SAFETY

This hobby is fun & enjoyable, but it is not tiddlywinks. Be safe!

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RoundEye
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Post by RoundEye » Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:42 am

The Chemist wrote:
RoundEye wrote:I should post pictures of my scars so newbies can use it as a real world tale of how to be safe.
I think that's a capital idea. And while I am sorry for your troubles, it's not the Darwin you get...it's the Richard Pryor...

:lol:
Hahaha Good point. However, I wasn't running around screaming. I was too busy stomping it out. Putting it out is probably what made it scar so much as I was in effect, popping the blisters and bubbled skin as it boiled, and scraped the skin off. Had I not rubbed the skin off, it would be better.

I think Pryor just ran screaming. :-)

This brings up a wonderful question I have that may be best in another thread post. Is there a way to tell if you have any vapor building up in your area of distilling?

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Husker
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Post by Husker » Tue Dec 18, 2007 10:51 am

If your still is properly running, then there should be NO buildup of vapors.

Do NOT run a still that has ANY leaks to it. Before running ANY mash in your still, do several runs with water, looking for leaks, and making sure the condenser is large enough to knock down the vapors. Also, when running, watch your water flow carefully, to make sure your condenser is working. If the water flow stops, then SHUT DOWN the power to the still quickly.

ALWAYS have a dry fire extinguisher handy (I also have a couple of welding blankets). Also having a "charged" garden hose handy is a mighty smart thing. If you run your still properly, then you should never have to use ANY of the fire safety equipment, but that does not mean that they should not be very very close by.

If ethanol spills on the floor and ignites, the garden hose is one of the best ways to put it out. When you water down the flaming booze, the flame will go out. As for spills, put your collection contain into another container (such as a bucket). Then if there is an overflow of that container, or it breaks, there will not be a release of ethanol (to run over to the propane flame and ignite).

Burns suck, and burning your house down also sucks. Both can be avoided by using your noggin (well not all burns can be avoided, but the Richard Pryor flaming body type can be).

H.

RadicalEd1
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Post by RadicalEd1 » Thu Dec 20, 2007 1:57 pm

Speaking of which, what's your preferred method of finding leaks? The mother site mentions either a dunk-test or a filler-up test, but neither may b practical for many people/stills. Perhaps just run it with water, check via paper towels for liquid around the joints, and if that passes then check for leaks using a candle/match/lighter around the joints? Boiling pure water still, of course.

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Husker
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Post by Husker » Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:10 pm

of course, you should run water when checking for leaks.

I use diskwashing detergent water mix. It bubbles WELL when there are leaks. Super tiny pin hole leaks are still hard to find. But most leaks will cause bubbles to show. Pretty easy to spot them, and the soap cleans up well (even when it "bakes" on). Just use a small paint brush to carefully brush on the soap (making sure you dont form bubbles during this application).

Leaks in the "condensed liquid" part of the still will show by liquid drops forming. NOTE if your condenser water is too cold, then condensation can form on the outside of it (causing a "false" leak reading). You have to be careful of that.

H.

BW Redneck
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Post by BW Redneck » Thu Dec 20, 2007 2:39 pm

When I built my first still, I was running it in an unheated shed in the middle of winter. It was cold enough that I could actually see small jets of steam out of the leaks.

If you don't have cold weather in your area, the soap bubble trick That Husker mentioned works great.
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RadicalEd1
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Post by RadicalEd1 » Thu Dec 20, 2007 9:00 pm

Oh duh how could I forget the old soap bubble check? And I seriously just leak checked a refrigeration system a month ago (shakes head in shame). Thanks for keeping my head screwed on straight :p.

Old_Blue
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Post by Old_Blue » Wed Dec 26, 2007 5:32 pm

A couple have mentioned about charged hoses and dry chem extinguishers which I highly recommend. You going to need a hose to cleanup anyway. But think a moment about placement of stillin apparatuses and safety equipment. A lot are doing this inside, whether its a tool shed or carport. DON"T block your path..stay between "ol' fireball" and the door in case she flames up. I'd hate to get trapped in a corner. The best place to position the safety gear is near the door or outside. That way when you head for the hose or extinguisher you're already heading in the right direction..OUT! Turn around and fight it if you can but if you can't you are already where you need to be.

A word about kitchen stoves. I'll bet that if you check right now (maybe we should do a poll) many will have an extinguisher in the kitchen and probably right next to the stove. Worse place it could be. It doesn't matter if its alcohol or bacon grease, if its flaming on the stove and the extinguisher is next to it you're not going to be able to get to it or worse get hurt trying. Mount it on the other side in the room that heads for an exterior door or beside a door that leads outside directly from the Kitchen.

I don't want to sound like in preaching or anything but I spent 15 years in the fire service and have dug my share out of the ashes. Nothing like photographing an autopsy of a fire victim and then going a week not being able to eat.

Fire ain't no joke fellers. Be safe.
Fire is the devil’s only friend - Don McLean
Jump in where you can and hang on - Brisco Darling

Flash Clampet
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Post by Flash Clampet » Wed Jan 02, 2008 12:59 am

safety question:
whats a safe and enviromentally friendly way of disposing of heads?

