Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Do not do this

Do as I say, not as I do. Because what I do might lead to a chimney fire. That's when all the gunk inside the chimney suddenly bursts into flames and putting it out is difficult, messy and maybe even dangerous. So do not do what I do, even though it actually has never led to a chimney fire in my case, and even though in this forest we laugh about it and puff our chests and call chimney fire "the area chimney sweep".

What I do, and what you must never ever do, is to collect the embers in the stove in the evening in one corner and add a chunk of green wood. That's right, not a piece of nice, dry firewood, but quite fresh green wood. Never do this.

Then I put some glossy magazines over it all (pictured above, if poorly), and close the air intake. Newspapers don't work for this absolutely inexcusable routine. The embers slowly dry out the green wood, all the while keeping the stove quite, but not extremely hot. This is perfect, in fact, for keeping the room's temperature cozy and nice, but not sweltering.

The reason one should never do this is that the green wood and the low temperature conspire to clog the pipe with ever more creosote. So don't do it.

Then in the morning i shake everything up inside, the fire starts going, and I add some dry wood to crank up the heat.

I learned this from Ole Wik's book Wood Stoves: How to make and use them (mentioned previously). It sure is a nice trick when you have special, delicate guests who just don't see the thrill in waking up in sub-freezing temperatures.

But you must never do it.


Diane said...

LOL...I have seen many a woodstove chimney fires. Matter of fact I have been a witness also to too many black stove pipes turning bright red...and thankfully the house did not catch fire. WHEW!

Gwen Buchanan said...

Right now our second woodstove (Jotul F 600) in the main part of the house has been out of commission for a week while we figure out how to make a new secondary burn chamber and the baffle above it and then how to hold them all in place... the old one disintegrated.. it seemed like it was made from some weird clay material.. crumbled in our hands... Hope thick steel plate will suffice as the replacement part.. if you hear tell of a house fire in New Brunswick, it will be us...

Northmark said...

I have a friend who lived really far from other people and who kept a full set of spare clothes, some food and a gun in a shed fifty paces from his cabin. If worst came to worst, he would still survive.

By the sound of it, we should get one of those, all of us!