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Firing an oven below 32 degrees

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  • Firing an oven below 32 degrees

    When the temperatures outside get down very low below 32 degrees F. are their any possible damages that could occur to my oven?

    Any advice on this?

    Thanks

  • #2
    Re: Firing an oven below 32 degrees

    Here's what I do:

    Start the fire as you normally would. For the first 30-40 minutes keep the fire low and slow to knock the chill off everything. After an hour, let it rip.

    I think this is good advice for anytime of the year. The less sudden thermal shock to the oven the better.
    Ken H. - Kentucky
    42" Pompeii

    Pompeii Oven Construction Video Updated!

    Oven Thread ... Enclosure Thread
    Cost Spreadsheet ... Picasa Web Album

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    • #3
      Re: Firing an oven below 32 degrees

      Ken,

      Good procedure; couldn't agree more. It's exactly the method I follow here in Ontario during the winter. Sometimes, I'll burn out a medium fire overnight to make sure the chill is off, then go like heck the next day.

      Jim
      "Made are tools, and born are hands"--William Blake, 1757-1827

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Firing an oven below 32 degrees

        Thanks for the info.
        I will definately use your recommendations.

        Comment


        • #5
          Re: Firing an oven below 32 degrees

          Not to argue with anyone (I'm simply curious and can't speak from experience). Is thermal shock really that big of an issue? Will it really have a detrimental effect going too hot too fast? We are only talking about a 50-75 degree temp swing (difference between a zero degree evening in winter and a summer evening). It usually takes 10-20 minutes to get a big fire roaring even on the best of days, so the super high temps are not instantaneous and the refractory materials we are using can handle such high temps.....again, does anyone know if it is really necessary to go low and slow? To us with flesh and bones, that 50-75 degrees can make a huge difference is us freezing to death...but are refractory materials greatly affected my subfreezing temps?

          This does not apply to me here in FL (I think the coldest evening I have fired my oven has been around 35-40 degrees last winter)....just curiosity on my part.

          RT

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          • #6
            Re: Firing an oven below 32 degrees

            RT,
            I was going to make a suggestion as to how to avoid firing your oven when below 32˚F or 0˚C. There could possibly be ice from condensation in or within the insulation (but that would depend on when it was fired last and the waterproofing properties of the oven). I would think that moisture freezing would cause more problems when freezing/expanding than when thawing out, BUT I would agree with Ken and Jim and plat safe by initially taking the heating easy until some heat has penetrated the bricks and at least got the warm through.
            The suggestion was to move to more temperate climates. I am like you with the lowest temps in mid winter around 4˚C or 40˚F here in sunny South Australia.

            Neill
            Prevention is better than cure, - do it right the first time!

            The more I learn, the more I realise how little I know


            Neill’s Pompeiii #1
            http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/n...-1-a-2005.html
            Neill’s kitchen underway
            http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f35/...rway-4591.html

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            • #7
              Re: Firing an oven below 32 degrees

              I fired up just as usuall all last Winter - hot and fast

              And my oven is still standing... so far.
              "Building a Brick oven is the most fun anyone can have by themselves." (Terry Pratchett... slightly amended)

              http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/p...pics-2610.html
              http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f9/p...nues-2991.html

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              • #8
                Re: Firing an oven below 32 degrees

                Neill, my thoughts exactly. I would think the freezing of any moisture would be the biggest concern...not the minimal temp variances. As long as you have taken the steps to make your oven as weathertight as possible (keeping the snow/rain out of the oven, dome, and insulation) you are only dealing with humidity or condensation that could freeze. As you've stated, any damage would actually be caused during the freezing process...not during thawing or heat up. I guess what I was trying to bring up is the question - From a technical standpoint (manufacturers recommendations), Are refractory materials firebrick/mortar) actually damaged from a rapid heat up from below freezing temps?.....I've searched a bit and can only find the detrimental effects of exceeding the maximum temp specs or the introduction of the above mentioned excessive moisture.

                Like Frances, I too build my fires up as fast as I can (I have actually been mixing and matching my wood types trying to get faster and faster). Regardless of the outside air temp, I can consistantly get the dome to begin burning white in about 40 minutes...fully clear in just under an hour. So far, no issues other than scaring myself with the sight of the intense flames and off the charts heat.

                RT

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                • #9
                  Re: Firing an oven below 32 degrees

                  Originally posted by RTflorida View Post
                  We are only talking about a 50-75 degree temp swing (difference between a zero degree evening in winter and a summer evening).
                  RT,

                  I agree. Really not much difference between the 20F and 70F starting temp of the oven. As I said in my post, I take it easy all the time. I'm more concerned about the 1000F temperature swing of the oven that occurs during a fast start

                  Neill has a good point about heating an oven that's frozen. It's not the thawing that damages it, it's the freezing. Use your oven regularly during the cold months to keep those bricks DRY!
                  Ken H. - Kentucky
                  42" Pompeii

                  Pompeii Oven Construction Video Updated!

                  Oven Thread ... Enclosure Thread
                  Cost Spreadsheet ... Picasa Web Album

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Re: Firing an oven below 32 degrees

                    Hi Ken,
                    it's not just heating/melting the ice but also if you have a fierce fire going and a rapid temperature increase, the sudden heating could turn trapped ice/water into steam which can really do the damage.
                    Lets face it, fire bricks are quite porous and moisture can penetrate well into and through the brick without us knowing, and a fierce fire could/would generate steam which having limited exit area could build up and do serious damage.
                    The bricks are designed to take the heat and the temp differences but you wouldn't put a fierce fire into a new oven initially would we?

                    Neill
                    Prevention is better than cure, - do it right the first time!

                    The more I learn, the more I realise how little I know


                    Neill’s Pompeiii #1
                    http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f8/n...-1-a-2005.html
                    Neill’s kitchen underway
                    http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f35/...rway-4591.html

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Re: Firing an oven below 32 degrees

                      yep, you can crack masonry fireplaces in cold weather with too hot a fire. I've done it. It was a really hot fire though, I burned an entire fir deck in a day, and the external temp was around 0 F

                      More thermal mass probably makes this less likely.
                      Charles

                      Here's a link to my oven pics thread http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f21/...oker-7856.html

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Re: Firing an oven below 32 degrees

                        Going a little lower and a little slower,, Kind of like buying insurance as you hope nothing will ever happen,,,You wear a seat belt as well knowing nothing should happen,,, Its the variables in the world that make bad things happen and when you can avoid some of the variables you can make the ride a little smoother,safer,etc... Just my opinion.....

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                        • #13
                          Re: Firing an oven below 32 degrees

                          Who in their right mind would be wanting to eat outdoors when the temp is below freezing ?????

                          Says I, who lives where it reaches a low of 10 C (50 F) twice or maybe three times a year !
                          Kindled with zeal and fired with passion.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Firing an oven below 32 degrees

                            well, you don't eat out there, you just cook out there

                            Though the cold is starting to get to me I grant
                            Charles

                            Here's a link to my oven pics thread http://www.fornobravo.com/forum/f21/...oker-7856.html

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