1. Welcome Hearth.com Guests and Visitors - Please enjoy our forums!
    Hearth.com GOLD Sponsors who help bring the site content to you:
    Hearthstone Soapstone and Cast-Iron stoves( Wood, Gas or Pellet Stoves and Inserts)

Was hating my F3100, had first stages of a chimney fire last night

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

  1. pearlgirl

    pearlgirl Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Messages:
    139
    Loc:
    Syracuse, NY
    Hi,

    Well I'm back. I posted before about not liking my F3100. I got some great instruction on running it correctly here. We got some great dry wood that we have been using exclusively, and we are getting $15,000 worth of insulation and sealing work done on our house in the next few weeks. So things were looking up and I was thinking heating the whole house with thing was going to be possible.

    Last night I had loaded it up good for the night, went about my business (I admit I got a bit distracted and didn't start to shut down the air soon as I would have typically. I have the flu, my 4 year old has the flu, and my husband was out with my 14 year old at his chorus concert so I was home with 4 kids, and 3 dogs and have the flu. It was already past bedtime so I was running around like a crazy person trying to pull bed time together.) So I got it going and before I got to even thinking about shutting the air down it was really roaring and smoke was pouring out of the top seams of the chimney near our ceiling. I smelled it first. I immediately shut the air completely down (at which point incidentally it immediately switched to an awesome 2ndary burn rolling in there.) I told the kids to wait by the front door and I grabbed the fire extinguisher and opened up the attic, there was nothing going on in there. I then went outside to look at the chimney and sure enough there was a ring of burning embers at the cap, and they were shooting/dropping off onto the roof below. So, I called 911. They had us get out of the house, said to call back if anything changed. Before anyone got here the embers at the cap went away and the smoke stopped. So I called them back to let them know that. They came out and checked everything out. They put the fire in the box out. I got scolded for having too much wood in there. The guy clearly did not know about 2ndary burn, said only top logs were burning (because the flames were all at the top) and so the bottom logs were smouldering and that's why it happened. I do not think that was what was going on in there. The stove at that point was 700+ at least at that point, it was not smouldering, and all the gases and bad stuff was burning through the tubes. I wish I'd thought to have him look at the chimney before they put it out to see there was no smoke coming out. I do believe, for whatever reason we must be building creosote at some point and it got pretty hot last night and caught. I suspect with our chimney being so high it's cooling too much at the top before it leaves and collecting up there, and last night it was hot enough that enough heat really went up the pipe with air all open that the heat got up there and it caught.

    At this point I just feel like I want the darn thing out of my house.

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. pearlgirl

    pearlgirl Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Messages:
    139
    Loc:
    Syracuse, NY
    p.s. This stove was installed incorrectly with improper clearances and a chimney height that did not meet code standards. The chimney was completely rebuilt October 25th with all new pipe. This is not a case of not cleaning the chimney for years and years, or even months and months.
  3. Blue Vomit

    Blue Vomit Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2011
    Messages:
    663
    Loc:
    eastern PA
    Great job calling 911 and keeping the kids safe, with the flu. Some hesitate to call out of embarrassment or overconfidence until its too late. Glad to see you are smarter than that.
    Others will be along to help with your setup but great job keeping everyone safe.
    PapaDave likes this.
  4. pearlgirl

    pearlgirl Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Messages:
    139
    Loc:
    Syracuse, NY
    Thank you, I appreciate it.
  5. Fod01

    Fod01 Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2008
    Messages:
    332
    Loc:
    Long Island
    Same here...no advice. You did good.
    Gabe
  6. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2010
    Messages:
    2,229
    Loc:
    Soutwest VA
    Glad everything is OK.
  7. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    15,246
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    Yes, glad things worked out.

    You should probably call up a pro and have that stack inspected. It will probably be fine, but you really should have it checked.

