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Wood stove pipe just blew out of the flue! - Holy Cow!

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by HolyCow, Dec 30, 2012.

  1. ailanthus

    ailanthus Feeling the Heat

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    Couple of minutes!?! I think you're lucky nothing worse happened. Someone mentioned a forge & that's exactly what these things are with the ashdoor open. I used to open mine for a max of 4-5 seconds just to get a flame started but beyond that it gets scary pretty quick. I won't even empty the ashpan without moving all the coals off the grate for the same reason.

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  2. HolyCow

    HolyCow New Member

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    Already on it. Thanks for the response CT-Mike.
  3. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Yeah, pretty country there in NH, though I too can do without the snow. If I want to be in it, a short trip to the mountains is all it takes. In spite of growing up in NY and CT, we stumbled into WA almost 40 years ago and never left. My original plan was to live in the Appalachian highlands of NC, but my wife preferred the west and likes a city nearby.
  4. HolyCow

    HolyCow New Member

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    Yup. It was my error. It was just the easiest way to get the stove going quickly. Learned a lesson for sure. I noticed a few more gray hairs in my beard this morning. Thanks ailanthus
  5. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    Nothing beats the Monadnock Region of you ask me. Live Free or Die my NH brother!
  6. HolyCow

    HolyCow New Member

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    Roger that bro. I've seen many a fanatastic view in many places, but the views NH has are breathtaking. My wife loves NH as well but I drive her crazy because every time we drive around NH and we pass an overlook and I catch a view I ask her "Did I tell you I love New Hampshire?"
    She just rolls her eyes and says Yes, about a million times.:rolleyes:
    remkel likes this.
  7. stoveguy2esw

    stoveguy2esw Minister of Fire

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    i think the big lesson to be learned here is to not take shortcuts. as a manufacturer this type of thread is worrisome, it exposes potential issue which can happen when use of a unit is being done outside of the parameters we set forth to operate in a safe manner. use only the controls built into the stove even if they take a bit longer they do so for a reason.

    funny thing about shortcuts , usually folks don't get lost on the "main road";)
    milleo and PapaDave like this.
  8. HolyCow

    HolyCow New Member

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    Thanks Stoveguy. I really didn't think that using the ashdoor just to get the fire up to speed would do any harm. I have done it for the past couple years and nothing ever happened. I know now that I have been very lucky and will be using the fire control lever from now on. I am thankful to this forum and to all you guys for collective knowledge.
  9. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    There have been numerous reports of the years from Jotul owners about discovering cracks in their grates, or worse yet discovering cracks in the stove base surrounding the grate. Almost always this is due to using the ashpan door as a fire starter. It's is an expensive repair you want to avoid. Jotul will not cover it under warranty.
  10. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    The usual response to this procedure is to not spread the coals, but rather rake them forward, then put your load on top of that.
    This should help avoid a fast outgassing of a lot of wood at once.
    Glad you learned something here and are making the needed adjustments.:cool:
    I had a smaller version of your situation early this season, before I adjusted my air control (much older stove). It's gooder now.
  11. corey21

    corey21 Minister of Fire

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    I agree about raking the coals +1
  12. HolyCow

    HolyCow New Member

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    Thanks begreen. One would think that the stove is built to take that type of heat.. Glad I found out now before any damage.
  13. HolyCow

    HolyCow New Member

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    Thank you PapaDave. Will start raking the coals forward instead of spreading them. Never knew that was a factor. This is why I say that this forum and you old salts are a godsend. Thank you Hearth.com!
  14. jotulguy

    jotulguy Feeling the Heat

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    The stove is built to take tremendous heat. 650-700 degrees a couple of times a day for many years. The issues that result from ashpan use are typically found at start up. When the stove is room temperature and the ashpan is opened to start a fire the extreme temp difference from one side of the base to the other is just too much and something has to give. more often then not its the base plate that gives.
  15. PapaDave

