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The dangers of wood heaters?

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by Hills Hoard, Apr 14, 2013.

  1. Hills Hoard

    Hills Hoard Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Melbourne, Australia
    Just reading this article in my local paper and suprised me a bit.

    Other than doing things like stacking paper next to your heater as mentioned in the article , and throwing petrol into your heater to get it started (like the girl i went to high school with.....needless to say she was off school for quite a while with her feet up in hospital...)....what are the other dangers?

    http://www.heraldsun.com.au/leader/...s-to-be-vigilant/story-fngnvlxu-1226619206865

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  2. charly

    charly Guest

    Biggest danger ,,,, No common sense:p
  3. Nick Mystic

    Nick Mystic Minister of Fire

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    One of the more common fire dangers I see on our local TV news is people placing their woodstove/fireplace ashes into a combustible container and then placing the container out on the porch, in the garage, etc. When I was right out of college and had my first woodstove in an old house I rented I came close to burning the house down in this very manner. I removed ashes from my woodstove after I had burned a fire two days earlier. I put them in a paper grocery bag and then rolled the top of the bag shut before placing it in a closed in porch room on the back of the house. A few days later I went into the room to get something and was shocked to see a huge pile of ash in the center of the floor! I had completely forgotten about the bagful of ashes I had placed there and was baffled by how they came to be there. It wasn't until I was cleaning up the mess and discovered the bottom of the paper bag under the ashes that I realized what had happened. I don't recall seeing any hot coals (obviously, since I put the ashes into a paper bag), but there must have been some present to have started the fire that consumed the rest of the bag. The only thing that saved me from burning the house down is the fact that room had a wooden floor with no rug on it and I put the bag of ashes in the center of the room and not up against a wall.
  4. Dave A.

    Dave A. Minister of Fire

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    Hopefully you can learn these lessons fast and without a tragedy. I'd been dumping my ashes out in the beds outside (from a covered metal can I shovel them into) usually waiting to dump till the next day when I'd bring in wood. Then one day I got distracted and shoveled out some ash from the stove just before I dumped them. Turned out there were some leaves in the bed and the leaves caught fire the next night.

    From then on I scan the temps of the ashes in the bucket with the IR thermo before I dump them and make sure I get no readings over room temp -- 70::F or I'll wait to dump them until they've cooled .
  5. BobUrban

    BobUrban Minister of Fire

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    x2 on common sense being the greatest culprit of wood heating mishaps. In most situations it is better to be safe than sorry but with this it is the hard, fast rule to "live" by. I think it is best to be slightly paranoid. I was very paranoid my first season and comfortable cautious ever since. The reality is that there is a fire going in your gas furnace and also under your hot water heater and clothes dryer(if not electric) and almost no one is concerned about those. I am! I worry more about the dog gone dryer than I do about my NC-30. It is an open flame in a region that has a propensity to collect one of the most volitile fuels in your home - Lint! I never leave my home with the dryer going but daily leave with the fire burning in the stove.

    I worked in commercial property and liabilty insurance for years and it is unbelievable how many public buildings have cardboard boxes stacked on or around their furnace. Never inspected any private homes for this but I can only imagine it to be on the same % or worse. People like to use hidden space for storage so that area in the back next to the furnace is great place to store the x-mas stuff all year in a box, right??? WRONG!!!

    be careful people and use your head. Better safe than sorry at all levels.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  6. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    One very big factor is most people trying to burn freshly cut wood. After only a week or two they are getting smoke in the house and have no idea why. Simple: the chimney is plugged. How much do you suppose it would take to get that chimney fired up and sounding like a freight train?

    Another is lighting a new fire or even on reloads. Open drafts and maybe even leaving the door ajar. Then going to shower or like the one fellow who went to the corner grocery and was amazed at the roaring fire when he returned home. If you have to go away from the stove in that situation, close the draft!!!
  7. Hills Hoard

    Hills Hoard Minister of Fire

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    scary the way some people behave....have you seen some of the vids on Youtube of people trying to start outdoor fires by holding the jerry can straight over the fire and pouring petrol on?
  8. skinanbones

    skinanbones Member

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    Ontario
    had a customer almost lose his house becasue he like to lean the snow covered wood agianst the stove to dry it out. One when he was gone his son did as his dad always did and lit a good fire than got distracted. When he smelled smoke and got back to that room all the wood around the unit was inflame. Fortunately some quick thinking and fast response by firefighters it was mainly smoke and water damage, but insurance did pay to fix his house. Crazily this guy still dries his wood this way.
  9. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Well, you can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink. You can attempt to educate people but some just can't seem to make the grade.
    stoveguy2esw likes this.
  10. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Modern wood stoves aren't particularly dangerous when properly installed. Wood heaters, aka the stove operators, are the ones you need to watch.

