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Worried about my hedge stack, please advise

Post in 'The Wood Shed' started by KSgrown, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. BIGDADDY

    BIGDADDY Feeling the Heat

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    I never heard of hedge wood. Are you talking about a specific species of tree or just any old wood you find in a hedge row?

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  2. Thistle

    Thistle Minister of Fire

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Osage_orange Years ago (starting in the mid 1800's before the invention of barbed wire for fencing) it was planted for shelterbelts & hedgerows across the great plains,midwest,parts of the southern & eastern US. Still can be found in quite a few areas,these are older abandoned hedgerows or ones that have been cut down & resprouted several times.Very hardy trees,once the shallow root system is established,its difficult to remove entirely,except by dozing it out.Even that isnt always successful.

    Lots of it still in eastern Kansas/Nebraska,NW Missouri,southern Iowa,all the way across Illinois east to Pennsylvania up to parts of NY state. Very resilient.
    ScotO, KSgrown, BIGDADDY and 2 others like this.
  3. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    The perennial question asked each year by newbies . . . "What should I do if I have a chimney fire?"

    Everyone comes out listing various tips and tricks, but I'm with Steve . . . best answer is to run your stove at the proper temps, burn seasoned wood and inspect and clean your chimney when needed to avoid having one . . . because it may sound crazy, but us firefighters are not all that thrilled about getting up on a steep, snow-covered roof at 2 a.m. in middle of a snowstorm in January . . . prevention is so much nicer for everyone involved.
    amateur cutter and tfdchief like this.
  4. KSgrown

    KSgrown Member

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    Don't you feel like this is a legitimate question for anyone who is "playing with fire", in order to protect their family and personal property? Especially for a newcomer to the hobby! Of course I purchased flue cleaning equipment at the same time that I purchase my insert, and I also clean my flue each fall before I burn anything. I made sure to get a stove mounted thermostat so I can not only watch for too high of temps but also make sure I don’t get too cold. I also bought a moisture meter to double check that I’m burning dry wood. With all this being said, I’m not going to burn a single stick if I don’t have a plan of action to deal with accidents and that includes a chimney fire.

    I don’t plan on having an electrical fire but that doesn’t mean I’m taking down my smoke alarm because I know my house is wired correctly. I’m not disabling my air bags because I’m too good of a driver to get into a wreck.
    Backwoods Savage likes this.
  5. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Normal to ask . . . sure. But the reality is if folks start out with seasoned wood, run their woodstove at the correct temps and regularly inspect and clean their chimney they should never even need to worry about a chimney fire.

    There are many, many folks here with many more years of experience of burning wood who have never had a chimney fire.

    As for the analogies . . . they don't quite work for me since with a woodstove you are often the one controlling things -- i.e. if a person burns unseasoned wood, doesn't run their stove/chimney hot enough and doesn't inspect or clean their chimneys on a regular basis then it shouldn't be such a surprise to have a chimney fire . . . whereas turning off an airbag or not wearing seatbelts because one is a good driver doesn't always work since it may be the other driver that runs into your vehicle . . . and taking down smoke detectors because the house is wired correctly is fine -- except that fires can start in many different ways, not just electrical.

    That said . . . I think you and I both agree that it is a legitimate question to ask . . . and that folks should know what they can do in case of a chimney fire (incidentally calling 911 should be on top of that list) and in fact I've posted many a time about some of the tips of the trade that folks can utilize that are known to work (i.e. firing off an ABC extinguisher in to the stove/clean out, on masonry chimneys with clean outs using some water on hot embers to produce steam, etc.), but my point I was making is that many newbies are concerned about a problem that often need not exist with some basic prevention (good wood, hot enough temps and proper maintainance).
  6. KSgrown

    KSgrown Member

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    It does work, because I am TOO good of a driver, I don't get into wrecks, therefore no need to deal with the consequences of having a wreck. The analogy was not to be taken literally, but thanks for explaining your interpretation.

