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Wood Stove Question


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#1 Alc ONLINE  

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Posted November 17, 2014 - 06:41 AM

We have a Vermont Casting Vigilant  ( pre cat ) stove in our basement , we only use it when it's very cold or damp . I don't have a source of free wood so I'll buy a cord every few years and just use branches that fall off our trees .most of the time   Last night had a little fire going using some news paper and small sticks , under 2" , after about 3 hours of use , filling it with the same a few times my wife and I heard what sounded like a " thump " looked around the house , didn't se anything but when I opened the basement door there was smoke and as I walked down the stairs the basement smoke alarm went off . It seem like something " exploded " in the stove , enough that it moved  the lever on the side that directs the flue gas for going straight out the top or through the passageways in the rear chambers of the stove . Anyone have had this happen to them and what causes it ?  


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#2 shorty ONLINE  

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Posted November 17, 2014 - 07:02 AM

That is something that would happen to my parents stove a time or two a year. We thought it came from having it drafted back fairly hard with a smoldering fire. When the conditions are right, it will flashover in the stove. It would shove the smoke out every seam in the stove pipe and knock open the cleanout door in the chimney. It can scare ya good, but we never had anything serious come from it.


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#3 HANKG ONLINE  

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Posted November 17, 2014 - 07:10 AM

Sounds like it smoldered and the heat and smoke built up and combusted at once in the secondary cat with enough force to close your damper in the flue pipe letting the smoke fill the room ?
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#4 IamSherwood OFFLINE  

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Posted November 17, 2014 - 07:23 AM

I agree with the above.

When the gasses ignite there can be quite a repercussion.

 

Side story.

A few years ago, a couple guys where bucking up fallen trees along a back road.

Several times, they didn't get everything moved before the day ended, only to

find it gone in the morning. They decided to find out who was stealing their wood, and

drilled a hole in the end of a block of wood, insert part of a stick of dynamite, and

plug it with wood doweling. No one got hurt, but lazy man had to buy a new stove.


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#5 New.Canadian.DB.Owner ONLINE  

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Posted November 17, 2014 - 08:13 AM

It happens to us occasionally.  Normally when it has been smoldering but getting hotter, i.e. when we toss some wood in and then close the damper to soon.  It will also happen if the chimney is partially obstructed.  Might be time to clean the chimney.


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#6 Alc ONLINE  

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Posted November 17, 2014 - 08:45 AM

  This stove doesn't use a flue dampener only has a bimetal closing flap on the intake side , so it might have been closed off , having it smoldering ?  Will check out the chimney too just in case Thanks   


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#7 cpg OFFLINE  

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Posted November 17, 2014 - 10:46 AM

I agree with gas buildup. I have a large outdoor wood boiler and if I open the door just after the draft has shut from running it has some gas buildup and I have just about lost my facial hair a few times when a fireball flares up out the door at me!


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#8 Jazz ONLINE  

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Posted November 17, 2014 - 12:05 PM

Never had it happen and I burn wood in my garage for years. Currently have a 4 year old Pacific Energy stove. I would contact a local vendor/installer and get their opinion. Would not want to hear about a larger explosion from your chimney.... I would also do as others say and check for obstructions and clean chimney.


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#9 toomanytoys84 OFFLINE  

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Posted November 17, 2014 - 12:16 PM

Do you have a chimney cap?

 

Was it windy?

 

Maybe it was a large gust of wind that caused a back draft?


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#10 robert_p43 OFFLINE  

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Posted November 17, 2014 - 12:25 PM

This is caused by instability of the fire; air mixture, and gasses coming off the heated wood. I recently bought a Vermont Castings Dutchwest catalytic stove and then read about this.  I am not sure how the air is fed into your stove, but although the inlet on my stove is at the bottom, air passes through a manifold and actually enters the firebox, above the fire.  The wood gets burning, then as it heats up, wood emits gasses that burn. Then the air hits it above the wood, instead of under and causes an explosion. Some call that back puffing.  Actually, any stove can do this, even my little Jotul 602 occasionally. It happens more with glass front stoves because they design the airflow to come down across the glass to keep the glass cleaner.  My guess if that although yours in non-catalytic, and probably a solid door, the airflow design might be the same, so as to use the same parts for different Vermont Castings stoves.

Here is a link to the article that I found. It was the first logical explanation I found.

http://www.ihateflee...f/Dutchwest.cfm


Edited by robert_p43, November 17, 2014 - 12:28 PM.

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#11 robert_p43 OFFLINE  

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Posted November 17, 2014 - 01:36 PM

oh, if you have used this stove for years and it never happened before, do as others have said and check the obvious.  Clean chimney and cap makes all the difference in the world with backdrafts.


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#12 propane1 ONLINE  

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Posted November 17, 2014 - 05:12 PM

I had that happen in my stove in the garage while working. I would here a thump and look around and see nothing, then as they happened i figured that the wood in the stove was moving as it burned and fell. These were only small thumps.  But some how i finally figured out that i was getting small explosions.  I also figured thats why house fires at night in houses happen. People fill the stove for the night, close the drafts and it smolders, then the explosion, and if the pipes are not secure it blows the pipe off the stove and fire comes out then the house fire starts. Just my opinion,  Noel


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#13 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted November 17, 2014 - 05:58 PM

A small fire that is barely burning will often cause puffing in my Jotul 602(a great stove). Just burn a little hotter and check the flue. Good Luck, Rick
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#14 Alc ONLINE  

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Posted November 17, 2014 - 09:08 PM

The air comes in near the bottom left side towards the front  , exits either straight up the top or lower right rear  where is goes back and forth  through rear section of the stove before going up the stove pipe . There's a cap on the chimney ,wasn't too windy when it happened . Never thought wood would make a gas that would cause that


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#15 Oldford OFFLINE  

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Posted November 17, 2014 - 11:27 PM

We had an old VC reliant or vigilant, cast iron no firebricks, it was mostly air tight but had several gasket surfaces, dual front doors, top door that would wear the gaskets and had inconsistent air flow, occasional whoomps and smoke puffs.  No ash pan can also cause inconsistent burn patterns depending depth of ash pile inside.

I was always replacing gaskets, metal gasket on the top door lasted longer than fiberglass.  Glass window would fall out sometimes too, lot of 'moving' parts on those stoves

make sure all the little screws are tight, also if it has an air intake adjustment, down low near the back i think. 


Edited by Oldford, November 17, 2014 - 11:31 PM.

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