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Jennifer McM

Rudely woken by the CO Alarm

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Luckily we replaced our alarm in the summer with two carbon monoxide Fire Angel alarms, one fore, one aft! The stove is fore, our bed is aft.

 

At 6 this morning the alarm kicked off by the bed. After scrambling out of bed, the levels were 55 ppm at the bed, and by the stove the alarm (which didn't kick off) read 45 ppm (guess the eco fan does work :) )

 

Chimnea was swept last autumn before the fire was lit, so it does need doing now, but we're on the wrong side of the towpath presently. There doesn't appear to be any damage or wear and tear on the stove and flue. 

 

It was a windy night last night, and I should think the wind was blowing down the chimney. We've got one of those hat's, with three legs at top of the flue. We've had smoke coming back in the boat before (though not since the stove was lit this time) when the wind was in the wrong direction. Think we'll have to think about a new system on top of the flue instead of the hat type, maybe there's one that's a bit safer?

 

Wondering what sort of 'hat' we ought to get?

 

 

Edited by Jennifer McM

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4 minutes ago, Jennifer McM said:

Luckily we replaced our alarm in the summer with two carbon monoxide Fire Angel alarms, one fore, one aft! The stove is fore, our bed is aft.

 

At 6 this morning the alarm kicked off by the bed. After scrambling out of bed, the levels were 55 ppm at the bed, and by the stove the alarm (which didn't kick off) read 45 ppm (guess the eco fan does work :) )

 

Chimnea was swept last autumn before the fire was lit, so it does need doing now, but we're on the wrong side of the towpath presently. There doesn't appear to be any damage or wear and tear on the stove and flue. 

 

It was a windy night last night, and I should think the wind was blowing down the chimney. We've got one of those hat's, with three legs at top of the flue. We've had smoke coming back in the boat before (though not since the stove was lit this time) when the wind was in the wrong direction. Think we'll have to think about a new system on top of the flue instead of the hat type, maybe there's one that's a bit safer?

 

Wondering what sort of 'hat' we ought to get?

 

 

 

I bought a moving cowl (from a boat based chimney supplier) and find it very useful. It fits both chimneys, the solid fuel stove in the back cabin and the Lockgate diesel in the saloon. The Lockgate is quite vulnerable to wind in the first hour after lighting, the cowl has cured this.

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Never had a hat on a solid fuel stove chimney on a boat, never seen the point. I do cap the flue at roof level when leaving the boat.

Only time our CO alarms went off was when the case of the 20year old stove cracked. And again it wasn't the one nearest to the stove but the one in the sleeping area.

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First thing I'd do is look for signs of a partial flue blockage.  Depending on where the flue leaves the stove (mines rear exit, most probably top exit) look for a buildup of soot or debris, maybe a pile on top of the throatplate.

A good way to "sweep" the chimney is dangling a length of chain down, standing on the roof.  Clear any fallen debris away.

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Loddon said:

Never had a hat on a solid fuel stove chimney on a boat, never seen the point. I do cap the flue at roof level when leaving the boat.

Same for me.  always remove chimney and put  on cap when leaving the boat.  If the stove is still alight, it goes out fairly quickly when the cap is put on (stove stays alight when all air controls are closed), but alarm registers a CO figure, up to about 45, afterwards.

When we get smoke blowing back out of the stove, apart from when it is just lit it indicates that the flue needs cleaning or crud removed from above baffle plate.  I would have thought the hat would increase the draw on windy days, it does on my stove without a chimney hat.

Edited by dor
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9 minutes ago, Jennifer McM said:

Luckily we replaced our alarm in the summer with two carbon monoxide Fire Angel alarms, one fore, one aft! The stove is fore, our bed is aft.

 

At 6 this morning the alarm kicked off by the bed. After scrambling out of bed, the levels were 55 ppm at the bed, and by the stove the alarm (which didn't kick off) read 45 ppm (guess the eco fan does work :) )

 

Chimnea was swept last autumn before the fire was lit, so it does need doing now, but we're on the wrong side of the towpath presently. There doesn't appear to be any damage or wear and tear on the stove and flue. 

 

It was a windy night last night, and I should think the wind was blowing down the chimney. We've got one of those hat's, with three legs at top of the flue. We've had smoke coming back in the boat before (though not since the stove was lit this time) when the wind was in the wrong direction. Think we'll have to think about a new system on top of the flue instead of the hat type, maybe there's one that's a bit safer?

