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Discussion Starter #1
Nothing says "good morning!" like waking up to the stove pipe glowing red and crackling. This was the worst we've ever had and shutting it down didn't help, just had to sit by with a fire extinguisher trying not to panic. It was cleaned 7 weeks ago, for crying out loud. So, time to swap stoves and install some new pipe because we have this problem, albeit in more minor form, every year. Anyway, thought I'd share. Now might be a good time for a chimney safety overhaul if you, like me, have been putting it off.
 

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Sorry about your troubles indie. Good thing this happens now and not after SHTF. I'd hate to think where you'd get replacement anything :(

Was the flue stuck closed?

When you find out what exactly happened, let us know?

This is for a wood stove, right?

I've been wanting to buy one, but I live in a trailer. This kind of thing happening in my house would be the end of it. Not just glowing pipes :(
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Well, they build up with creosote from normal burning, which is why they have to be cleaned regularly. If you burn with temps too low, or early in the season when it doesn't burn 24/7 so has lots of temp fluctuations, more creosote builds up. I've never had a chimney fire start during the day; just in the morning when you open it back up to heat. The temp change, especially on cold days like today, seems to make it ignite more easily. So the more creosote in the chimney, the hotter and longer it will burn. My mom used to stuff newspaper up there and light it to burn it off. o_O Maybe I should do that every so often to keep it from getting too thick!

A little burning isn't bad, but it scares the crap out of me when it glows red because then I worry it's hot enough to ignite the wall behind it. I think the reason it wouldn't shut down is that it was too well lit when I caught it, having been cozied up in bed. :( Usually I hear it and shut it down right away so it fades out quickly.

I had some stove guys out last year and they think the pipe might not have been installed properly up in the ceiling so it doesn't draw right. The problem is that this stove is homemade (why I like it, my both now-dead Grandpas built it together, so it's sentimental) and would cost about $2k in parts and labor to be fitted with double wall pipe. I have a newer stove sitting that I was going to install because the pipe feeds out the top instead of back so it can be installed properly but I hate to give up my old stove.

Also, the newer stoves have air space above the burning box, which means you can't really cook on them because the top never gets hot. The flip side to this is that they burn more efficiently and don't build up creosote as much.

Makes me want to just fill up the oil tank and heat that way. No chimney fires then!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
That's a great idea! I've been planning an outdoor kitchen for a while now. Hmm...
 

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Haven't cleaned my chimney in 3 years. Yes, I check it before using it in the fall and a couple times through out the year. I KNOW the reason why I don't have creosote build up is burning ONLY dry oak. Usually cut 2 years before burning and covered so the wind can blow through and dry it out.

Right now I have next years, 2014-2015, wood cut split, and stored. Fresh cut logs are stacked and ready to cut and split for 2016 maybe into 2017. Always cut in the fall not the spring when the sap is running. If your burning fresh cut wood you will have problems. Especially if you have any pine mixed in.

Also helps to open up the furnace and burn out the chimney very couple days for and hour or so. This will burn out the creosote before it builds up to much. Keeping it shut down and burning slowly is another fire just waiting to start.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
Pine is awful. We don't have hardwoods here but burn tamarack and fir primarily. Hoping to have a log load delivered in the spring so we can start getting ahead. Nice that you've got so many years ahead!
 

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If the fire burns hot (fast) enough the amount of creosote buildup is very low. "Banking" a fire to make it burn slow (like one would do overnight) causes creosote buildup very quickly. When I had a wood stove I would get the fire going very hot very quickly. Then I would let it burn at a more sedate rate until I was ready to let it burn out at which time I would again get it very hot. This cycling keeps the creosote buildup down and prevents chimney fires. There are also copper nitrate powders that can be added to the wood to keep the creosote burnt down to safer levels.

If, like most people who run wood stoves, you keep the fire low and constant then invest in some chimney cleaning equipment to clean your chimney monthly. Once you get into the habit, and are prepared to do it, keeping your chimney clean is relatively easy. Even on a 60 degree roof the job is easy and safe with a "built in" ladder that goes to the chimney and a cap that is made to remove and replace easily. Under emergency circumstances it is going to be hard to find a chimney sweep to come over and clean it for you - so you might as well learn a new trade and get the tools for the job.
 
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Discussion Starter #10
Part of my problem is that I don't run it hot often enough. Mostly because we had a bad run with a stove that was defective and wouldn't shut down so chimney fires were BAD and now I'm scared of them. Just need to revamp the whole chimney system so it's double wall, then let the baby burn!