    Regardless, newbies should not be made to feel stupid for asking that question and deserve a proper answer, one that is not "don't have chimney fires." What if I'm at a friends or relatives house and they experience a chimney/flue fire? Telling them to burn dry wood isn't going to help anyone. I am here to gain information, not to get ridiculed if I ask a question that someone who has been burning for 45 years thinks is dumb. This last statement applies to the OP, Osage Orange that is 15+ years old (probably twice that), I have no idea how it will react inside of a stove. Thankfully, lukem and tfdchief have and they both gave me the answer that I needed. This thread was not started to address chimney fires and I'd like to keep it that way. Any experience with extremely old osage orange, hedge, yellow wood, hedge apple tree, whatever you want to call it, let me know about it. Thanks.
  7. tfdchief

    tfdchief Minister of Fire

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    KS, I think you took Jake wrong. He was trying to help. Us firefighters just desperately don't want you to have a chimney fire. They can be really dangerous from so many perspectives. First of all they will certainly test the integrity of your system. If it has a flaw, it is sure to manifest itself in an extension of the flue fire to your structure. Even if it holds up, it may ruin the chimney. So be as sure as you can that your system is in good safe condition. Then good burning habits are so important. And I think that means more than dry wood. You need to get to know your stove and chimney well, how it reacts to all burning situations, dense wood, dry wood, different species, high wind, barometric pressure and humidity, size of the load, etc. Start small and work your way up. And of course smoke detectors and CO detectors. Here is another chimney fire remedy you might want to have on hand for insurance. Chimfex
  8. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    Ya gotta admit it is a good question - as stated above - what about at a friends or relatives and something happens outside of the known elements under your own control (or your neighbor is yelling).

    Come on hose draggers>> - just answer the darn question.::-)

    ^^^^ - this, of course is in the most respectful sense==c
    cptoneleg likes this.
  9. BIGDADDY

    BIGDADDY Feeling the Heat

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    I'm a hose dragger but not a fireman. I try not to be so sensitive. Everyone has their own communication style.
    I think we should all have a plan in case of any kind of fire. An exit stragedy and meeting place outside the house. Like Jake was saying I believe and ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure or someone said that once.
    Happy burning everyone.
    How bout that hedge wood!
  10. Jags

    Jags Moderate Moderator Staff Member

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    I have one of the originals - you know - BEFORE the factory burned down.!!!
    tfdchief likes this.
  11. tfdchief

    tfdchief Minister of Fire

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    Call the "hose draggers";lol
    OK but, just remember, chimney fires are dangerous! Things that can be done AFTER you call the "hose draggers"

    Shut all the air down that you can, damper, key damper, primary air, secondary air. A chimney fire creates an incredible draft so shutting it down is difficult. See what happens. If that doesn't work, carefully open the door, it may be a raging inferno in the fire box, or it may not be, but be prepared. (As Jake once said, "don't do it in your jammies") Then place wadded up wet paper towels, or a Chimfex stick, or baggies with dry chemical fire extinguisher powder, into the fire box and shut the door. If you must use water, use very little to create steam up the chimney. Water can damage your stove and the steam can come back in your face and burn you. If you can safely get to the roof, dry chemical fire extinguisher powder in a plastic bag thrown down the chimney sometimes works. Have someone else monitor the chimney if you can access it. It is going to be HOT. Chimney fires are very difficult to control and often burn themselves out before you can do anything. Sometimes the burning creosote causes a clogged chimney and the chimney fire is then burning below the clogged area with no where to go. It will then, likely come out the fire box door when you open it. CLOSE IT and wait for the fire department. They have ways to deal with that. Either way, you MUST call the fire department. They can check for extension to the structure. They have thermal imaging cameras that can detect a fire in the wall that might smolder for a long time.

    I hope this helps. I am sure I have left something out. All chimney fires are not the same.

