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CO detected. I have questions.  RSS feed

 
Ron Helwig
Posts: 130
Location: New Hampshire
10
forest garden hugelkultur tiny house
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Last night I was woken up by my smoke detector telling me that there was carbon monoxide and that if I didn't do something then it was going to scream at me. I opened windows and got the ceiling fan going, but that didn't shut it up until I used the fan to blow out the RMH for a few minutes. It never did get to screaming so I guess it never got to serious levels.

I made some changes to the RMH's mass this summer & fall and have also changed some processes.

What was different yesterday:
I used my new Wonder Wash for the first time and hung up the load of socks on the newly installed clothesline near the RMH barrel. That almost certainly wasn't a cause.
I fried up some homemade Fritos using tallow in a pot. I never smelled burning, but I didn't actually measure the temp of the fat.
I burned up a couple cups of old tallow early on in the burn. (Because every bit of BTUs I don't need to cut and split is a win, right?)

What's been different this year:
There is more cob mass around the burn area, and it is likely better sealed. I have slightly less radiant heat from the burn barrel and it feels like more heat from the mass.
I haven't needed to use a fan to help with drafting anywhere near as much as last year.
I realized that the grey water drain doesn't have a trap and the drain in the shower is a pretty straight shot (one turn) to the drain pipe exit. I started covering the drain with a sandbag a month ago to help keep it from becoming a heat loss.
I noticed that when there is some wind that the RMH exhaust was blowing in cold air when it wasn't being used, so this season I've been covering the top of the feed tube with a piece of hardyboard once I'm done burning.

I have noticed that this year there's more ash and it has larger chunks.

The building is a 12x24 cabin.

So, does anyone think that closing up the grey water drain and/or the feed tube are part of the problem?

A chart I found when doing a search (see here) seems to indicate that CO generation is expected to be worst at startup and shutdown.

What are your shut down procedures?
 
allen lumley
pollinator
Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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- I have a few questions myself! In the early days of smoke/heat detectors and CO Detectors there were a few things that could be counted on !

1) I could not find any Jobbers/suppliers for the CO Detectors, 2) They were very expensive when compared in price to Smoke Detectors! And

3) most CO Detectors had a short lifespan before ether a module or the whole unit needed to be replaced !

When I asked several hardware salesmen they all told me that basically the CO Detectors were redundant because a smoldering (un-contained)

Fire would produce the kind of unburned hydrocarbons that in very low concentrations would activate the Smoke detector BEFORE the CO Detectors

could detect higher Concentrations of CO.

I am now totally open to a discussion of the true state of todays Smoke and CO Detectors !

Also can anyone tell me why popcorn burnt to the point of its unmistakable stink does not activate the smoke detector ( Try it ) *


For the Good of the Crafts ! Big AL

* and lets try to stay on topic ! A.L.
 
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