Stove owners take precautions

Posted: Monday, March 30, 2009

As Kenai Peninsula residents don masks and have spare air filters ready for the engines of their cars due to Mount Redoubt's eruptions, the owners of air-intake heating systems and stoves -- such as Monitors, Toyos, and others -- may want to take precautions to protect these devices.

"It's pretty simple," Wes King, manager of A Fireplace Store in Sterling, said in regard to what needs to be done.

Oil-fueled, forced-air home heating systems use a hose located at the back to draw in outside air for combustion. The ventilation hole is the small opening where air is sucked in.

A permanent mesh filter protects the circulation fan and the inside components from dust, but volcanic particulates are quite a bit different than dust and could overwhelm this filter during a significant ash fall event.

"They need a certain amount of air pressure to run. If it slows, or air is restricted, it can affect the burn, and shut it down. That's why you don't want to cover (the ventilation hole)," King said.

Instead, stove owners can temporarily disconnect this intake hose, but they should be sure the right one is coming off.

"They just need to pull the fresh air supply hose off the back, not the exhaust flue going out the wall," he said.

King said the two hoses should be in slightly different locations and have a distinctly different appearance from each other.

"The air supply hose is flexible and looks like a vacuum hose. The exhaust pipe is rigid and goes straight out the back" he said.

While this procedure may sound simple, anyone that is confused can always contact a professional to ensure they do it correctly.

"People that are really worried can also just shut off the unit for a few days until the ash settles," King said.

Joseph Robertia can be reached at

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