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Chimney fire?

Discussion in 'Off Topic Threads' started by Frank C, Dec 18, 2010.

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  1. Frank C

    Frank C Well-Known Member

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    In my woodstove I have been burning for the last few weeks some 2x4 cut offs and some scraps or construction material, chip board along with regular wood....tonight I had some regular wood in and had been neglecting it and it was going out so I threw in some pieces of 2x4 and left the door cracked open a bit to get it going again, I came back a few minutes later to a roar, closed it up, closed the damper intake and it wasn't getting any better, so I lit off a "flare" called Chimfex, supposed to burn and give of fumes that choke the flames, it worked in a minute or so, but my concern is WHY.....was it because of the amount of the 2x4's I had been burning, they do seem to be sooty . FYI the stove was new a month ago, new pipe out to chimney, and the chimney was cleaned before the season....only been burning in it for a month or so.

    I am thinking that the flames that were going thru the stove to the pipe ignited the creosote from the pine??

    I am spooked to say the least about burning it again.....comments? Questions? Frank C

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  2. Bob Schultz

    Bob Schultz Well-Known Member Supporting Vendor

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    Burning pine in a woodstove is asking for a chimney fire. Stick with hardwoods like oak. Maple burns ok but doesn't give as much heat for some reason.

    Bob
     
  3. Jennifer

    Jennifer Member

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    I don't know if you've had a free standing wood stove before, but it sounds like you had the perfect storm of bad burning practices going on there. Chip wood and other lumber types have glues and other creosote-causing compounds in them. I don't know how dry they are either. Burning wet wood creates an unbelievable amount of creosote. Burning wet pine is even worse - pine puts off lots of creosote whether dry or not. So after a few weeks of you doing that, your chimney got loaded with creosote, and then your woodstove over-fired big time. It's really dangerous to leave a wood-stove cracked like that, they can over-fire very quickly and get damaged. You gotta get your stove burning good, then keep an eye on it until there's a good amount of hot coals, find a happy medium where you can leave your dampener in one position, and then after that you can come and go without worrying too much about it. If your stove's glass is getting blackened, your wood needs to be dryer and cleaner (no lumber materials). We burned wet pine one winter and had so much creosote build-up the chimney had to be swept 3 times, and we had a chimney fire between sweeping 1 & 2! Stay away from wet pine, lumber, cardboard, etc. and only burn woods that are dry, preferably fir or better. We're burning off the last of our seasoned pine but next year we'll have some red fir which will be slightly better and it will also burn longer. Also, try not to burn your fires too low, they need to be clean burning without much visible smoke, or you're gonna have too much creosote sticking to your chimney. If you truly had a chimney fire, then your chimney is probably clean now, but to be safe you might want to have it swept and inspected and start over with clean, dry wood. Also those chimney sweeping logs are handy to use once or twice a season, I think they really help! Good luck! J
     
  4. omgb

    omgb Well-Known Member

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    The problem comes from burning the composite lumber and junk like plywood scraps. Those glues are nasty in a slow burn stove. When you stoked it with the 2x4s either pine or spruce, and left the door open, you had some flame enter the main flue and you lit the creosote residue left from slow burning the scrap. Baking soda would also have helped to put out the fire but what you did was also good. Never burn scrap like ply or OSB and never leave the door open and walk away.

    I once had a chimney fire so intense that the pipe was almost translucent. It sounded like a run away freight train. very scary stuff. Glad you made it OK.
     
  5. Shooting Jack

    Shooting Jack Active Member

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    You can go to your local ACE store or most hardware stores including Lowe's, Walmart etc. and purchase a burn log that will clean you flue from the damage you did with the pine boards. Jackie B.
     
  6. Frank C

    Frank C Well-Known Member

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    Hi Bob, Since posting I have done a google search about burning "Mill Ends", EVERYONE has said, don't, they burn too damn hot, they are SO dry that they burn too hot with lots of flame...just asking for trouble Chimne fire, I have 4 trash barrels full, along with some cardboard boxes....looks like I will just use it for kindling..... or take it to the Bobhouse while Ice Fishing!!

    I have plenty of hardwood.....just figured it was a good way to get rid of the scrap....live and learn! On a positive note, I can pass on that this Chimfex fire suppresant flare works QUITE well!!
     
  7. Frank C

    Frank C Well-Known Member

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    thanks for all the replies!! Maple and Oak for me!!
     
  8. oldgahchamp

    oldgahchamp Active Member

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    Frank, I use Creosote Remover made by Rutland Products in Rutland,Vermont. I buy it at Tractor Supply but I'm sure it is available elsewhere. 1 scoop weekly keeps my chimney clean. I got on my roof about 3 weeks ago and the chimneys are OK. This stuff works good. We have 3 wood burners, a large fireplace, a wood burning furnace in the basement and in our kitchen, an antique "Home Comfort" cook stove that my Grandparents originally bought in 1917. We burn a lot of wood in the old cook stove. In upstate NY we wouldn't even think of burning pine as we have a large supply of Oaks, Maple, Black Walnut, Hickory and Locust. (mine is free if you don't count labor, chain saws, gas, oil, trailers, log splitter, tractors, etc.). You should get a magnetic thermometer to monitor your flue pipe temps. As some earlier posters said, the biggest key to burning wood is DRY,SEASONED wood. Larry Evans
     
  9. crusha

    crusha TS Member

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    Is it safe to burn treated lumber? I mean, a lot of talk here about creosote, but what about the chemicals in that stuff?
     