    PapaDave Minister of Fire

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    Hmmm.
    The thing I've noticed most since being here, is quite a few new burners thinking they should just be able to throw wood in a stove and have it burn.
    Basically true, yet so much more involved than that to do it well.
    Then, quite a few old burners who don't think they need to change when they get a new stove, simply because what they've been doing for x number of years has worked "just fine".
    You, however, have a "better" attitude that allows learning and evolving.
    Good on ya.
  16. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    Ok, I'm trying really hard to follow how this happened, I sure as heck don't want to experience this myself! I only use the damper to adjust the airflow, don't even use the ash door to empty ashes :) however, I do crack the door with open damper to get it started and then close the door, wait for the flue temp to get about 400 and tap back the damper until I get a steady fire, eventually closing it most or all the way. If I cut off the air too quick is that when it can blow back? I just checked every section of pipe and have 3 screws but am freaked out about this post and the post from before about the same thing. Can someone try to explain this to me, like you are talking to a five year old? I'm far from dumb but I am not grasping this concept ;)
  17. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Yeah cutting it back to quick is where it happens. Essentially if you keep flame in that firebox it ain't gonna happen. Snuff the flame and it WILL happen the second air hits a hot coal and a flame sets off the stored up gases. Had one go off one night when I opened the door. The fireball came straight up out of the top of the door. No eyebrow trims for a while.

    Burn the way you say you burn and it won't happen to ya.

    Edit to add: The wildest ones are with the old airtight stoves and clay tile flues. Eventually a vacuum would set up and the sucker would suck air all the way down from the top of the chimney and go off. I always wanted to be outside somebody's house and see what that looked like coming out of the chimney.
  18. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    That type of heat is usually only seen in coal stoves. By opening up the ash pan door one can take the metals up from low temp to forge like temps in a matter of a few minutes.
  19. remkel

    remkel Minister of Fire

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    If anyone has seen the movie Backdraft you basically are seeing a non Hollywood version of the same thing. I personally think real life far outdoes Hollywood in this case.
  20. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    Thank you Brother Bart. My hubby thinks I'm paranoid as it is but when I showed him these posts and the one earler this month too, he heard me out. We have both had fires we strated (usually cold starts) where we think its going good only to come back in the living room a few minutes later to it going out, just smoldering. I then, usually pull the damper out to try to get it back up. If that can lead to this blow back, then what SHOULD I do if my fire goes out to prevent this from happening? Is it better to open the door? Sorry for all the questions but if this has happened to many of you long time burners, a year old burner can't be too careful ;)
  21. begreen

    begreen Mooderator Staff Member

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    Like a fart coming out of a dragon?
    Hearth Mistress and remkel like this.
  22. BrotherBart

    BrotherBart Hearth.com LLC Mid-Atlantic Division Staff Member

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    Give it some air and let it do its thing. It ain't the end of the world if you have those pipe joints locked in. Just don't open the door. Burning hair stinks.
  23. Hearth Mistress

    Hearth Mistress Minister of Fire

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    HAH! Thanks for the advice! Burning hair got my hubby's attention since after serving in the Army, Navy and National Guard, he swore he'd never cut his hair once he got out, it's almost to his belt now :) My installer was by far not the cheapest but is known as the best. Considering we had been told time and time again we couldn't install a stove because our steps were too close and open (literally blocks of wood bolted together) not to mention the floor and roof supports aren't even close to lining up, they did a beautiful job and the fire inspector was even impressed. Granted, everything but the 18" out of the stove is double/triple wall and that jacked up the price but I'm confident it is a good install, it's the operators I'm worried about!
  24. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Late to the party as usual . . . but it seems like this potentially bad story has a happy ending with a life lesson taught to Holy Cow about what to do and not do in getting the fire going . . . and don't sweat it too badly HC . . . many of us have a) used the ash pan door to get things going until reading and seeing the warped grates and cracks and b) many of us have experienced the backdraft effect -- with me it was putting some cardboard on the hot coals and leaving the door shut and the air control low.
  25. Stubborn Dutchman

    Stubborn Dutchman Member

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    I couldn't agree more. This is my second year burning and I thought I had it mastered. Trying to push my F600 showed me how little I really knew re maximizing BTU output. Good thing Hearth.com is such a great resource.

    BTW: glad no one got hurt!
    PapaDave likes this.

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