Wood burning stove death

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1273882/Teenager-dies-summerhouse-wood-burning-stove-leaks-carbon-monoxide.html
A good reason to follow the regulations when installing a stove, even if you are not required to.
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"The pair fitted the stove on January 31 following the manufacturer’s instructions."
If true[1] it implies that the instructions were inadequate.
In the case of a gas appliances I have not seen a set of installation instructions that did not spell out exactly what was required to make a safe installation without reference to external standards.
[1] It is the daily wail so no guarantee of factual accuracy.
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I do get annoyed when these "standards" aren't easily accessible, or can only be bought for an exorbitant amount. Perhaps any consequential legislation should be making these standards available for free?
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wibbled on Friday 07 May 2010 11:42

The Building Regs approved documents are free online - and cover much to do with these stoves, including fluing and ventilation. But if you aren't in the know, it wouldn't occur to go looking.
So, I agree that the instructions should contain an installer section which details acceptable flues, ventilation requirements and testing procedures.
The instructions could even just give some minimal standard cases with a link to the appropriate ADs. Even my Aga came with woefully patchtic instructions. Didn't even detail accurately the acceptable range of fuels, let alone much about installation.
I suspect something as simple as a smoke match would have shown if the draw was adequate or not (I tested mine, even though HETAS installed, just out of curiosity).
Feel sad for the Dad involved.
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Tim Watts

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We were somewhere around Barstow, on the edge of the desert, when the
something like:

I wonder if the top of the flue may have been subject to a downdraught in some weather conditions and a smoke test may not have shown much up.

He must be gutted.
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wibbled on Friday 07 May 2010 14:10

That could happen I suppose. Mine behaves differently depending on the wind, but the draw is always excellent. Sometimes, with the right wind, I feel I could run a blast furnace ;->

Taking at face value (despite the Mail's crap reporting) - this doesn't have the feel of wanton bodgery. It has the feel of lack of information. OK, one can always say he should have checked it out, but if the instructions had an installation section that was decent (like many boilers) I suspect he would have taken heed.
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Tim Watts

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"In January this year he used money from a 2,800 lottery win to buy the 500 Cottager 2 cast iron stove."
Clarke Cottager 2, sold by Machinemart and others, but not on the Hetas approved list.
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wibbled on Friday 07 May 2010 17:23

Looked that up and skimmed the manual. The only safety get-out I can find is:
"7. The installation of the stove and chimney MUST comply with all national, european and local building regulations. It is the responsibility of the owner and the installer to ensure that the installation complies."
(Page 3)
Sadly, it goes into great detail WRT to the placement of the stove itself, but apart from mentioning 2 bends max and no connecting to shared flues, it mentions very little else.
I can see how a "reasonable man" could read those instructions, conclude (due to the massive detail regarding placement) that the instructions were "complete", follow them and end up with a dangerous situation.
Really, IMO, those instructions *should* have mentioned HETAS and Building control (they didn't) and either should have gone into as much detail regarding the flue as the placement, or at least say "esure the flue and ventilation complies with Parts blah and blah of the Building Regulations or something to that effect.
I didn't even know Clarke sold stoves...
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Yes, just done that as well; http://www.machinemart.co.uk/pages/download?d=7B2DD04F-0BD6-4BA9-95B7-81BE5500746B&a=stream
I can't see any mention of fixed permanent ventilation at all.Have I missed it? An inexcusable omission if it's not there.
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wibbled on Friday 07 May 2010 18:03

http://www.machinemart.co.uk/pages/download?d {2DD04F-0BD6-4BA9-95B7-81BE5500746B&a=stream
I didn;t notice that either - though I didn't run a text search for it (did re HETAS and Building Control).
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Tim Watts

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My guess is that it was a combination of factors - and somehow it got to the point where the fire was consuming what oxygen was available, and not producing much smoke - but not enough heat and ventilation to keep the flue gases moving upwards.
The news article mentions a summerhouse, so I'm guessing the flue was rather short, and possibly didn't clear surrounding terrain (and/or walls, buildings, trees etc) very well. It may have been burning a fuel not so suited to a stove such as coal (better on open fires) - rather than wood or coalite, the adjustable airvents on the stove were probably closed, and room ventilation either insufficient or blocked.
Usually a blocked flue (or downdraught) will produce copious smoke, and insufficient ventilation at the bottom will make it go out.
But if you put all the factors together, you might get a fire producing significant CO.
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writes

Our Stovax Stockton came with comprehensive installation instructions including minimum diameter and length of flue and ventilation requirements. There is also an installer check list including smoke test and spillage test.
It is dated 2004 and includes guidance that building regulations plus any additional local regulations 'should be understood' and that if there is any conflict between the regulations and the booklet the regulations apply. It also advices talking to the local BCO. The one thing it doesn't have is a URL for the regulations, which is a shame.
All in all a comprehensive booklet.
And yes, it must be hard to come to terms with the fact that you helped install the stove that killed your son.
Cheers
Dave R
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My Jotul was pretty much the same. I installed my own, including the flue in a disused masonry chimney, cross-referenced the approved docs with the manufacturer instructions and under a building control application.
In most cases a poorly installed/faulty woodburner would smoke badly - unlike a gas boiler that would produce fumes that the user may acclimatise too.
I would think the much greater dangers from poorly installed/faulty woodburners are house fires.
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Price of a CO detector is not much to pay, HETAS installed or not. Thinking of a HETAS installed wood burner near me, reduced the height of the rear chimney, which when combined with a hill dumps everything in my yard - delightful if anything with paint on gets burnt and is drawn in through the house vents.
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wibbled on Friday 07 May 2010 20:19

Even mine can dump into the back garden during lighting up if the wind is wrong - and that's on a 7-8m chimney! I noticed because I was starting some coal off with bits of old pallet (with some sort of blue stain/paint on) and it did rather wiff out back. I was surprised... Fortunately the effect seems to stop when the fire's up to temperature (hotter gasses I guess, and/or more complete combustion).
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Tim Watts

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Likewise, however even when warm. It is one of the problems with prevailing wind blowing diagonally down a hill - and historically used to be "not funny" when coal burning was the norm with washing hung out :-)
CO alarm should be included with the appliance, lithium batteries, with stamping on stove saying CO alarm to prevent "danger of death". All it takes is something blocking the chimney which is always conceivable by accident or malicious.
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wibbled on Friday 07 May 2010 21:47

Agree. I plan to install an interlinked CO alarm when I get round to wiring the lights up properly - our kitchen is bang opposite the bedrooms (bungalow) so it would seem a wise move.
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Tim Watts

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On Fri, 07 May 2010 21:38:21 +0100, Tim Watts wrote:

height
everything
Our baxi burnall grate can smoke out of the under floor vent from the ash box under some conditions. Still plenty of draw on the chimney even when it's smoking out the vent must just be a positive relative to outside room pressure.
--
Cheers
Dave.




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or possibly he got home drunk and burnt the wrong fuel in there and left the stove doors open cos it looked nice and it filled the summerhouse with smoke...
and there was no air inlet into the summerhouse?
fred wrote:

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you mean "the regulations" don't cover any of that? strewth someone should hang...
JimK
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