In Yesterday’s Episode, Doug Learned to Make Sure the Ashes in the Pellet Stove Have Truly Cooled Off Before Vacuuming Them

[doug]We have a pellet stove, which is a nifty, attractive, low-mess way to heat/supplement the heat in our new house. In fact, Nichelle is getting spoiled by it, as it is easy to bring the house up to about 75 degrees, so when it gets down to our usual 68 degress, she complains about it being too cold.

Last night, it was time to clean out the ashes, before restarting the stove, as they were starting to interfere with combustion. So, I put my hand over the ashes, found out they were cool, even stuck my hand in to make sure.

Unfortunately, I wasn’t careful enough. Nichelle yelled and I turned around to see smoke pouring from the back of the vacuum cleaner, quickly filling up the house.

I’d sucked up one ember that just hot enough to, under the increased air flow, set fire to the vacuum cleaner bag and its contents.

The vacuum and house are unharmed (except for a slight smell of smoke), but I’m very embarrassed.

3 Replies to “In Yesterday’s Episode, Doug Learned to Make Sure the Ashes in the Pellet Stove Have Truly Cooled Off Before Vacuuming Them”

  1. As for vacuuming up ashes from the pellet stove: In my youth, a neighbor ran out of charcoal briquettes, so he borrowed some of ours. Apparently, he really did mean “borrowed,” because when he was done, he didn't just let them burn down to nothing. Rather, he sprayed them with water to put them out, and then dumped what was left back into the wooden crate we stored the unused briquettes in.
    You can see where this is heading: There only needed to be one small spot on one briquette somewhere that managed to avoid the water, and that hence was still smoldering. And indeed there was, setting fire to our garage. Actually it was a fairly minor affair, since my mother had an acute sense of smell, and she smelled the smoke (from inside the house). My father ran into the garage, perhaps foolishly, grabbing the hose that was already attached there, and put it out in short order. This gave me a good appreciation of the ability of fires to smolder undetected.
    I added it to other life lessons, such as to never grab at a falling knife, and never stand between a fire hydrant and a dog.

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