Getting Smoked Out

Discussion in 'General Q&A' started by Blitz, Apr 3, 2020.

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  1. Blitz

    Blitz Master Survivalist
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    This is kind of a survivalist topic, given that winter is fast approaching and I don't fancy freezing to death. Apologies if it should be posted elsewhere.

    I'm after my learned friend's opinions on what the hell I can do about my flue. It's been fine the past few weeks but I started the fire today and have literally got smoked out. Not just initial start up smoked out but smoked out all day. I've had to open all the doors and it's still smokey in here. It's akin to being in the bushfires again, breathing in a lungful of smoke. I can't see any obvious signs of where the smoke is coming from but am presuming the flue is blocked.

    Does anyone have any advice on how I can unblock it? Even if I could get a chimney sweep out in this neck of the woods (which is extremely doubtful) I can't afford one anyway. So any suggestions will be gratefully received.

    The poor dog refuses to come inside. I'm sure he thinks we're in the midst of another bushfire.
     
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  2. TMT Tactical

    TMT Tactical The Great Lizard !
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    If you have a flue damper, check to see if it has become closed or semi closed. Get a ladder and get on the roof and see if a bird has created a nest in your chimney pipe. Look for obstructions in your chimney pipe. The amount of smoke you are describing suggests a major blockage, not just a dirty chimney. You might be able to clear a bird or squirrel nest out your self, at little to not cost. JM2C.
     
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  3. randyt

    randyt Master Survivalist
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    if you have a clean out at the bottom, take a small mirror and angle it in there. You will be able to see the condition of the flue.
    If it needs cleaning take a small pine tree, trim all the branches except for the tip. Then use that like a cleaning rod or if possible drop a rope down the chimney and tie it to the pine tree tip and pull it up. or tie and a rope to both ends and pull it back and forth.
     
  4. Blitz

    Blitz Master Survivalist
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    Thanks TMT I'll try and get on the roof tomorrow and see what I can see. Not sure if the damper has become closed. It is open but I can't shift it either way without the use of a spanner as my hands aren't strong enough to check. It's a really, really, old wood fire. It was impossibly difficult to start this morning actually. I went through that much kindling and newspaper just to get it going. I was getting really annoyed. Once it did get going, I had it cranked up to buggery in the hope that it would dislodge any soot that may have accumulated, as the smoke was quite apparent. Unfortunately, it didn't help. Couldn't wait until it burnt out to stop the smoke, which naturally took all day, as I'd put on some large pieces of timber.
     
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  5. randyt

    randyt Master Survivalist
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    certainly sounds like a blocked chimney.
     
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  6. poltiregist

    poltiregist Master Survivalist
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    Is the chimney flue made of masonry or a series of 4 foot interconnecting lengths of metal flue pipe ? It does sound like the problem is in the damper area as it should not be hard to move .
     
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  7. Blitz

    Blitz Master Survivalist
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    Thanks randyt, I'm not sure if I'll be able to get to see the flue, even with a mirror. It's a really queer fire, it sort of angles at a strange degree. I don't think I'll be able to get anything up the flue but I'll have a good look tomorrow.

    I'll have to do something though, an even colder spell is coming through tomorrow and I sure as hell don't fancy sitting here freezing!
     
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  8. Blitz

    Blitz Master Survivalist
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    The chimney flue is a series of 4 foot interconnecting lengths of metal flue pipe. Hopefully I'll be able to determine if it's the damper tomorrow. I said *hopefully*!
     
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  9. Snyper

    Snyper Master Survivalist
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    You can clean a round pipe chimney from the top with some rope, a cloth bag and some small rocks to use as weights.

    Put just enough rocks to make the bag fit loosely inside the pipe, then tie the rope to the top. Clean the chimney with short up and down strokes and working from top to bottom.

    DO NOT just drop the bag all the way to the bottom.

    That could cause debris to jam it too tight to pull it back out.
     
    Last edited: Apr 4, 2020
  10. Blitz

    Blitz Master Survivalist
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    What a great idea Snyper! I'll definitely have a go doing that to give it a good clean out.

    In the meantime, it was absolutely freaking freezing here overnight at around 9 degrees first thing this morning. There was no way I wasn't going to have the fire going.

    So ... first I banged the crap out of the flue, then I violently opened and closed the damper numerous times, which brought all manner of stuff down. Lit it not long ago and she's going like a charm. No smoke. Yay!
     
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    1. TMT Tactical
      Glad to see you got it working. Heat is a real good thing in the winter.
       
