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Old 09-29-2016, 08:30 PM
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A cautionary tale...

Yesterday we finally got around to buying a new oven. The one we'd had was quite old, and I had procrastinated getting a new one long enough that it broke down on us. So after enduring the well-deserved side eye from my wife, we ordered a new one.


As many of you likely know, a new oven burns off fumes for the first 30-60 minutes that you turn it on. So before cooking, it is advised that you let it cook for at least that long with nothing in it.

Of course, my first thought was of my birds. The family room (where my ekkies are kept) is the next room over from the kitchen. So I knew that would likely be a problem. But my house is fairly large, so I figured they'd be fine up in the elevated living room. Especially with all of the windows open in the kitchen, dining room, family room, and one level up in the living room... not to mention the consistent Autumn breeze that was blowing through.

Yeah, I figured wrong.

After maybe 5 minutes, the insidious odor had found it's way upstairs where I was hanging out with Jolly and Maya. So I went up yet another floor and was surprised to find it in the bedroom hallway!

In the end, I had to close the door to my bedroom and bring them with me into the master bathroom and close that door as well... where I proceeded to spend the next 2 hours. Not cool.

Worth it, of course, but not cool.

I wanted to share this story of my foolhardy assumption, however, because a situation like this could've been a lot scarier if I lived in a single level apartment... and even scarier still if it had been winter. If I'd had this all to do over again, I would have packed my birds in their travel cages and taken them outside. Once I'd realized the pervasiveness of the fumes, I brought my travel cages upstairs. But by then I didn't want to risk taking them through the fumes to get outside unless I really had to. Thankfully, I didn't really have to.

Anyhow, cautionary tale delivered, here are some pics of my Eclectic Duo waiting to be transported upstairs before the incident...


While hanging out in the living room...


And after the incident, as I made use of our extended time in the bathroom to give them a shower. (Once the fumes had dissipated and I was able to open the door again.)

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Old 09-29-2016, 08:37 PM
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Re: A cautionary tale...

Stephen, I am so happy that everyone is okay, and that you noticed it that quickly! Great thread, I never would have thought the smell would have travelled that far, either.
Bonus points for the pics of the beautiful Jolly and Maya!
I am also having some serious stove envy, it's gorgeous! Love your flooring, too.
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Old 09-29-2016, 09:18 PM
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Re: A cautionary tale...

Thanks, Terr! Yeah, the strength of the smell and the speed with which the fumes traveled really surprised me.

And Aida is really enjoying the heck out of that oven! I must say, if anyone can wait ridiculously long before changing their oven, I highly recommend it! Compared to the old one, this new oven makes us feel like we've stepped into the future! Hahaha!

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Old 09-29-2016, 09:41 PM
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Re: A cautionary tale...

It is never a good moment when whatever you are doing - things only seem to be getting worse!

One of the important Take Aways is that 'Warm Air Rises' and as it does, the fumes follow! As windows are opened, the cooler outside rushes in and only increase the rate that the warm air rises with the fumes. As upper windows are opened, this increases the draw. The end results is that the air quality in the upper parts of the house was in fact getting worse.

One of the recommendations by Fire Departments is: DOWN and OUT. If that had been a fire in the Kitchen, the Down and Out recommendation would have saved your life(s).

The start-up of gas ranges /ovens is covered in the instructions, but like every other Owners Manual, they are so poorly laid-out that the vast majority of uses give-up on using them. The results is what you experienced!

FYI: Electric Ranges /Ovens are just as prone to heavy fume release during their first use.

Very happy that everyone is Okay! And, Thank-You for providing this Cautionary Tale!
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Old 09-30-2016, 07:07 AM
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Re: A cautionary tale...

Thanks, Steven!

Yes, so true! Sad thing is, I knew all about warm air rising. I just never imagined that the fumes would've been quite concentrated enough to remain pungent after the infusion of so much air from downstairs. But yes, I should've accounted for the draw from the living room windows.

