Close call

Close call

PostBy: treysgt On: Mon Mar 10, 2008 6:47 pm

I thought I would relay this story - it was quite scarey for me and may be of use for others who have a setup similar to mine.

I had to go out of town this weekend and left behind my wife and kids, wife tending the hand-fired (warning Will Robinson - danger!)

She called me Saturday night to tell me there had been a loud 'bang' in the coal stove. Though it has never happened to me, I have read enough in this forum to summize what had happened, and told her she needed to open the draft a bit more for a while to catch the large, new load of coal she had just put in ("So how did you know I just reloaded it?") :->

I told her it was no big deal, she just needs an open-fire spot and thought that would be the end of it.

She called again at around 5am telling me that both CO alarms were going off..! I had her open all the doors right away, dump the fire and bucket it outside. She happily flipped on the old oil furnace and went back to sleep. Around 9am she was trying to relight from scratch and she said the fire was not drawing at all, and then I realized what had happened.

I told her to go outside and see if the cleanout door of our exterior chimney was by chance open - and it was. Evidently the 'bang' was powerful enough to unlatch the cast iron cleanout door. Once her fire got down low enough by 5am, the open door caused the draft to fail. Thank God for the CO alarms.

So just an FYI - if you have a setup with a cleanout door be careful! I would never have thought it could have been knocked open like that. I will be installing a new latch on mine..

-Trey
treysgt
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Mark1

Re: Close call

PostBy: WNY On: Mon Mar 10, 2008 7:29 pm

You got that right! one of my CO's is mounted in the basement on the ceiling, if I open the door for too long (10-20 seconds), it starts going off. I have 4 CO and 6 Smoke detectors.....

I even bought a couple for my sister with her pellet stove, I put one in the living room ceiling going upstairs and one in the furnace room near the chimney.....

Can't be too safe! :)
WNY
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Keystoker 90K, Leisure Line Hyfire I
Coal Size/Type: Rice
Stove/Furnace Make: Keystoker, LL & CoalTrol
Stove/Furnace Model: 90K, Hyfire I, VF3000 Soon

Re: Close call

PostBy: steinkebunch On: Mon Mar 10, 2008 7:45 pm

I had a similar thing happen once. I loaded a fresh load of bituminous coal and snuffed the flames out. This was a common occurrence when first learning. I would then usually get the proverbial explosion and all was well. But one time I blew the cleanout plug off the stainless tee outside. I did not realize it for an entire day. The CO alarms went off about 5 hours later, so I opened the house up. Later that day, when I opened the load door, the smoke wanted to roll out the door badly (no draft). I finally wised up and went outside to find the plug blown off.

Lesson - leave a open spot of glowing flames, leave the load door cracked for awhile for plenty of secondary air(with my stove and bituminous coal), and most of all, attach all doors/cleanout plugs securely.

Be safe,

Steinke
steinkebunch
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Homemade Bituminous Hand-Fed
Stove/Furnace Model: Prill underfed stoker Model M8

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Re: Close call

PostBy: Wood'nCoal On: Mon Mar 10, 2008 9:25 pm

Been there, done that!

Minor Explosion In Coal Stove

I have a cleanout door on the bottom of the chimney for my Harman. It was loose in the opening so I secured it a while ago with sealant and anchors and screws. I also bent the tab on the door a little so it latches more securely.
Wood'nCoal
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: 1959 EFM 350
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Harman Magnafire Mark I
Coal Size/Type: Rice and Chestnut
Other Heating: Fisher Fireplace Insert

Re: Close call

PostBy: Rob R. On: Tue Mar 11, 2008 10:57 am

My cleanout door is at the bottom of the chimney near the basement floor, when I moved in the house I noticed that someone had leaned a cement block up against it. Now I know why...
Rob R.
 
Stoker Coal Boiler: EFM DF520
Hand Fed Coal Stove: Hitzer 50-93
Other Heating: Dad's 1953 EFM Highboy

Re: Close call

PostBy: chap On: Sun Mar 16, 2008 7:25 pm

WoW all this talk of CO2 is worrying me. Although I have a CO2 detector at the top of the stairs and 5 smoke detectors in my house but it still worries me. I have an external chimney on the outside of my house and my harman 3500 furnace is in the basement along with the clean out. My clean out does not have a door on it. I have the clean out plugged with fiberglass insulation. I have not had any problems but would still like others opinions on whether clean out door is necessary instead of the insulation.
chap
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Clayton
Stove/Furnace Model: going to Harman 3500A

Re: Close call

PostBy: Ed.A On: Sun Mar 16, 2008 8:53 pm

chap wrote:WoW all this talk of CO2 is worrying me. Although I have a CO2 detector at the top of the stairs and 5 smoke detectors in my house but it still worries me. I have an external chimney on the outside of my house and my harman 3500 furnace is in the basement along with the clean out. My clean out does not have a door on it. I have the clean out plugged with fiberglass insulation. I have not had any problems but would still like others opinions on whether clean out door is necessary instead of the insulation.

Most clean-out doors are cast iron and don't actually seal perfectly tight anyways. Its most likely more yours is sealed better, but it obviously won't stop a blowout from knocking it open.
Ed.A
 
Hot Air Coal Stoker Stove: Alaska Channing III/ '94 Stoker II
Coal Size/Type: Rice

Re: Close call

PostBy: treysgt On: Mon Mar 17, 2008 4:16 pm

chap wrote:WoW all this talk of CO2 is worrying me. Although I have a CO2 detector at the top of the stairs and 5 smoke detectors in my house but it still worries me. I have an external chimney on the outside of my house and my harman 3500 furnace is in the basement along with the clean out. My clean out does not have a door on it. I have the clean out plugged with fiberglass insulation. I have not had any problems but would still like others opinions on whether clean out door is necessary instead of the insulation.


Not sure how you have it 'plugged' with insulation, but that does not sound real safe. If you got a sizable explosion from the coal gases it might pop that insulation out like a cork. (Compare to the general rule that stove pipe sections should have 3 screws whenever they are joined together to handle the force)

Also, you MUST get another CO detector! When this incident happened, both of our CO detectors went off (the one next to the stove and the one near our bedrooms followed about 5 minutes later). My point being, what if we'd only had one and it failed..
treysgt
 
Stove/Furnace Make: Harman
Stove/Furnace Model: Mark1

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