 

Wondering what sort of 'hat' we ought to get?

 

 

There is a school of thought that to have a Chinaman's Hat on the stove chimney when the fire is lit is not necessary, and in fact can do more harm than good. Flue gasses can condense and cool on the underside of the sloping hat sides and then may run back down in the form of tar. Because the sloping sides extend further than the chimney, some drips can fall on the roof causing nasty tar stains.  If the fire is lit the updraught of hot air will prevent rain from going down the chimney. I have been removing the Chinaman's hat from the chimney for a couple of years or so and it does seem to work.

 

Howard

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"H" top stops downdraughts but looks daft.

Spinning pigeon on top stops spinning after a while then its worse than nothing.

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1 hour ago, Jennifer McM said:

 

 

At 6 this morning the alarm kicked off by the bed. After scrambling out of bed, the levels were 55 ppm at the bed, and by the stove the alarm (which didn't kick off) read 45 ppm (guess the eco fan does work :) )

 

 

I've got one Fire Angel and one Kidde. Pretty sure I read in the instructions for one (the FA probably as it's newer) that the the alarm only goes off when it reaches 50 so that probably explains why it didn't sound on the one by the stove.

 

 

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3 hours ago, Loddon said:

Never had a hat on a solid fuel stove chimney on a boat, never seen the point. I do cap the flue at roof level when leaving the boat.

Only time our CO alarms went off was when the case of the 20year old stove cracked. And again it wasn't the one nearest to the stove but the one in the sleeping area.

That's interesting! Thanks

3 hours ago, NB Esk said:

First thing I'd do is look for signs of a partial flue blockage.  Depending on where the flue leaves the stove (mines rear exit, most probably top exit) look for a buildup of soot or debris, maybe a pile on top of the throatplate.

A good way to "sweep" the chimney is dangling a length of chain down, standing on the roof.  Clear any fallen debris away.

 

 

Yes, I think that might be a problem, although there is a good draw. As soon as we swop towpath sides, we'll take the fire to pieces and give the chimney a good clean. Thanks

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3 hours ago, howardang said:

There is a school of thought that to have a Chinaman's Hat on the stove chimney when the fire is lit is not necessary, and in fact can do more harm than good. Flue gasses can condense and cool on the underside of the sloping hat sides and then may run back down in the form of tar. Because the sloping sides extend further than the chimney, some drips can fall on the roof causing nasty tar stains.  If the fire is lit the updraught of hot air will prevent rain from going down the chimney. I have been removing the Chinaman's hat from the chimney for a couple of years or so and it does seem to work.

 

Howard

Thanks for that! Yes, the 'hat' is the like a Chinaman's coolie hat. I think you've hit the nail on the head. We don't burn wood, but we've got tar running down the side of the boat's cream paintwork. 

 

Chinaman's hat is coming off!

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We had similar a couple of nights ago when it was very still...CO alarm went off...checked stove and all looked ok...opened windows and all seemed ok. I then let the fire go out and took the baffle plate out...there was a fair amount of crud on it plus on further investigation of the flue a layer of cement like substance caused I think from burning man made ovals had fallen off from the inside of the flue pipe and was partly blocking it...I hadn’t really noticed it wasn’t drawing as well but I must say now the pipe is clear again it’s drawing much better....think the moral is to check the flue often even if this means letting the fire go out..I also think the ovals we are burning this year although the same brand as last year have a different make up and produce more binding agent which clogs the flue up. 

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Don't eat over cooked Brussel sprouts and the like before going to bed. Too many calories, PPM too high. You might need a new catalyst or Lambda sensor fitting.  :closedeyes:

Edited by bizzard
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4 hours ago, Jennifer McM said:

...

At 6 this morning the alarm kicked off by the bed. After scrambling out of bed, the levels were 55 ppm at the bed, and by the stove the alarm (which didn't kick off) read 45 ppm (guess the eco fan does work :) )

...

We have only got the one by the stove. And an eco fan too. I thought it would pick up the CO first. (The alarm, not the fan.)  We need to go shopping another one, I see.

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Just now, Sally Grim said:

We have only got the one by the stove. And an eco fan too. I thought it would pick up the CO first. (The alarm, not the fan.)  We need to go shopping another one, I see.

The stove is near the two bow doors, both of the doors have a grill, and probably a draft from the grills pushed the air through the boat to the back, where the gas accumulated. Helped along I think by the eco fan.