      TMT Tactical, Apr 4, 2020
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    2. Blitz
      Thanks TMT (I always feel like writing TNT ... ). I went out this morning into the forest and got a carload of kindling. I'm going to have the house nice and toasty warm tonight!
       
      Blitz, Apr 5, 2020
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  11. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Legendary Survivalist
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    After getting flue unstopped, you gotta make sure that there is no creosote buildup lest you get a flue fire and burn your house down. The temperatures with flue fires is unimaginable and they find a hole in the side of a flue or chimney and shoot out that hole into the house like an enormous blowtorch and set your house alight.

    I've gone to painful expense to have my fireplace, wood-stove, and chimney put just right. I usually get a professional to clean them wherever I've lived.





    https://duckduckgo.com/?q=flue+cleaning+set&atb=v140-1&iar=images&iax=images&ia=images

    https://duckduckgo.com/?q=unstopping+a+chimney+flue&atb=v140-1&ia=web

    https://duckduckgo.com/?q=do+it+yourself+flue+cleaning&atb=v140-1&ia=web
     
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    1. Blitz
      Jesus Christ Gold Geezer. Thanks for that. I've missed the house insurance payment this month as I just can't afford it. Knowing my luck, that's exactly what will happen. I was in a good mood until I read your post ...
       
      Blitz, Apr 5, 2020
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  12. F22 Simpilot

    F22 Simpilot Master Survivalist
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    Fun fact. When I was a kid watching Mary Poppins I always wanted to be a chimney sweep. LOL
     
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  13. Blitz

    Blitz Master Survivalist
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    I'm sure there's a psychological deepseated reason for that fun fact F22. Would you care to elaborate? Or should you let my imagination do the elaborating for you? Hahahaha
     
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  14. F22 Simpilot

    F22 Simpilot Master Survivalist
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    I have no idea! LOL I also wanted to be a blacksmith.

    I think with the chimney sweep idea I had I just liked being on roof tops. When I was in high school and decorated the entire house on Christmas so bright a 747 could land on the roof top, being on the roof top was a whole new world.




     
    1. Old Geezer
      The Drifters. Thanks! I just got crushed with a ton of memories.
       
      Old Geezer, Apr 5, 2020
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  15. randyt

    randyt Master Survivalist
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    back in the early years we swept chimneys. Still have a few brushes, rods and a vacuum designed for soot. It's a habit of mine to never get rid of equipment
     
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  16. Caribou

    Caribou Master Survivalist
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    Now that you have it unplugged get a good fire going and toss in a couple aluminium cans. Repeat this every month. This dries out the creosote and reduces the chance of a chimney fire. If you don't have any empty aluminium cans send me a case of beer and I ship the empties back to you.

    If it is really cold ice can build up on your chimney cap. This can affect the flow of gasses through the flue. Knocking the ice loose is the cure. I've done it many times.

    Another thing that is not your issue this time is the chimney height. If it is too short winds above a certain speed or from a different direction can cause smoke to enter the home. the cure is to raise the top of the chimney 3' or more. Be sure to guy wire it properly.
     
  17. Blitz

    Blitz Master Survivalist
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    Hahahahha! I don't have any aluminium cans actually. I've just come back from town too. Doh!

    Ice won't be a problem here. I'm in a rainforest area, we don't even get frost.

    When I get a chance I'll have a go at cleaning it as per Snyper's post.

    If you don't hear back, you'll know I've fallen off the roof ...
     
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  18. TMT Tactical

    TMT Tactical The Great Lizard !
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    Before you start knocking stuff loose, be sure the dampener is wide open.
     
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  19. Blitz

    Blitz Master Survivalist
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    Thanks TMT. Will do.
     
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  20. F22 Simpilot

    F22 Simpilot Master Survivalist
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    You do have at least one to two ABC dry chemical fire extinguishers?
     
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  21. Blitz

    Blitz Master Survivalist
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    Yes, I have two. One medium and one large. I bought them when I moved in last year - just in case.
     
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  22. F22 Simpilot

    F22 Simpilot Master Survivalist
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    Smoke and CO alarms as well? :D
     
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  23. Blitz

    Blitz Master Survivalist
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    No, just smoke alarms. I didn't even know you could have CO alarms.
     
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  24. F22 Simpilot

    F22 Simpilot Master Survivalist
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    Yeah, CO alarms are if you have stuff there that runs on natural gas or anything that can produce CO. CO is a colorless, odorless gas and if you have CO poisoning you will get a headache, feel sleepy and die.