    Now comes the point where I state the obvious: You can't have a chimney fire unless fuel (creosote) is present. You will either need to modify your burning habits (recommended) or clean the stack more frequently - or both. If your habits are as pure as the driven snow - then you will want to get comfortable with a soot eater (or brush)
    firefighterjake likes this.
  8. pearlgirl

    pearlgirl Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Messages:
    139
    Loc:
    Syracuse, NY
    I definitely understand this. And my goal now is to track down and understand why, after only 48 days of operation, there was enough to have this happen.
  9. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    15,246
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    48 days?:eek:
    That is a pretty short time to load up a stack. If you are willing to go through the pile of questions to follow, we can probably help you out.
  10. pearlgirl

    pearlgirl Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Messages:
    139
    Loc:
    Syracuse, NY
    I'll do my best!
  11. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    15,246
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    First - fuel. Explain in detail how long it has been cut/split/stacked.
    Second - stove operation. Stack temps, stove temps, shut down procedure.
    Third - setup. We know you have a F3100, but what is the stack? Double walled (insulated), exterior/interior, block chimney, etc.

    And I am going to re-state....you really should have that stack inspected after a flue fire.
    raybonz and PapaDave like this.
  12. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    Sorry to hear that pearlgirl but I am glad your all ok ! Good move calling 911 too.

    Pete
  13. BurnIt13

    BurnIt13 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2010
    Messages:
    618
    Loc:
    Central MA
    Glad to see your family is safe! After 48 days on a new chimney I'm very surprised you ended up with a chimney fire. Was the stove pipe replaced at the same time? How old is the stove? How much stove pipe do you have before it connects to chimney pipe? What is the configuration of the stove pipe? Straight up? Elbows? Etc.

    And I'm surprised I'm the first to ask. When was your wood split? And what type of wood is it?

    Again, glad to hear that everything is okay.

    ***Edit....I guess Jags types faster than I do.
  14. Pallet Pete

    Pallet Pete Guest

    I agree with Jags chimny fires are bad and it is dangerious to continue burning with one after a chimny fire without an inspection.

    Pete
    raybonz likes this.
  15. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    15,246
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    Yeah, but sometimes my fingers go faster than my brain.:confused:
  16. milleo

    milleo Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2011
    Messages:
    318
    Loc:
    Maine
    You sound like you are a very strong and sensible person, you will figure it out and pull it all together with others help and guidence, hope you start feeling well soon...Best of luck.
  17. evilgriff

    evilgriff Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Oct 14, 2007
    Messages:
    138
    Loc:
    Northern New Jersey
    "loaded up good", "great dry wood" , "went about my business" (distracted). Size of splits? Pine? I would think if I loaded my stove the way she did, got distracted and walked away, I would get an overfire if the damper was open. The few times I put large amounts of super dry wood in my stove (old one, not my newest) , it acted almost like you put gasoline in it. So was this really a chimney fire (rings of embers at the top) or an overfire? I find with super dry wood my stoves burst to life very quickly. I could see how this could happen easily. How can you be sure it's a chimney fire vs an overfire? I'm not passing judgement, this is for my education vs personal experience.
  18. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2006
    Messages:
    15,246
    Loc:
    Northern IL
    Burning embers puking out the top of the stack is a pretty good sign.... especially if the embers look puffy like lava.

    BUT not definitive. That is why I suggest an inspection.
  19. DianeB

    DianeB Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2012
    Messages:
    397
    Loc:
    Foot Hills of the Berkshires
    Can't help with all the technical stuff, others here that can do it. You did a great job having the kids gather by the door ready to leave while you did the other things. In the future to deal with how the kids may distract you - get a simple kitchen timer and set it for 10 minutes, go check it and reset for another 5. I am doing that now as I found myself in the morning getting distracted with trying to do everything to get out the door and forgetting I had not checked the stove. Works well and I set the timer to the left of the stove on the mantle so after shutting the door I do a quick turn using the time - old styel timer with a screaming bell.
  20. pearlgirl

    pearlgirl Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Messages:
    139
    Loc:
    Syracuse, NY
    Wood was split and stacked 2-3 years minimum under cover with open sides. It's been on a covered porch a good week before coming inside and another week or two in the house before burning (this particular load). It's good wood, and we paid for it! It was close to overfire, whoever mentioned that. It certainly was. I have gotten there before......talked about it on my other thread. (Never had any smoke in the house when it's happened before). I really was distracted, but it had not been long (again it was good wood, it went quick.) The stove went from 400 to 800+ within 10 minutes if not less.

    There are pictures here of the set up: http://www.hearth.com/talk/threads/help-me-not-hate-my-regency-f3100.94576/page-6 (Don't be confused by the antique cookstove photos.)

