Using Charcoal SAFELY

High time for one of you user/advocates to post up the killed people learned 1940’s Sweedish Government Gasifier systems regulations.
Nothern Hemisphere cold weather is creeping in.
That means closing the Shop doors.
Folk gravitating into animal and human spaces their new-found charcoal energy as heating sources.

After the first 2-3 families get published killed and brain damaged using DOW sourced information
WE ALL GO DOWN the tube as killers.
Get a bag of commercial charcoal and paste the multiple bag “CO WILL KILL YOU” warnings above your keyboards please before you type up musing some will take seriously, stoopid and do as you showed or “advised”.

I really, really hate forced having to be a safety ninny. Ain’t going to do it on individual topics any more.
You guys start self-policing yourselves. Or lose it all for all of us.


Well said Steve… I could feel my name written all over your post. I thought of that right after I pushed REPLY/SEND on my last post. Thanks for reminding us again.


Hi Steve,

Charcoal safety nanny,… its a dirty job, but someone has to do it…

I agree with your viewing point and i ad:
Never use or produce any woodgas/charcoal gas in a non ventilated or even an enclosed space.

Rule of thumb for wise guy’s as myself:
if i produce 1 cbm per hour then i need 1.000.000 cbm ventilation per hour
( somewhere i have read that the legal number is 2 ppm, so i self impose the rule of 1 ppm )

Imagine the amount of people that have been visiting me and the countless times that people asked me to do a presentation indoors ( not kidding )
All because they think because its odorless and invisible…


To add those of us that have had exposure and some over exposure. In order to detox from from CO in your system you need to have this removed medically. This will never leave your system ever, and will continue to build the more exposed you become.


Euhm , Matt.

I have a slight different opinion/experience. I will post the link and some copy paste:

copy paste:
"Initial treatment for carbon monoxide poisoning is to immediately remove the person from the exposure without endangering further people. Those who are unconscious may require CPR on site. Administering oxygen via non-rebreather mask shortens the half life of carbon monoxide from 320 minutes to 80 minutes on normal air. Oxygen hastens the dissociation of carbon monoxide from carboxyhemoglobin, thus turning it back into hemoglobin.Due to the possible severe effects in the fetus, pregnant women are treated with oxygen for longer periods of time than non-pregnant people.
Hyperbaric oxygen ( pressure chamber) is also used in the treatment of carbon monoxide poisoning, as it may hasten dissociation of CO from carboxyhemoglobin and cytochrome oxidase[ to a greater extent than normal oxygen. Hyperbaric oxygen at three times atmospheric pressure reduces the half life of carbon monoxide to 23 (~80/3 minutes) minutes, compared to 80 minutes for regular oxygen. It may also enhance oxygen transport to the tissues by plasma, partially bypassing the normal transfer through hemoglobin. However, it is controversial whether hyperbaric oxygen actually offers any extra benefits over normal high flow oxygen, in terms of increased survival or improved long-term outcomes.

Link: Carbon monoxide poisoning - Wikipedia

My tip and trick: have a bottle pure oxygen at hand …


The oxygen treatment is what I mean by have this medically done. But yes you can do this your self I would supose. Once in your blood though it stays there and does not detox unless you have this done.

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Hi Matt,

The more and the faster you get oxygen, the better , so first aid = O2

The half value time goes from 320 minutes ( normal air) to 80 minutes

If your CO poisoning is not severe, the body will detox by itself, thank god for that.
Any case, especially for us, grab the bottle as first aid … ( i meant the Oxygen )


Yup you are correct, I dont remember where I had gotten my info but according to a new search I did. The body will completely eliminate it out after 24 hours of exposure.


Add battery operated CO detectors to your arsenal against this silent killer. $15 at our local department store. They do lose their ability over time, so don’t rely on an old one that has been lying around for ages.
I found this recommendation:
“CO (carbon monoxide) detectors usually wear out in 5-7 years. Replace them with a “fuel-cell electro-chemical” sensor type and with a “peak” level memory to alert you to the highest level of CO present.”


I’m trying to learn here, is there a difference between using a good tight wood stove, shutting combustion air way down, chimney open to keep a draw on it like people have been doing since we started living in houses and what Don was talking about, as long as you make sure there is enough draw to get the smoke out right???