    I remember a woman that worked in the store here that went on a camping trip. Well, they were running a propane heater in their tent. Since propane gives off CO there was no venting in the tent and they all slept permanently.

    Very important to have ventilation if you run something like that.

    Same with vehicles that may be stuck in snow on a highway. The inclination is to keep the car running to stay warm, but if snow is blocking the exhaust pipe you'll get CO poisoning.

    About smoke detectors. They make two types for smoke detection. The first and most common are based on radioactivity. I can't remember exactly how it works, but a very low grade radioactive element called Americium is used in the smoke detector to detect smoke particles. The other version of smoke detector is via an optical sensor to detect smoke. The optical type detectors are great at detecting smoldering fires. Fires that are just starting out so you can get a heads up right away. But I think they both have their advantages and disadvantages and there are some more expensive smoke detectors that combine the two technologies. Also note that that a smoke detector is only rated for 10 years. Not sure about the optical ones though. And the batteries should be tested once a week. I used to be a fire fighter explorer and know a few things about this stuff. LOL
     
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  25. Blitz

    Blitz Master Survivalist
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    Thanks for all the info F22. I actually took the smoke detectors out as they kept going off over nothing. Drove me insane.

    I have heard of people dying camping running propane heaters. I'm surprised they are allowed to sell them actually. Well, in camping stores anyway - advertising them as heaters for tents. Not sure if they've changed the legislation now or have warnings but I do remember some years ago when we were looking for a heater for the tent for winter camping they were being sold in camping shops.
     
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  26. F22 Simpilot

    F22 Simpilot Master Survivalist
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    You need to replace those. Perhaps they were cheap or past their expiration date or the small amount of smoke that may be in your house was setting them off.
     
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    1. Blitz
      There were fairly new (about a year old) so I'm guessing they were cheap and nasty. Yes, you're right. I should replace them. Thanks.
       
      Blitz, Apr 9, 2020
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  27. randyt

    randyt Master Survivalist
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    A little story about smoke detectors. Years ago I read a article in Readers digest. The feds discovered a hot spot of radiation and the culprit was a kid accumulating smoke detectors. He would take them apart and was somehow processing the radioactive element. He wasn't up to anything bad but had a very scientific mind. The feds shut him down, he didn't get into any trouble and was offered a job by some big corp. Of course after he graduated high school.
     
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  28. F22 Simpilot

    F22 Simpilot Master Survivalist
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    LOL Yeah, I remember reading that on the Internet back then circa 2008 I think it was. Pretty interesting how the government can use a satellite or what ever they used to see radioactive hot spots.
     
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  29. Caribou

    Caribou Master Survivalist
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    One CO detector, 6 smoke detectors, 8 extinguishers.

    The problem with non ventilated heaters is improper combustion. It is not just propane. What happens is that as it gets colder people close up their living space. It could be a home, tent, boat, camper, etc. The heater burns up the O2. As the O2 diminishes you get incomplete combustion. Instead of the heater giving off large amounts of CO2 it starts giving off more and more CO and you wake up dead. You see that every year as people start closing windows and tent flaps. In the fall they always kept a window cracked but the colder it gets the tighter they make their home in order to remain warm. Instead of warm they become ambient. My first DRT was from CO poisoning.
     
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  30. Blitz

    Blitz Master Survivalist
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    What's "DRT"?

    The house I live in is an old converted farmhouse. It has so many gaps where air gets in, it's unbelievable. I have trouble trying to keep the warmth in for that reason. When we had heavy rain, my bedroom flooded due to a massive gap under the door. Drives me insane. Nonetheless, when it gets smokey from using wet wood for example, or when I had issues with a block somewhere, I opened all the doors to ventilate as much as possible until the smoke cleared. I'm sure my lungs are screwed enough after 3 months of constant bushfire smoke without additional smoke from my wood heater causing problems!

    I don't know how people can be so stupid as to use those tent heaters without any ventilation. Perhaps they missed the science lesson that day.
     
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  31. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Legendary Survivalist
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  32. Blitz

    Blitz Master Survivalist
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    Wow. That's a pretty impressive product!
     
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  33. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Legendary Survivalist
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    "When we had heavy rain, my bedroom flooded due to a massive gap under the door."

    Is there a lower geographic point to where you can drain floodwaters? If so, use piping to take this nasty water to a lower geographic area. A trench may have to be dug. A sump pump may have to be utilized. You said that your son is a bit of a handy-man. Guilt him into working on this project for his saintly mother. If guilt doesn't work, hit him up side his head with a piece of pipe. Maybe then he'll engage in his rightful duties as your son.
     