    We are not using it. In addition to our own concerns, the fire department said don't use, they have to notify the town code enforcer and he has to come out. Also working on hiring some one privately to come and inspect it as well.

    Ok going back up to read more questions and give more answers!
  21. pearlgirl

    pearlgirl Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Messages:
    139
    Loc:
    Syracuse, NY
    So my usual procedure goes like this:

    If I am adding a load on coals, I try to get up the stove to at least 400, more like 500 with some kindling or smaller logs before I put in the whole load. I guess I am still experimenting with this some. Some times it's already into those temps so I don't worry about it too much, depends on how cool it got before I reload it. I might throw a handful of kindling in just for good measure to keep things warm.

    I load it up north/south as best as I can. Last night we had quite a bit of ash and coals. It is supposed to be in the 40's here tomorrow so my plan was to let it cool down quite a bit and get rid of some of it then. But I still had probably 4-6 splits in there with another 3-4 smaller pieces to tuck in the gaps. Usually I sit there with the door cracked until I have some flames, and then I close it. I sit there and when it hits 500-550 range I start to turn down the air. I usually go down half way on the first time down. If I go any slower than that it really heats up. I will either sit there and watch it or go do something for five minutes and come back and turn it down some more. I keep doing this until I can shut the air all the way down and the 2ndary burn still rolls. I then usually leave the air open just a crack. This takes anywhere from 20-30 minutes to get it rolling nice (and the stove usually reads about 750 once I go through this. If I turn it down any faster the 2ndary burn goes out and then it is smouldering. If I do it any slower it gets way too hot too fast. (Which is basically what happened last night, I did not turn down the air as soon as I would normally, but it was much more like I used to do before I got advice here to start turning it down at that 500 range, and what I had to do when I had crappier wood.)

    In the morning, my husband gets up about 4:30-5:00 and repeats this so it's warm when the rest of us get up. He doesn't always shut it down as meticulously as I do though, and I do think it has been left smouldering a few times. (And I realize this could be our problem.) Most times I wake up to the 2ndardy burn going, but I do remember one day last week it was not. The air was way down, there were just a few flames coming off a couple logs, and no 2ndary burn. I opened up the air just a little. It didn't take much to get it going fine and then I could turn it back down.

    During the day, once that load my husband does gets to coaling and the temp on the stove top gets down to about 400 I open it up and rake the coals to the front. I open the air all the way and let the coals just burn down a bit. Some times, depending on much there is, I will put a split on there E/W right in the front there and let it burn full air until it's starts swirling around up top and then I turn it down about half air and that split and the coals burning upfront will give me 500 easy for a couple of hours. I do this kind of all day, some times I just do the one, some times I do 2 or 3 splits. Whatever it takes to burn the coals down and keep the stove around 500-600.

    Then by bedtime I have the most room left in there and can put in the biggest load, and I load it up for overnight.
  22. pearlgirl

    pearlgirl Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Messages:
    139
    Loc:
    Syracuse, NY
    That's a great idea about the timer! Thank you!
  23. pearlgirl

    pearlgirl Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Messages:
    139
    Loc:
    Syracuse, NY
    Thank you, I sure try. Though, some times I feel like it some how translates to being some one who constantly bangs her head against the walls those less sensible set up around me!
    milleo likes this.
  24. pearlgirl

    pearlgirl Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Messages:
    139
    Loc:
    Syracuse, NY
    Everything from the stove up replaced with the exception of 2-3 sections of the single wall outside stuff and the cap I think. I was feeling like it was all replaced, but it was just rebuilt and stuff was added. Everything inside was replaced from the stove up. We hired some one to come and clean it this fall, and when he got here he started cleaning it and then discovered several things about the whole install that was wrong, and he stopped at the point and said don't use this, this is all wrong. So then the whole thing was redone, and they did use a few of the same pieces as they were fine. The chimney had to be higher and inside some clearances were not right.

    The stove was put in end of February of this year. Hopefully you were able to check out the photos on the other thread. Well actually here, I can just repost them!

    100_3640.JPG
    Oldhippie and raybonz like this.
  25. pearlgirl

    pearlgirl Member

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2012
    Messages:
    139
    Loc:
    Syracuse, NY
    100_3641-001.JPG
    100_3649-001.JPG
    100_3650-001.JPG
    100_3652-001.JPG

    100_3653-001.JPG
    raybonz likes this.

Share This Page