    Chief
    Dairyman likes this.
  12. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    You may rest assured that the intention was not to make anyone feel stupid . . . that's one reason this is my favorite site . . . it doesn't matter if you've joined the day before or five years ago . . . everyone is welcome and all input is appreciated . . . folks that ask questions -- even if they've been asked a bazillion times before (i.e. What type of stove should I get? Why doesn't my new-fangled woodstove work? etc.) are patiently answered instead of being brusquely told to do a search.

    Rather, my intent was to suggest that while the concern is legitimate . . . you can avoid even having to worry about this situation in most cases by running the stove properly, following the proper installation directions, burning seasoned wood and checking/cleaning the stove regularly. I sincerely apologize if you think I was ridiculing you as that is not the way I roll.

    Since you asked . . . and Jags is "needling" me a bit . . . if a chimney fire did break out I would suggest several options.

    1. Call 911 . . . first and foremost. You may not need the firefighters . . . but better to have them on their way. You can always call back and inform them that the fire is under control.

    2. Cut off the air to the stove and chimney. Block the incoming air of the stove (it behooves folks to find out where the air comes into their stove) . . . you can use some aluminum foil. This may be more difficult with inserts. The fire will most likely continue to burn, but without a good draft moving through the fire may slow down some.

    3. On masonry chimneys with clean outs (we see a lot of these up here still vs. installs with liners, Class A, etc.) you can open up the clean out and fire an ABC dry chemical extinguisher or if any hot embers drop down you can sprinkle a little water on them which will convert to steam.

    4. With stoves with "direct" connections with a liner, Class A, etc. you may have some luck in opening up the door and firing off the extinguisher or throwing on some water soaked newspaper -- but honestly we try not to do this in the FD . . . partly because of the mess and because of the possible damage to the stove.

    5. Our preferred method of extinguishment involves getting on a roof and dropping down "chimney bombs" of ABC dry chemical extinguishing agent in plastic Ziplock baggies . . . or we drop a brush down . . . or sadly in most cases, and these seem to be the ones we always get called out to . . . drop a heavy steel weight and chain down the chimney. to knock out the creosote plug that is often formed.
  13. KSgrown

    KSgrown Member

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    I appreciate the apology and the explanation. You didn't necessarily make me feel stupid, as I have prepared myself to not have a chimney fire in the first place, as I explained many times. It was when you stepped in and changed the direction of this thread with this comment, which I felt was unnecessary:

    I don't doubt that it gets asked a lot and I'm not questioning the idea to preach prevention. I understand that it is your job to educate the people that will listen, on how to prevent fires, and then go put the fires out when others don't listen, unfortunately.

    It's sad when I have reservations about starting a thread for fear of people picking apart my every word to tell me I'm doing it wrong... Sure enough, when I merely mentioned the idea of adding semi wet wood to tame a fire that became too hot while burning petrified hedge, it turned into me needing a key damper and destined for a chimney fire. Ok I get it, adding partially wet wood is a bad idea, even if my fire is getting too hot and I'd like to cool it down so I can regain control. You know what? I'd rather create a little creosote to calm down an over-fire and clean it up later, then risk damaging my stove from too high temperature. And this whole thread is based on "what-if" scenarios, I'm not practicing bad habits here, just asking questions about wood that I am unfamiliar with.
  14. KSgrown

    KSgrown Member

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    I'm obviously just venting at this point, sorry about this rant. It just got under my skin a little when I ask a simple question about a very unique species of wood and the comments start focusing on my setup, my operation skills, my burning techniques, etc... I'm not usually this sensitive and the chimney fire comments weren't out of line. Sorry if I lashed out a little too much on some of my comments, I know there wasn't any malicious intent with anything said in my direction.

    Thanks for everyones input.
    As Dennis would say, Keep Smiling! :)
  15. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    No worries . . . it's all good! :)

    And unfortunately . . . I don't have much experience with osage orange or any of those really good woods other than a bit of black locust . . . and I've only burned some of that in a camp fire as it wasn't seasoned enough to my liking.
  16. Backwoods Savage

    Backwoods Savage Minister of Fire

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    Actually I think this tread has a great ending. Sometimes it pays to look twice at the words you have chosen and think how others might interpret them. Personally, I've started to answer posts and actually deleted everything I typed after reading them because I thought someone might be hurt when reading it. Words do have power; power to instruct, power to please and power to hurt. Let's choose wisely whenever possible.
    Billybonfire, chvymn99, ScotO and 4 others like this.
  17. jjholb99

    jjholb99 New Member

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    I have really enjoyed the arc of this thread...ended up providing lots of good info from both the wood burning AND chimney fire perspectives.