I'm glad you mentioned that, btw. Because that was important as well. It was for that very reason that I closed the door to my room and left the windows closed in both my room and the bathroom. Had I opened those as well, chances are the fumes would've been drawn up there too.

And you're welcome! The thought of how easily this might've turned into a tragic story was very sobering and I really wanted to get the word out.
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Old 09-30-2016, 08:06 AM
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Re: A cautionary tale...

While I would have taken precautions as well, I wonder if that would have injured them since it was likely some petroleum based stink rather than poisonous chemicals.
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Old 09-30-2016, 08:24 AM
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Re: A cautionary tale...

Quote: Originally Posted by Anansi View Post
Thanks, Steven!

Yes, so true! Sad thing is, I knew all about warm air rising. I just never imagined that the fumes would've been quite concentrated enough to remain pungent after the infusion of so much air from downstairs. But yes, I should've accounted for the draw from the living room windows.

I'm glad you mentioned that, btw. Because that was important as well. It was for that very reason that I closed the door to my room and left the windows closed in both my room and the bathroom. Had I opened those as well, chances are the fumes would've been drawn up there too.

And you're welcome! The thought of how easily this might've turned into a tragic story was very sobering and I really wanted to get the word out.

Something else many people don't realize is that if you have central heating and air, your duct-work can spread everything through-out the house on its own. I didn't realize just how significantly that kind of spread could be myself until a few years ago doing a grout job.

We were working in a house where the laundry room had flooded. In order to help dry everything one of the methods restoration companies use is to drill holes every 2 inches through the grout joints and then using a tool that forces hot air down through those holes to dry it and the sub-flooring. Anyway, to restore the aesthetics, I end up grinding out the joints entirely which throws *massive* amounts of mineral dust in to the air.

In order to help remove the dust, I put plastic barriers up in the room, and run a 12 inch exhaust hose out of a window to pull the dust out, so the room I was in was completely self contained from the rest of the house *except* for one floor vent.

After 2 hours of grinding, the lady interrupted me rather concerned. Every surface in her house was covered in dust. Upstairs/downstairs/floors/furniture everything. All from that one floor vent not being covered up.

Moral of the story, if you have central air, it can work *incredibly* well at spreading air-born contaminants through-out your entire house.
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Old 09-30-2016, 09:14 AM
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Re: A cautionary tale...

Quote: Originally Posted by bill_e View Post
While I would have taken precautions as well, I wonder if that would have injured them since it was likely some petroleum based stink rather than poisonous chemicals.
I'm not sure whether or not it was petroleum based. It's apparently some kind of interior coating or something that has to be burned off. But the fumes don't necessarily have to be considered "poisonous" to be dangerous to birds. Remember how delicate their respiratory systems are. Even scented oils can be really dangerous to our fids.

I do remember having read about birds becoming ill or maybe even dying from exposure to new oven fumes. When I get the chance later, I'll look and see if I can find the example I'm thinking about.
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Old 09-30-2016, 09:15 AM
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Maya (Female Solomon Island eclectus parrot), Jolly (Male Solomon Island eclectus parrot), Bixby (Male, red-sided eclectus. RIP), Suzie (Male cockatiel. RIP)
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Re: A cautionary tale...

Quote: Originally Posted by SirEdwin89 View Post
...Moral of the story, if you have central air, it can work *incredibly* well at spreading air-born contaminants through-out your entire house.
So true, Chris!
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Old 09-30-2016, 09:40 AM
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Re: A cautionary tale...

Doc, I'm just reading about your new oven and the scary event that followed. So glad you were immediately aware of the danger and took the birds to the rooftop, so to speak. I hate to think of the consequences if you hadn't acted so quickly. Thank you for posting the warning.

I'll add one more warning, if you have a self cleaning oven, never use it with the birds in the house or never use it at all, the fumes can be deadly.

I'm so glad Jolly and Maya are both all right! Enjoy your wonderful new oven, I know you will love it.
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