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/ wood stove fumes
wood stove fumes
November 17, 2008 12:25 PM
I was not sure which forum to post this question on. I have a wood stove fireplace insert and an concerned about dangerous fumes. I have looked all morning for proper installation insturctions to avoid letting fumes back into the house. I am sure this is happening as the vent just goes into the fireplae and there is a fan to blow the heat on the back of the stove. I seem to be getting disoriented and think that might be the problem.
Matt from CT
November 17, 2008 11:24 PM
I don't really understand, are you having a problem or is it a hypothetical question?
A properly working woodstove will draw fresh air in and send the smoke up the flue.
Here's my inspection checklist off the top of my head:
1) There's no holes in the stove or pipes;
2) The damper in the chimney is fully open. This damper is normally closed when you're not using the fire place, in order to keep drafts out. When you have a woodstove installed, it should be left open, since you can control drafts by keeping hte stove doors shut when you're not burning.
3) Your chimney is clean.
4) If you have a damper along the stove pipe, it's fully open when starting the stove. This is an optional item (I've never personally run a stove with one). Some people use them, and once the fire is going well they will partially close this damper to reduce how fast smoke is going up the chimney, supposedly keeping more heat in the house.
5) You start a fire quickly, watch it adjusting down the dampers on the stove ("draft controls") appropriately. A small, hot fire is most efficient...instead of a smouldering one. Heat also helps to push the smoke up and out the chimney against the wind, etc. People with stove pipe dampers will sometimes use them to reduce "puff back" when opening the stove, particularly on stormy days or when the fire isn't burning well.
6) The chimney top is at least 3' above where it breaks the plane of the roof, and is 2' above anything solid within 10' horizontally of it.
As the wind blows over the roof or around substantial objects it creates eddys. These eddys can force air down the chimney, pushing smoke back into the house.
This problem is worse on windy days when you're first starting the fire (since the flue is cold, as it warms up it becomes harder for the wind to push smoke back down it). Chimneys on outside walls are worse, and outside metal flues are the very worst since they get the coldest and thus take longest to come up to operating temperature.
7) If the stove or pipes have recently been painted (using high temperature stove paint of course!), you will get a burning smell and small amount of smoke the first time you make a hot fire. AFAIK, that's just how it works. If you used regular rustoleum (that is bad), get ready for a heck of a lot of smoke as the paint burns off!
CO (Carbon Monoxide) poisoning should not be a problem with a woodstove. I've never seen an alarm go off due to the operation of the woodstove, it just doesn't happen (because it's venting through the chimney, and if it's not, it's real obvious something is wrong from the smoke filling the house). I *have* seen CO alarms be triggered due to complete idiocy regarding a woodstove -- twice from people emptying ashes into a cardboard box or plastic bucket and leaving the box inside the house. The CO alarm picked the CO from the still smouldering ashes before container caught on fire.
There are fan systems that blow through pipes, usually in the fire box, to capture more of the heat and distribute it by air convection in additon to the normal radiant heat from the stove.
Those shouldn't be a problem -- even with a hole in the pipe, the fan would blow air into the stove (which could be a *huge* operational problem, but not something that would poison you). With it off if gases are getting into the pipe, you'll get smoke from it too.
/ wood stove fumes
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