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3 hours ago, bizzard said:

Don't eat over cooked Brussel sprouts and the like before going to bed. Too many calories, PPM too high

Is that Parps per Minute?

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6 minutes ago, TheBiscuits said:

Is that Parps per Minute?

In time with the alarm bleeps.

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Thank you everyone for replying, and thanks for your advice.

 

Here's the culprit, it's a fatburg clinkerburg of tar and creosote (I think). Goes to show how this stuff builds up, to only having an inch or two diameter hole for the smoke to escape. 

 

The chimney was cleaned before we lit the fire last autumn. Since then we've burnt 13 x 25kg bags of Excel, and 12 x 20kg bags of New Heat. That's 565kg of coal burnt since September. It was probably November when the fire was kept in for 24 hours

 

We've been burning New Heat (was told this will replace Excel???), it's good, but it's chemically. 

 

Fire was left to go out last night (glad the weather had warmed up). Today we got the bottlebrush out rattled a length of chain down the flue.

 

Note to self: Clean the chimney more often. Note to everyone: Don't ignore an alarm.

 

chimney.jpg.64164ea6d803f8dfe30a19c2b410492a.jpg

Edited by Jennifer McM
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5 minutes ago, Jennifer McM said:

Thank you everyone for replying, and thanks for your advice.

 

Here's the culprit, it's a fatburg clinkerburg of tar and creosote (I think). Goes to show how this stuff builds up, to only having an inch or two diameter hole for the smoke to escape. 

 

The chimney was cleaned before we lit the fire last autumn. Since then we've burnt 13 x 25kg bags of Excel, and 12 x 20kg bags of New Heat. That's 565kg of coal burnt since September. It was probably November when the fire was kept in for 24 hours

 

We've been burning New Heat (was told this will replace Excel???), it's good, but it's chemically. 

 

Fire was left to go out last night (glad the weather had warmed up). Today we got the bottlebrush out rattled a length of chain down the flue.

 

Note to self: Clean the chimney more often. Note to everyone: Don't ignore an alarm.

 

chimney.jpg.64164ea6d803f8dfe30a19c2b410492a.jpg

An easier way to clean the flue is to gaffer tape a wire brush to a broom handle and shove it up and down the flue a few times from the roof.

Remember to close the stove door and the air controls.

 

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On 08/01/2019 at 14:30, Jennifer McM said:

The stove is near the two bow doors, both of the doors have a grill, and probably a draft from the grills pushed the air through the boat to the back, where the gas accumulated. Helped along I think by the eco fan.

 

On 08/01/2019 at 14:37, Sally Grim said:

I haven't realised that CO could be accumulating in one end of the boat. A scary thought!

 

CO being heavier than air will move downhill and begin to collect at the lowest point. 

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I had a hunch it might be something like that, hence my post leaning away from the flue hat.  Presumably you'd had that set up for a while so if something changes......prolly summat else, 🙂👍

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Jennifer McM said:

Thank you everyone for replying, and thanks for your advice.

 

Here's the culprit, it's a fatburg clinkerburg of tar and creosote (I think). Goes to show how this stuff builds up, to only having an inch or two diameter hole for the smoke to escape. 

 

The chimney was cleaned before we lit the fire last autumn. Since then we've burnt 13 x 25kg bags of Excel, and 12 x 20kg bags of New Heat. That's 565kg of coal burnt since September. It was probably November when the fire was kept in for 24 hours

 

We've been burning New Heat (was told this will replace Excel???), it's good, but it's chemically. 

 

Fire was left to go out last night (glad the weather had warmed up). Today we got the bottlebrush out rattled a length of chain down the flue.

 

Note to self: Clean the chimney more often. Note to everyone: Don't ignore an alarm.

 

chimney.jpg.64164ea6d803f8dfe30a19c2b410492a.jpg

Looks like you've been bunging on wet or damp coal-smokeless fuel. The moisture mixes with the binding material and turns into a cementhard like stuff instead of just loose soot. If you keep  the stove burning bright and hot it wouldn't matter, but I daresay, like most folk it just ticks over gently most of the time especially at night which can cause it.  When smokeless fuel is perfectly dry it is a sort of dark grey colour.  If it looks jet black its wet or damp.

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I made this Meccano trivet that covers my stove top to dry the coal first. Wet or damp coal goes on the righthand side and works around to the left hand side from where it is used. Don't plonk it directly onto the stove top plate, it will stink.

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