The hubster does the chimney cleaning. It's really inexpensive to buy a cleaning tool and a very simple process, if you don't mind heights.

You can buy double or even triple wall, so even in a mobile home, your chimney will be pretty safe even when it burns. We just have single wall though, hence the concern. So I don't want anyone reading this to be worried that wood stoves aren't safe, because they really are, especially if you invest in higher end pipe and pay attention to what you're doing. I've had wood heat most of my life and nothing beats the heat or cost effectiveness of wood. Plus, the peace of mind in knowing that the house will stay warm when the power is out is worth the rest of it.
 

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Indie, when we put the stove, I built, into the "cabin" up in NE Washington we installed a triple wall pipe because it had to go through the loft floor and the roof. We knew that we were going to burn the fires slow because it was easy to get the cabin over 90F with a small fire and the stove was made to shut the air off completely if we wanted to. We have not had a problem - other than keeping the temp down to 80F. Even using "squaw wood" it heats the place up to where I have to go outside to cool off. The stove is only 12" wide by 15" high and 15" deep. The cabin is only 400 sq. ft. and it is well insulated so we could probably heat it most of the time with a stove half that size. There is a period in the winter that the temps outside drop to -30F and lower and the little stove does great for that two weeks.
 
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Discussion Starter #12
We always used to keep a door open in the kitchen where the stove is because it keeps things so hot. I don't now because of the kids, but the kitchen is not a place we spend much time in the winter!

Is that the cabin your brother lives in now?
 

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We always used to keep a door open in the kitchen where the stove is because it keeps things so hot. I don't now because of the kids, but the kitchen is not a place we spend much time in the winter!

Is that the cabin your brother lives in now?
Yes, that's the one. we call it a cabin but it is a stick built modified "A" frame. It was originally designed to be the storage shed for when we built the real homes. The problems with the local religious zealots ended that line of thinking. My brother stays in it year round - unless he comes down to spend some time at our new digs. 5000 feet above sea level means about a 30 day growing season but the hunting is good.
 
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Chimney maintenance is very important due to the facts regarding chimney fires. It is very crucial to have your system cleaned regularly for hazard free operation of the chimney or fireplace.
 

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I can't even wrap my head around this. As a kid in Texas we only had fires maybe once a week - usually on the weekend and only for two months out of the year. Never once had to clean a chimney and never had a fire that we knew about.

Is that because of the low volume? Is that because we had stone chimneys? Why is this such an issue up north but not in the south?
 

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I can't even wrap my head around this. As a kid in Texas we only had fires maybe once a week - usually on the weekend and only for two months out of the year. Never once had to clean a chimney and never had a fire that we knew about.
Is that because of the low volume? Is that because we had stone chimneys? Why is this such an issue up north but not in the south?
I'm not sure either, I think the chimney sweeps spread the fear of chimney fires. We had a fired clay chimney when I grew up... no fires, I run one with a 10"X10' steel chimney... no fires, I run a pellet stove up a 4" double wall stove pipe, no fires, and I run it every day all winter.

Rancher
 

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Never had a chimney fire either except for frying a few bird nests in the Fall. Sounds like somebody was using some kinda crappy wood in there.
 

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I've heard some horror stories from the elders in my family, and their friends. Worst thing I've seen was where a guy I know, cut a hole in the side of his trailer house, and ran a stove pipe out the side. He laid brick down for the stove to sit on, and used tin foil and fiberglass insulation to plug up the gaps around the pipe. Genuine *******.
 

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Evergreens and pine will kill ya

We always burnt oak and hickory... beech...Beech ranks right behind Ash....Ash is used for Louisville Slugger baseball bats....Tough stuff! If you can get ash..its great but due to the Emerald Ash borer here in Kentucky tree's are dying fast and they don't want you to transport it.

You can make body armor outta beech for a 22 rifle just a quarter inch thick

An 8 inch beech log 20 inches long will burn 20 hours plus...the stuff is tough!!

How's Beechwood for firewood?
 

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Long ago we had a brick chimney that ran inside the plaster walls. My brother burned a lot in winters but never cleaned the chimney since it was a 3 story house. Too much trouble I guess but getting on the roof by the chimney was very easy. He had a chimney fire violent enough that it blew the brick chimney wall out through the plaster wall on the 2nd floor.

In a SHTF scenario you will be the only chimney sweep while burning a lot of whatever wood you can easily get. Keep a chimney brush if you have a chimney. Those chemicals help reduce creosote buildup but not that much and a slow all night fire will build creosote rapidly.
 
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