney fire that supercharged the draft.
  15. Swedishchef

    Swedishchef Minister of Fire

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    Here's my 2 cents:

    There is also another possibility. If the draft is too strong, the fire will run quite hot. Lately in my neck of the woods, the temperature is going down to -10F (-22 C) and the wind is blowing like M A D. When the wind blows THROUGH the chimney cap, it's almost like a siphon for the hot gases in the chimney. It creates a suction and the draft increases significantly, more air gets pulled in through the secondary intake and the flames go nuts. It happened to me last night. I had a BIG fire, nice and hot. The same thing happened. I had the damper open 1/8th and the temp kept climbing and climbing..the flue temp reaches 600. I could hear the wind from inside the stove! Good thing I didn't go to bed..I was planning to but felt a bit uncomfortable since I knew the flames were roaring (secondary).

    Andrew
  16. SlyFerret

    SlyFerret Minister of Fire

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    I get that effect too when it gets windy. It tends to turbo-charge my stove.

    I've had a load go nuclear like that before. When it's happened to me, it's been because I didn't make sure my stove door was closed snugly.

    When I get my stove cruising, I bump my fist down on the handle (gently, I don't have to whack it too hard) to make sure that it pulls shut tightly so that the gasket seals good and tight.

    -SF
  17. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Sorry, but I have to.....

    MMMMmmm Bork, bork, Mmmmm bork, bork, ahhhh da chickade bawk bawk........

    (think Muppets, for all of you scratching your head :cheese: )
  18. Northern NH Mike

    Northern NH Mike Member

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    Those same cold temps resulted in a supercharged draft from my VC Encore this weekend resulting in the Everburn overfiring because I had not engaged the flue damper.
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