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  • Staying Warm

    Hat Tip Get Pandemic Ready Org
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    Re: Staying Warm

    If you are thinking about installing a woodstove, here is some good information from Michigan State University:

    Wood Stoves


    The hazards of heating with a wood stove include
    fires started by heat radiated or conducted by the stove,
    stove pipe or chimney to walls, floors and other
    combustible materials; fires started by sparks and
    glowing coals falling out of front loading stoves when
    opened, and fires started by flames leaking out of faulty
    chimneys or burning or glowing material coming out of the
    top of the chimney. A chimney flow reversal is also
    possible, leading to either flames or smoke coming out of
    the stove's air inlets.

    Before installing, seek advice from your stove
    dealer, your local building inspector or fire department.
    And check with your insurance agent. The insurance
    company may have its own specifications for installation
    and, since you are changing the method of heating your
    home, your agent must be notified in order to maintain
    fire insurance coverage on your home.

    The National fire Protection Association (NFPA) has
    developed standards for clearances from walls and
    ceilings that are the basis for many local building
    codes. (Vis. T1) All combustible materials, woodwork,
    unprotected walls, furniture, firewood, etc., should be no
    closer than 36 inches to a wood stove. A stove pipe should
    not be closer than 18 inches to an unprotected ceiling.
    These distances are important because wood that is,
    continually reheated will ignite at much lower
    temperatures than fresh wood. A new wall will start to
    burn at between 500 and 700 degrees F. If this wall is
    continually heated over a period of time the wood will dry
    and eventually may start to char because of radiant heat.
    The ignition temperature can drop to 200 to 250 degrees F.
    For this reason an improper wood stove installation
    becomes a potential time bomb.(Vis. 1) shows proper

    Wall Protection

    A simple test will tell if you have enough clearance
    to an unprotected wall. Place your hand on the closest
    surface. If you can keep your hand there comfortably
    while the stove is operating, the location passes the
    test. If not, you need additional protection.

    Spacing asbestos millboard or 28 gauge steel 1-inch
    away from the wall allows you to reduce the distance a
    stove can be placed from the wall. (Vis. 2) These
    materials absorb heat radiated from the stove and the
    spacing lets air circulate behind the panel and cool the
    area between the wall and the panel. The spacers should be
    made of non-combustible material. A 1- to 1 1/2-inch gap
    between the panel and floor and at the top of the panel is
    necessary to provide proper air flow. Asbestos millboard
    is different from asbestos cement board or asbestos
    transite board. Cement board or transite boards are both
    hard, slate-like panel materials designed as a name
    barrier. They provide little in terms of heat resistance
    and will conduct heat to any combustible surface to which
    they are attached. Asbestos millboard is a soft,
    lightweight panel product that can be easily cut with a
    saw or utility knife.

    WARNING: Inhaling asbestos fibers may be harmful. The
    effect of long term exposure is not completely known.
    However, you should wear a protective mask when cutting
    asbestos products.

    Since brick and stone are good conductors of heat,
    they offer little protection if placed against a
    combustible wall or have wood studs behind them. To be
    effective, bricks must be placed out at least 1-inch from
    the wall with air gaps at the top and bottom. You can
    provide these air gaps by using half bricks on the top
    and bottom row. Stoves can be placed as close as 12
    inches from the brick facing if you provide an air space
    behind the brick.

    An inexpensive and temporary way to protect a wall if
    you already have a stove installed closer than 36 inches
    to an unprotected wall is to provide a baffle. This
    baffle could be sheet metal, hardware cloth or cement
    board **** on metal brackets approximately 4 inches
    behind the stove.

    Floor Protection

    All floors on which stoves are installed, except
    concrete, must be protected from both heat of the fire
    and hot coals falling out when fuel is added. Metal with
    asbestos backing and asbestos millboard are non-
    combustible materials used for floor protection.
    Fireproof clay tile, slate, brick, colored pebbles
    and marble chips can be used alone only if they are
    mortared in place with no gaps. If they are not mortared
    or have gaps, then metal or asbestos millboard must be
    installed between them and a wood floor. A 2-inch layer
    of ashes or sand or bricks laid in the bottom of the
    stove helps to insulate the bottom of the stove and
    protect the floor. In general, 18 inches is enough
    clearance to protect the floor if it is covered by
    non-flammable material, such as a sheet of 24 gauge metal
    or brick or fireproof clay tile. If the stove legs are
    from 6 to 18 inches long, 24 gauge sheet metal laid over a
    1/4-inch sheet of asbestos millboard is needed. Legs of 6
    inches or less require 2 to 4 inches of hollow masonry
    laid to provide air circulation and covered by 24 gauge
    sheet metal. If the stove has no legs, provide a sturdy
    support to allow air circulation under the stove.

