WARNING! Re Dangerous Explosions!

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Last week we decided to try one of our newly purchased sawdust logs in the wood burning stove. The stove is a very heavy Fisher, dual cst iron doors, heavy thing. I put in one "sawdust log, lit it, produced real good heat, nice color, then shut the doors on the stove. WOW! It blew! Knocked open the stove doors and sent smoke everywhere, blew the stove up off the pad about two inches, went up the chimney, and distorted the chimney cap. Scared me to death. We put it out quickly with the fire extinguisher (please make sure you have one NEAR your fire). We checked the stove top to bottom, and had to repair some crunched stove pipe (that must have been some kick). Then hubby decides I must have done something wrong and decides HE is going to try it and just knew it would be OK. Well guess what folks. Happened again. Have never been so scared. We have everything repaired again, all pipe verified and checked, stove checked. Will NEVER use them again. We have burned wood for many years and have never had anything like this happen. Just glad the fire extinguisher was close. After considerable checking, we have found out that they are combustable if in a closed enviormnet, like with the doors closed. PLEASE, if you plan on using those sawdust logs (like thermal log, weight 11 lbs.) LEAVE THE DOORS OPEN, do not enclose them in a contained space, or just use real wood.

-- Nancy (HAYSandCO@aol.com), November 06, 1999



Got a brand name on this stuff? Aside from sawdust, what are the ingredients?

-- Not Whistlin' Dixie (not_whistlin_dixie@yahoo.com), November 06, 1999.

They can blow up in just a regular fireplace too! If they are 100.00% solid you can burn them anywhere. However, if they have a void (think swiss cheese) and that void is completely sealed from the outside, the heat from the burn will TRY to expand the air in that void, if sealed it can't expand, so the pressure just builds until it can blow up the log.

-- Ken Seger (kenseger@earthlink.net), November 06, 1999.

Was just wondering what type of logs were they? I have e-mailed duraflame logs about why the warning that they couldn't be used in a wood stove (I have a fire place insert) Their reason was that when you open the door to your stove the extra oxygen would cause the flames to shoot up possibly out the door. I personally have used them and just kept the door shut and had the vent open all the way.They never exploded though. But then they didn't weigh 11 pounds either. 5-6 pounds at best. Ice

-- Ice (icemanltd@webtv.net), November 06, 1999.

The brand name of the log was "ThermaLog." Weight 11 pounds. The packaging is red, yellow and black. The ingredients are NOT listed anywhere on the packaging, and the packaging indicates it can be used in any solid fuel appliance. No where on the log does it indicate that it should not be used in a closed enviornment. Hope this additional information helps.

-- Nancy (HAYSandCO@aol.com), November 06, 1999.

The brand name is "ThermaLog,", weight 11 pounds. There is a cardboard surrounding the log (ends open) which is red, yellow and black in color. The ingredients are not listed on the log or packaging anywhere. There are no warnings on the log about use in a wood stove or contained space. The log was manufactured in Dallas, Texas. Instructions say log is safe for use in any solid fuel appliance. There are three holes which go up through the center of the log, do not see any other holes in the log, besides the three. The force of this caused it to be necessary to replace several sections of pi[e, which were pretty scrunched by the force of the stove moving upward. Hope the additional information helps. (Posted it earlier but not sure where it went.) Nancy

-- Nancy (HAYSandCO@aol.com), November 06, 1999.

Just a SWAG, but it's *possible* that the volatiles were driven out of the chopped wood at a faster rate than they are from "real" wood, and with the doors closed, they built up to a dangerous concentration.

During WWII, the Germans used the principle to drive trucks using wood as fuel. Logs in a sealed vessel with a wood fire underneath. The heat baked out the volatile elements from the wood in the container, and it was piped to the carburetor where it mixed with air, and ran the engine. (They also ran it through some filters and I think also removed moisture and acidity, but the main thing is that the gasses that bake out of wood can be explosive.)

-- Ron Schwarz (rs@clubvb.com.delete.this), November 08, 1999.

My SWAG is petroleum fumes from the paraffin. Normally, at least in my experience, these logs are made from sawdust and wax. Wax vapors are as flammable as gasoline in the right concentrations. I think it's called "LEL" Lower Explosive Limits. You might call the company for a MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for the logs or contents of them. Since they don't seem to explode during the "doors open" burning, I'd try it that way, but with a fireplace screen and flammables away from the stove. I've got a Fisher 2 door in my living room, and for the extra heat, leave the doors open and the dampner closed as far a to keep the smoke out of the Living Room. Give it a try and call the company. Jim

-- Jim Miller (millerized@erols.com), November 08, 1999.

Jim, thank you for your insight and response. This explains a lot. Thanks again. Nancy.

-- Nancy (HAYSandCO@aol.com), November 08, 1999.

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