    As daddy used to say, the most dangerous nut in a car is the one behind the wheel.
    colin.p, n3pro and Hills Hoard like this.
  11. colin.p

    colin.p Burning Hunk

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    Ottawa Canada
    Yup, it's the "nut" between the stove and the wood pile. Or in this case the "knot head".
    stoveguy2esw and charly like this.
  12. colin.p

    colin.p Burning Hunk

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    I went to a pig roast one time attended by a bunch of very drunk bikers. One very inebriated guy tried to pour a 5 gallon can of gas onto the roaring bonfire. He was stopped before he became a human torch. I guess sometimes when intoxicants are involved, unfortunately, it leads to a cleanout of the gene pool.
    Diabel likes this.
  13. GAMMA RAY

    GAMMA RAY Minister of Fire

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    If you follow a few rules of thumb..I do not think a wood stove is dangerous. This is coming from someone who was afraid to even open the door on the stove 3 years ago. I may not be a pro wood burner, but these are a few of my tips.
    1. Burn dry wood.
    2. Have working smoke and CO2 detectors.
    3. Burn dry wood.
    4. Proper ash disposal.
    5. Load the stove appropriately for the heat you require.
    6. Burn dry wood.
    7. Monitor the flue. If it looks like it is dirty, clean it and ponder why...so you can change your burning techniques or fuel.
    8. Follow the clearance to combustibles.
    9. Using a bit of common sense never hurt anybody.
    10. Monitor the fire closely after reloading until you have the air inlet adjusted where you need it.
    I followed these tips for 3 seasons and never had a problem. I did not burn my house down either. ;)
    Just say'in...
  14. Seasoned Oak

    Seasoned Oak Minister of Fire

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    Dont underestimate what your toddler will try,or other people toddlers visiting your house and even older kids. Most of these people dont have a 600+Degree heating appliance in the middle of their living space so they are not aware of the danger. Just yesterday my 7 Year old opened the door of a roaring wood fire at project house im working on and could not figure out how to close it. Since he already knows about wood stoves i was surprised he would do that. A good time for a lecture.
  15. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    selling stoves "at the big box" predominantly, my company gets a lot of "entry level" sales, a lot of first time buyers, i get the calls every fall(usually the smart ones call before they install to see what they will have to do). others call after the fact wondering why it doesn't work

    "my stove don't draw" is a common complaint. of course it doesn't, stove do not draw, chimneys draw. ive seen everything from single wall passed out a window, to a guy who stood up a culvert pipe (about 18 inches of galvanized pipe complete with the wavy corrugations (the stuff you put under your driveway) dude dug a hole a couple feet from his external wall torched a hole in the side of it and plumbed single wall through a window into the pipe. guy was beside himself when i explained it wouldn't work.

    my boss told me a story about how a guy went to a demonstration of one of our stoves (this was like 30 years ago) at the store out in the parking lot a stove was set up with a couple sections of single wall (which is enough to burn an old smoke dragon) this fellow studied this stove for quite a while , then went in and purchased it along with some connector pipe. store manager came out a few hours later and suggested our rep might want to head on down the road, seems the fellow that bought the stove took it home set it up exactly as it was in the demonstration (except in his living room) built a fire which proceeded to catch his ceiling on fire where the exhaust was coming out of the top of the pipe.
  16. Beetle-Kill

    Beetle-Kill Minister of Fire

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    I find black ceilings rather attractive, reeks of testosterone and creosote. (not that I find men attractive, except for BB....maybe.);)
    BTW, - PM sent, I had a question. Thanks, JB
  17. bag of hammers

    bag of hammers Minister of Fire

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    I had to read that about 1000 times.

    You can't make this stuff up. Are you making this stuff up? Please say you're making this stuff up. You can't make this stuff up...
    BrianK likes this.
  18. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Pretty sure that wasn't made up . . . I've seen . . . and continue to see people doing really dumb things . . . keeps me and the brothers/sisters in business.

    In fact, just yesterday I thought of you guys . . . went by a house on my way to the big city and saw an outside masonry chimney being supported by a single metal post a foot off the ground . . . I'm still wondering why the builder just didn't continue to build it all the way to the ground and put it on a proper footing.

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