    The floor protection should extend at least 12 inches
    beyond the sides and rear of the stove, and at least 18
    inches beyond the stove front, to protect against falling
    embers and for loading wood or removing ashes.

    Before installing heavy protection materials such as
    brick, check the floor to make sure it can handle the
    increased weight. You may want to reinforce the joists
    under the floor. Consult a carpenter if necessary.

    Stove Pipe

    The stove pipe or chimney connector runs from the
    stove to the chimney. Many fires associated with wood
    stoves are caused by unsafe stove pipe installation. A
    safe installation requires proper material, construction
    clearances and does provide proper draft. A 24 gauge or
    thicker metal is recommended; lower gauge numbers
    indicate thicker metal. This gauge will provide better
    protection in the event of a chimney fire and will also
    resist chemical corrosion longer. Most stoves use either
    a 6 or 8-inch stove pipe. Using stove pipe that is
    smaller in diameter than the fire box outlet will reduce
    combustion efficiency and may cause improper draft.

    Keep the connector pipe as short as possible. lt
    should not be longer than 75% of the vertical chimney
    height above the flue inlet (where the connector pipe
    enters the chimney). The maximum length is 10 feet. If the
    pipe runs horizontally, it should have a rise of at least
    1/4-inch per linear foot from the elbow or stove outlet to
    the chimney inlet. Use 45" angles to create an upward
    slope in the flue connector pipe. Try to have no more than
    one right angle turn between the stove and chimney.
    Additional right angle bends can cause soot and creosote
    to collect in the smoke pipe or chimney, blocking flue
    gas flow and increasing the danger of a fire.

    The connector pipe diameter should be as large as the
    flue collar (where the connector pipe joins the stove).
    When joining sections of the pipe, overlap the joints at
    least 2 inches, with the crimped (male) end pointing down
    to prevent creosote drip or leak. Many house fires have
    resulted from stove pipe joints vibrating apart during a
    chimney fire. Secure each joint with at least 3 sheet
    metal screws. A fireproof sealant may be used in addition.
    (Vis. 1)

    Clearances from a connector pipe must be 3 times the
    pipe diameter (a 6-inch pipe needs 18 inches clearance)
    unless the wall is protected. (Vis. 3) You should not pass
    a stove pipe through a combustible wall but if a stove
    pipe must pass through an interior combustible wall in
    order to hook up with a chimney flue, there are 4 ways to
    do this safely. (Vis. 4)

    1) Use an U.L. "All Fuel" thimble extending through the
    wall, with a wall hole 4 inches larger than the thimble
    diameter. This permits the placement of an insulating
    material such as fiberglass or rock wool between the
    thimble and the wooden framing of the wall.

    2) Use a ventilated thimble that is as least 3 times
    larger than the stove pipe. For a 6-inch stove pipe, use
    a thimble that is 18 inches in diameter. This type of
    thimble is not readily available but can be fabricated by
    a sheet metal shop. Ventilation through this thimble is
    an essential aspect of its design; the ventilating holes
    on either side must not be blocked.

    3) Use a fire clay thimble surrounded by 8 inches of
    brick work or non-combustible material such as rock wool

    4) Use no thimble but remove all combustible materials
    within 18 inches on all sides of the stove pipe. Material
    for closing this opening must be non-combustible, with
    insulating properties.

    When the wall is cut between supporting studs for the
    thimble, inspect the opening to make sure there are no
    electrical wires or conduit in the space between
    adjoining wall studs. Heat from the stove pipe may be
    sufficient to melt the insulation on wire in this space,
    causing an electrical fire.

    Stove pipe should not pass through ceilings, closets,
    or outside a building. Holes in the ceiling (including
    hot air registers) permit fires through upper floors. A
    closet fire could smolder and spread undiscovered.