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  34. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Legendary Survivalist
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    This product and its competitors are sold all over God's creation ... well, at least on this planet.

    I don't know why I haven't bought any of these sticks since moving into this house. One house down South, we had these chimney fire killing "bricks" one tosses into the fire itself. When we "finished" moving here, we were simply worn-out. I've a goodly part of my library not shelved, still in boxes. Too, I'm not retiring here; no way. Dear lord, we've gathered ever too much sh##! We're pack rats, not having come from money. Wife's a seamstress as was her mom, so we have a chest-of-drawers packed with fabric and clothing design packs. Wife made 3-piece suits for the boys. Repaired this week hats of mine that I'd torn to hell and back. And quite the cook my wife.
     
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    1. Blitz
      Sounds like a good woman Gold Geezer. I'm an exceptional cook and knitter but I'm not as good with a needle and thread. Patching my last pair of jeans as we speak. My poor fingers are finding it very challenging! Knitted up some lovely, thick leg warmers, from ankle to thigh. Was considering just using those and not worrying about a patch. Luckily I'm in the middle of nowhere and don't have to worry about appearances!

      Yes, we were the same, collecting all manner of stuff. A pain in the rear when you have to move!
       
      Blitz, Apr 11, 2020
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  35. Blitz

    Blitz Master Survivalist
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    Hahahahha. No, actually, the house is on a hill. A big hill. A massive hill that runs downhill at 45 degrees. The only reason the bedroom flooded was because the rain was so severe and was coming in at an angle.

    Yes, a piece of pipe across the side of his head isn't a bad idea. I have that many jobs for him to do ... I tried to put the ladder up against the side of the verandah to clean out the gutters (which said son usually does) but just couldn't manage it. Same with the leak in the roof. Same with the flue.

    Having said that, he couldn't come up if he wanted to seeing as everyone is in lockdown. It wouldn't be so bad if he wasn't 2 hours drive away but getting pulled over by the police would necessitate coming up with some sort of story as you aren't even allowed to go for a drive.

    I already have a cunning plan. I have a shopping bag next to the front seat and a shopping bag full of necessary groceries on the floor covered up. An empty one on the way towards the shops and a full one on the way back. That way if I get pulled over I can say, "I'm just on my way to get some necessities from the shop" or "as you can see officer, (gesturing to full shopping bag on seat) I'm just on my way home from the shops".

    Hahahahaha! Suck on that Boris! (the police, not you Gold Geezer). Hahahaha!
     
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  36. Old Geezer

    Old Geezer Legendary Survivalist
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    Cops here in the Heartlands tend to be in possession of balanced personalities. My felonious family got along with them ever-so-well (our lot were into the "official vices" of gambling and running liquor, plus were generous in their "tips"; zero thieves among us, ZERO; at least one uncle provided war-fighting expertise the sheriff's dept. needed for their night-raids of the really, really bad places; most gambling houses and brothels were "civilized" let us say). Many urban cops, however, go mean and I cannot blame them -- as God as my witness, you couldn't pay me enough to put up with what these uniforms put up with ... daily.

    Blitz, how are your uniforms in your area of Australia? I mean, for heaven's sake, surely they'll give wide berth to a kindly lady, a smiling motherly-appearing lady! Surely you can in the least appear to be a Mother Teresa, given the moment. What with the use of smuggling devices in the guise of grocery bags in your ammunition-belt of tricks, you'll be one with the appearance of a saint-on-Earth! (I deeply respect your respect of smuggling; it is the stuff of royalty.)

    Please fine lady, tell me that your bulls in uniform aren't Gestapo!

    Your son could always say, "Oh officer, my saintly mother finds herself in dire straits. I must proceed with my Holy mission to bring her comfort!" Life is all about sincerity, so once you learn to fake that, you've got it made. Upon your son's arrival ... with police in-tow, you could put the back of your hand to your forehead, tilt your head back, and say, "Praise be unto God that you have arrived, there yet may be hope!" I'm sure, beyond sure, that your keen mind is capable of stories most believable. With man-cops, you can always say, "It's woman-problems and I'm embarrassed to speak of it except with my family." The cops should tip their hats and leave.
     
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  37. Blitz

    Blitz Master Survivalist
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    Hahahaha. No, the police are nothing like over there. You have yours and buckleys of bribing them, or getting away with breaking the law in any shape or form.
     
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    1. Old Geezer
      Old Geezer, Apr 12, 2020
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