  10. Frank C

    Frank C Well-Known Member

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    Buzz, I did a google search, some lumber has chems, some maybe not, but it is too dry and will burn too hot and too fast, leading to a Chimney fire!
     
  11. 221

    221 Banned User Banned TS Supporters

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    DO NOT BURN TREATED WOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!

    It's actually Illegal to do so, in some states

    Even burning it in a bonfire is a NO-NO
     
  12. halfmile

    halfmile Well-Known Member

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    The older treated lumber has arsenic in it.

    Darwin will be watching.

    HM
     
  13. Limpy100

    Limpy100 Member

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    Frank c From a fire fighter of almost 60 yrs and dept chief for 10 yrs the first thing to do is wet news paper and put it in the stove.As it burns it will put the flu fire out then the flu must be checked and cleaned.The logs for cleaning the flu after work great.Only dry wood can be used jn any wood or coal stove.
     
  14. Tripod

    Tripod Well-Known Member

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    I used to burn only dry hardwoods and still had fires. I used stainless steel triple lined flue and the air circulated around the central flue and kept it cold compared to the gasses going up the flue. Even with the air mixture ideal there are unburned components going up the flue and when it is a cold long flue those combustibles will condense on the flue and as soon as an extra hot fire is built, they will run down the flue and ignite and there is your chimney fire. I have seen creosote as thin as a coat of paint melt and ignite. All of the advice mentioned helps, but when the flue cools down things will begin to accumulate and build up and eventually cause problems.
     
  15. hmb

    hmb Well-Known Member

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    The noise a chimney fire makes is one thing, but if you have a chance next time take a look at what is coming out of the chimney. HMB
     
  16. Auctioneer

    Auctioneer Well-Known Member

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    First find a GOOD CHIMNEY SWEEP. Ask your insurance who they have on their list of co and or people. Then go to your local firedeptment and ask them. We did that and had one name come up from both lists. We have had him for 15 years plus.

    We clean our chimney every summer. We get a better job and price during the summer when he is slow with nothing to do. HINT. By doing so the insurance can't say you did something wrong if he cleaned it.

    All season wood. My wood is seasoned for a year in a shed under cover. I do use some pine from the woodshop but just to start the fire but NO PINE THERE AFTER. Oak, Locust, Hickory, alittle bit of Cherry and Walnut, Chestnut if we loose a tree and only the small stuff that can't be cut for lumber.

    If there is anothe chimne fire DO NOT LET THE FIREDEPT PUT WATER DOWN YOUR CHIMNEY. NOT EVER. Have them there in case the fire jumps from your chimney to your house. If water hits your HOT chimney it will crack the chimney to the point you WILL have to rebuild it. You don't want to have to pay for a new chimney. Just let it burn itself out and cool itself in time. Then when its cool then have your chimney guy clean it and put a camera down the chimney to see if its alright.

    Don't be cheap and do what you have to to protect your house and keep a chimney fire from happening.
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  17. Auctioneer

    Auctioneer Well-Known Member

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    I read above and someone said they burn Maple. Maple is a light wood that will burn fast and give very little heat for the work you put in to getting it. Stick with the wood I listed above.

    Just burn dry wood, no pine, no sapy wood and clean your chimney every year and you will be fine.
     
  18. Dahaub

    Dahaub Active Member

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    I used to burn wood years ago and had an old timer tell me a trick to keep the creosote out of the flue and that was to burn what has been advised by the others here and once a week when you are going to be home for an evening. To throw a double handful of rock salt on the fire. That will burn really hot and keep the flue cleaned out of soot buildup. Make sure you are going to be home during this time as the extra heat could start a flue fire if there is a build-up of creosote.

    My experience with a flue fire was quite an ordeal.:) The build up was so great that when it started the roar of the flames going out the triple wall pipe was loud enough to awaken me and it actually melted the cap at the top of the pipe. It happened to be below zero that night and I was throwing water balloons on the roof of the house when large balls of burning creosote would come out of the pipe and land on the roof. If we hadn't had a birthday party just before this event I doubt the balloons would have been available to us. Dan
     
  19. Auctioneer

    Auctioneer Well-Known Member

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    There was a guy in my area that put a woodstove in his house and had a ROOF fire. Yes a roof fire. He had Cedar Shingles. A metal and or asphalt(sp) shingles are the best to have when using a woodstove in the house.

    I read in the paper that a guy someplace in the state cleaned out his woodstove of ash. He had a poarch fire that almost burned down his house. He put the ash in a cardboard box and then put the box on his wood poarch. Some people shouldn't be permitted to have matches.
     
  20. Ljutic111

    Ljutic111 TS Member

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    My favorite wood that had the most heat was 3 year old Locust . Longest burning and not much residue . What not to do is add a wood burner flue into a gas furnaced chimney . If there ever was a fire the insurance company will not pay a penny . There is plenty of warnings not to mix different fuels into the same chimney . Also make sure there is a clean out at the floor to get the sash out . I was cheap and didn`t have a place for an extra chimney . One time I took my 5 in. gas furnace flue off to clean my humidifier (had to so the bottom would come off) and found that the whole chimney was full of ash , almost closing off the 5 in gas flue -- 1 inch left for the carbon monozide to enter . I caught it just in time or we would have died in our sleep within a week or so . Since then I disconnected the stove and never used it again . I also had a creasote cap close off the complete chimney about 3 ft from the flues and had to drop a shotbag with chains down on a rope from the top to break it loose . I have much respect for wood burners now . We`re still alive and never had a chimney fire .
     
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