    Running a stove pipe out a window and up the outside
    wall of the house is a dangerous practice, because the
    pipe cools faster than a prefabricated metal chimney and
    allows a rapid creosote buildup. Wood burners sometimes
    recommend long spans of single thickness stove pipe as a
    heating device. This idea had some merit when used with
    old fashioned inefficient stoves where much of the heat
    went up the pipe. Today's airtight stoves are more
    efficient and this practice may cause rapid creosote

    Some stove installations require a damper either
    built into the stove or in the pipe near the stove to
    control draft and loss of volatile gases. Check the
    recommendation of the stove manufacturer.

    When connecting the stove pipe to the chimney make
    sure the fitting is snug at the flue inlet. Use the
    proper thimble. The pipe must not project into the flue
    itself, since it would hamper draft.

    Long stove pipes and those with restrictions should
    be cleaned frequently to prevent creosote buildup and
    possible chimney fires. The entire length of the stove
    pipe must be easily inspected, firmly fastened at the
    joints and kept free of all combustible materials. Tap
    your pipe to check its condition several times during the
    heating season and before starting the stove each year.

    Additional Precautions

    1. Chimney and chimney connectors require regular
    inspection and cleaning to remain reasonably safe.
    Chimney fires are a common problem. There are several
    factors that can cause a chimney fire.

    2. Furniture, wood, newspapers, matches, etc., can ignite
    if placed or left too close to a stove. These materials
    must be kept at least 36 inches away from the stove.

    3. Stove surfaces can become as hot as 800 degrees F. At
    this temperature, combustible material can ignite and
    plastic material will melt. Be careful when drying
    clothing, making sure that nothing is dangling too near.
    Also, remove any slipping or tripping hazards near the
    stove to reduce the risk of falling against it and
    perhaps suffering a severe burn. Small children must be
    taught to stay away from the stove. You should erect some
    kind of barricade around the stove if you have crawling
    tots who are too young to be verbally warned.

    4. Never use kerosene or charcoal lighter fluids to
    start a fire. Also, do not burn trash in your stove.
    These materials lead to hot uncontrollable fires and may
    cause a chimney fire.

    5. Keep the fire controlled with the dampers. Do not
    let it get roaring hot. A fire properly controlled is
    safer and more efficient.

    6. If you want to keep your fire alive all night or
    when you are away from the house, bank the fire with
    ashes or damper it way down. Do not retire or leave home
    with a roaring fire going in the stove.

    7. Place ashes in a lidded metal container. Because
    they might be hot, clean up any ashes or cinders that
    spill out on the floor.

    8. Wear gloves when handling rough or splintery chunks
    of wood. If they are heavy, take care not to strain
    yourself or drop them on your foot.

    9. You can burn wood in a coal stove, but you shouldn't
    burn coal in a wood stove unless it is lined and
    designed for it. When you add coal to an approved stove,
    keep the stove pipe damper open until the fuel is burning
    well to avoid a potentially explosive buildup of gases
    from the coal. Heavily laden coal buckets can also cause
    strains and other mishaps if they are not handled

    10. Take down the stove pipe at least once or twice
    during the heating season and clean out the soot.
    Removing the accumulated soot saves fuel, increases heat
    and minimizes the danger of fire.

    11. If you have yet to equip your house with fire
    warning devices, be sure to do so when you install a
    stove. Install a smoke detector in an adjacent room to
    avoid false alarms when you recharge the stove or from
    backpuffing due to wind.

    12. Before opening the fire box to add fuel or just to
    look at the fire, always open the stove pipe damper
    first. This allows gases to escape up the chimney and
    eliminates the possibility of "flare up" when air
    suddenly comes in through the door.

    13. With today's tightly-constructed houses, there may
    not be sufficient air leakage for efficient stove
    operation. By providing an outside air inlet, you prevent
    the possibility of a reverse draft which may suck carbon
    monoxide fumes from combustion-type (natural gas, etc.)
    appliances and discharge them into the living area.

    This information comes from Michigan State University
    Extension bulletin E-1390, Wood Stove Installation and

    "It's been said that a long straight row of firewood standing in the yard in springtime is like money in the bank.
    It is indeed.
    As it dries in the summer sunshine, you're collecting interest."