Wood stove scares

Discussion in 'Countryside Families' started by Janette, Dec 1, 2006.

  1. Janette

    Janette Well-Known Member

    Sep 3, 2003
    Okay, folks...I have a fire phobia, and got the scare of my life today. Was chatting with my DD and heard this loud poof. The woodstove has glass or whatever it is in front and my normally quiet fire was up and raging. a few minutes later it had died down and then came another louder POOF and it was raging again. My "heart was in my throat". Could the window blow out when this happens???? My DH once said I should maybe open A window to give it more air. I remembered that and opened the kitchen window just a crack....it was minus 18 celcius. The flames filled the stove immediately and didn't die down for awhile. I guess that's what it needed. But minutes later...there musta been a down draft outside, smoke smell was coming into the house. So the smoke went up the chimney, out to back and into my kitchen window. GRRR... I had to shut my window again. :shrug:

    So, all you woodstove owners...what's going on? :help:
  2. JennNY

    JennNY Mom to 6 great kids!

    Aug 10, 2006
    Upstate NY
    Have you cleaned out the chimney lately? When we have smoke, that is the first sign that our chimney needs a cleaning. Was it windy where you were today? Maybe the high winds were affecting your fire?


  3. insanity

    insanity Well-Known Member

    Aug 22, 2004
    Clarksville TN.
    I dont no whats going on but i thought id share our experience which sounds very similar and maybe it will help some one figure it out.
    Ive never witnessed it but my mom had told me that when she lived in my grandmothers house that her wood stove used to do that every so often. And it would blow the ash door open and hot ashes out in the floor if the door wasn't latched. Well if it wasn't latched then it had to be getting plenty of draft. So that kinda rules out a down draft causing it to flame up violently all at once. Which is what i thought it might have been. Unless like you said maybe the house isn't letting in enough air. (Which does kinda sounds like your problem.) Or maybe the flue wasn't heated enough for it to draw in the first place. Then it could go poof as it catches air down the flue. Humm flash point ?
    Anyway I'm thinking that when we moved, that same stove worked great in the other house. So I'm thinking it had something to do with the flue at the other house. It never did draw very good.
    But i also remember her saying she thought that the green wood had something to do with it. We have always burned some green wood and never had another stove do that.
  4. RoseGarden

    RoseGarden Well-Known Member

    Jun 5, 2005
    I too would first suggest checking to make sure your flue and/or stove pipe and spark arrestor cap are clean and clear. It sounds like your stove may be 'back puffing' or 'back drafting', which happened to me before. Long story short, the stove itself was fine, the stove pipe was fine, but the wire mesh on the spark arrestor cap at the top of the stove pipe was completely gummed up with black crusty creosote, and the stove could not exhaust properly. Once I got up there on the roof and removed the cap and scraped the crust off the wire mesh, the stove could draw properly again.

    I hope you solve your problem, I know it's scary when something like that happens.
  5. Bearfootfarm

    Bearfootfarm Hello, hello....is there anybody in there.....? Supporter

    Jul 12, 2006
    Eastern North Carolina
    RoseGarden has it right. Smoke builds up in the stove and flue, and when it finally gets enough oxygen it "flashes" Your flue isnt drawing like it should. Opening a window shouldnt affect the stove at all. Smaller hotter fires will help until you can get it checked out
  6. comfortablynumb

    comfortablynumb Well-Known Member

    Nov 18, 2003
    Dysfunction Junction, SW PA
    the stove sounds like it is getting vacuum locked, burning up the oxygen in the box, the draw makes a vacuum and then it sucks a huff of air in from some damper or draft screw. it is basically, backdrafting. there is an air feed problem, it is suffocating the fire then gasping air.... someting isnt right. remove all the bricks and the innards and clean the air channels and draft vents.
    then clean the chiminy.

    I dont think it will blow out the glass... most now have trasperent ceramic and its pretty tough stuff.
  7. Beltane

    Beltane Enjoying Four Seasons

    Nov 26, 2005
    Beautiful Milton, New Hampshire
    I agree with the others...it sounds like the smoke isn't going out the chimney right. I know we had a similar problem with our parlor stove, but we extended the length of the chimney and it fixed the problem. Good Luck - I can be paranoid about fire as well.