    KSgrown: I have installed a CW2500 and begun to use it this week. Have you done any more experimentation regarding controlling/preventing over firing? As was mentioned early on in the thread, the controls on this stove affect only primary air, not secondary. The last fire I had in it ended up with a beautiful secondary burn (logs added to full bed of coals, fire box approx 2/3 full). The thing is, my inlet damper ended up at fully closed position. Not a problem on a calm night, but what if a steady breeze outside upped my draft? I know I can keep an eye on the weather and compensate by using less fuel, but I'd sure like to have more control.

    I saw key dampers mentioned before, but that might not be very practical in this insert stove.

    I haven't looked closely enough yet - is there a way to access the secondary air inlet on this particular stove? Wondering if it could be blocked off in an urgent situation? (As Jake eluded to earlier.)

    I also have some questions about the blower, but I'll save them for a follow up post.

    Thanks all....

    Jim
  18. KSgrown

    KSgrown Member

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    Jim,
    I think I can help a little with your questions. I will say that the few times that my stove has gotten really hot, it has seemed to level out finally and not end up being a problem. I just shut down the primary air as much as I can and keep an eye on it, it has never over fired. Now could it happen that the right weather conditions induce more draft? Probably but I haven't had that problem. I really wish there was a more accurate way of getting the flue or stove top temperatures, but I can't access my flue very easy and there really isn't a traditional "stove top" on the CW2500. I also agree that a key damper isn't very practical on this insert.

    About the secondary air inlet, I emailed some people at SBI International shortly after I got my stove in 2010 when I was researching if I could use outside air as combustion air. The first response wasn't helpful but after I asked the right questions, they got me someone who could give a good answer. I was asking if there was a way to attach an outside air kit for this stove, to provide combustion air directly from outside, as it mentions in the manual. This was his answer, I pulled out the good parts from two different emails:
    "Hello Doug, the primary air intake is controlled by the ‘air control’ at the front of the stove. The secondary air intake cannot be seen from the unit but feeds the secondary air tubes. "
    "There is no fresh air kit for the insert. The reference to make up air in the manual is when there is a negative pressure problem in the house causing draft problem"
    "Secondary air tubes are feed from the rear of the base the air travels up the enclosed channels and fed directly to the tubes and when the firebox is hot + fresh air + smoke from the fire below = combustion in the upper area of the firebox…..this is normally seen as something similar to how a burner on a propane BBQ is seen."

    I hope that helps answer your question! He also sent me some 3D isometric views from a CAD program. If you want to see them you can PM me and I can email them. I actually didn't find them to be useful and I use CAD almost everyday. They didn't cut the section in the right spot to see the secondary air path.
  19. ailanthus

    ailanthus Feeling the Heat

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    I've got some 20+ year old BL that was stored in a neighbors metal-roofed shed (i.e. kiln?) in my stacks for this year. It's got me a little nervous, too. Planning on starting with small loads & work my way up. I have a 28' chimney and have a key damper to help control things as well. Good luck.
  20. nola mike

    nola mike Feeling the Heat

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    No, you can't shut down the secondary air. The bigger question is how do you know you're overfiring on an insert? I've had this one for 3 years, and still struggle with it. Can't measure stack or stovetop temps.
  21. jjholb99

    jjholb99 New Member

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    Thanks for the response KSgrown - you confirmed my hunches. Like nolamike points out, we're limited in what we can see with the inserts. On days when the draft might be increased, I suppose I will just start small and build gradually.

    Regarding my questions about the CW2500's blower, should I continue on in this thread or start another?

    TY!

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