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Yeah, that last sentence is the crucial part… good draw; in the airtight houses we build here to get good draw you need an air intake since the envelope is so tight already. I would never attempt a charcoal smoulder here. I have Co monitors inside and in the garage just in case… Still alive, love to keep it that way…


The difference would be that in one case the fuel is total combusted, only hot, fully combusted gasses going thru the chimney and in the other case carbon monoxide is being transferred from one “heating” device towards another heater in the house for further combustion.

I am not a fan of indor wood stoves/heating devices any more since we had an accident about 5 years ago. My family went to sleep and someone started to smell smoke. I went to the kitchen only to find black smoke rolling out of the old bread oven (imagine a big pizza oven with doors). The family rushed out in the middle of the winter, my youngest brother was only 1 year old. I and my other brother crawled back in on the house floor and opened the doors on the oven. A roar culd thain be heared after a few seconds and afer we went out there was a fire torch goeing about 4m higher thain the top of the chimeny. When it was all over we fownd out the chimeny soot and tar caught fire and after it got hot enoug the burned soot plugged the top of the chimeny, sending all the smoke in the house.
The fact is, eaven with a good draugh chimeny you are never a 100% sure. If this wuld happen about a hour later we wuld never wake up again.


Regular, lawbound sooting is mandatory, annually by communal offices in most european countries, since a hundred years back!

Even bad smoldering fires are under some kind of control then…


Yes l agree but the chimeny was old and made out of bricks. Yes, it was swept with s steel brusk but l think the tars from between old cracking bricks caught fire.

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And l just remembered my father in law talking about a similar thing happening to them, then it was an owl stuck in the chimeny. Dont ask me what the poor guy was looking for in there :grin:


Heat, I guess :slight_smile: Jackdows do.

With enough air and dry wood there is never any tar bildup in the chimney.
I’m a certified chimney sweeper and I’ve burned 25 m3 of wood indoors every year for 25 years. Boiler and kitchen stove. I hardly sweep my chimney at all. There are always only white ash on my brick chimney walls. When the thin ash bildup gets too heavy it falls down by itself.


Ha! Didnt thod of that…

Well l guess l have to wear buttons if we ever meet :wink:
The old bread ovens here werent wery well made ni term of chimeny protection. Usualy smoldering wood.

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No need. Maybe gloves for a handshake :smile:


Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Musings…

*** You CANNOT measure how much carbon monoxide is in the blood using a non-invasive pulse oxymeter or a standard arterial blood gas measurement! You must have a special blood gas machine called a co-oxymeter to make this measurement!.***

I am a lung/critical care specialist in my real job. I appreciate Steve’s warnings about carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide(CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that binds to hemoglobin, the protein molecule in blood that binds and carries oxygen from the lungs to the tissues of the body. The CO binds to hemoglobin with an affinity 100 times greater than that of oxygen. This means that if there is one CO molecule for every 100 oxygen molecules, 50% of the hemoglobin will bind with CO and the remaining hemoglobin will bind with oxygen. This means that even very small quantities CO in the air that are breathed into the lungs preferentially bind to hemoglobin in a nearly irreversible fashion effectively poisoning that molecule so it is no longer able to participate in meaningful oxygen delivery to the body tissues. As the CO exposure continues, the poisoning is cumulative and the body becomes increasingly oxygen starved. Oxygen delivery to the body by hemoglobin is not linear. If the oxygen saturation in your blood is 88%, you qualify for home oxygen by Medicare criteria! A normal oxygen saturation in the blood for someone with normal lungs at low altitude is 92% or above (meaning that 92% of the hemoglobin is bound to oxygen). Most normal people have an oxygen saturation of about 96%. If you are exposed to CO that binds up between 4 to 8% of your hemoglobin, your body is being starved for oxygen.

Most cigarette smokers have a CO level in their blood (called carbocyhemoglobin level) of about 4 to 6%.

1/2 of 1 percent of carbon monoxide mixed in room air (with 21% oxygen) will bind 50% of your hemoglobin at steady state. Permanent neuralgic damage occurs with a CO level of 17%.and above. The antidote for CO poisoning is high oxygen concentration. This therapy attempts to recapture some of the hemoglobin that was bound by the CO by direct competition. This is a slow process and irreversible neurological damage or death frequently occurs. The gold standard treatment for CO poisoning is immediate placement in a hyperbaric oxygen chamber.