CoopsOz
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Post by CoopsOz » Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:06 am

I poor mine down the sink, good for my drains, probably not for the environment though. Perhaps you could dilute them back to a negligible concentration then pour them down the sink.
It is most absurdly said, in popular language, of any man, that he is disguised in liquor; for, on the contrary, most men are disguised by sobriety. ~Thomas de Quincy, Confessions of an English Opium-Eater, 1856

HookLine
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Post by HookLine » Wed Jan 02, 2008 1:21 am

The small amounts home distillers make are not going to be an environmental hazard. Alcohols generally break down pretty fast, especially in soil, like in a few days. Just dilute it out before you pour it down the sink, or onto the garden, away from important or small plants.

Or leave it in a wide, open container sitting outside, the volatile components will evaporate off over a few days.

Also makes good ant killer. Pour it on ant's nests.

Or firestarter.

Or add it to your bottle of methylated spirits.

Lots of things you can do with it.
Be safe.
Be discreet.
And have fun.

Grimturtle
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Post by Grimturtle » Tue Jan 08, 2008 4:35 am

heads will be diluted to the ****house in the sewerage system if u pour them down your sink and will probably sterilize your pipes as well. If you have a septic tank, same thing anyway. Stormdrains are a different matter. Just put them down the kitchen sink.
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Old_Blue
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Post by Old_Blue » Tue Jan 08, 2008 2:24 pm

Heads make a good cleaner for paint brushes and small parts like lawn mower carbs.
Fire is the devil’s only friend - Don McLean
Jump in where you can and hang on - Brisco Darling

newts
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heads

Post by newts » Tue Jan 08, 2008 4:46 pm

my daughter turnedup st home with her hire car that had been graffiteed with textra a simple wipe with a heads dampened rag and it was gone.
I also use heads as a sanitiser for my hydrometer and spoon.
newts.

minime
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Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Post by minime » Thu Feb 07, 2008 1:58 pm

I was doing a strip run and pushing a little harder than my condenser could handle. I have a Carbon Monoxide detector in the basement, (the type that plugs into your electrical outlet). It started to beep about 15 minutes after things started to boil. I suspected it was faulty so i bought another one and the same thing happened so i checked out the still and found it was pushing a small amount of vapor past the condenser. A little bit of stainless packing fixed the problem but now i wouldn't run without a detector in the room.

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Husker
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Post by Husker » Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:32 pm

Thanks for the tip digger. Kinda one of those "duhhh" moments for me :)

The few times I have had to remove the valve, I simply shook, released pressure, shook, released, ..... until the beer was so flat it made no pressure. but that takes a long time. Simply forcing the valve open makes so much more since :)

H.

Digger
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Post by Digger » Thu Feb 07, 2008 2:35 pm

glad to help, if it'll keep someone from getting hurt.


digger

Safegyde
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Post by Safegyde » Thu Feb 14, 2008 4:30 pm

Once I was lighting a spoonful of my collections of fire to watch it burn. It burned alright, almost couldn't see the flame. I thought I blew it out all the way and went to toss the remaining liquid back into the collection jar. Right before I dumped it I noticed that the flame was still burning in the spoon. I would have dumped flaming liquid directly into the collection!!! :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: :shock: Not a good idea!! Won't do that again.

A smart man learns from his own mistakes.
A wise man learns from the mistakes of others.
Shine on you crazy diamonds!!

big worm
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Post by big worm » Thu Feb 21, 2008 11:27 am

if you distill with a buddy make sure you keep control of the process, don't allow sampling, proof tests with a match and spoon. allways keep in mind their safety.....crap can spin out of control very fast if you don't keep set fast rules of operation. ...no drinking no fires no horse play no work without hose or dry fire ext. a small fan to keep air moving. .....oh yea the barking dog thing is good to...lol i have 7 muts your not gonna sneak up here.
GOT BAIT?
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punkin
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Post by punkin » Wed Mar 12, 2008 10:46 am

Wanted to add my little bit of safety remindering about one of the biggest risks we deal with; Hot Liquids.

It took me a while to find a good , cheap galvanised bucket with a strong steel handle that'll never break, But that's what's needed for carting hot slops around.
A 99 cent plastic bucket with a wire handle stuck into the little plastic bushing, or even a good strong plastic bucket with a plastic handle is a recipe for disaster.
Think of getting 10 litres of hot backset and melted sugar splashed up all over yourself or someone else if the handle failed.... :idea: :shock:

Apair of garden or riggers gloves for the heat and a fail proof bucket are needed to deal with waste. :wink:

HookLine
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Post by HookLine » Wed Mar 12, 2008 4:59 pm

You can get cheap 16 litre stainless buckets these days, with solid handles.
Be safe.
Be discreet.
And have fun.

hoochinoo
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Post by hoochinoo » Sun Mar 30, 2008 7:37 am

For safety,
- I plan my illegal activity around having no one around, no family members, no pets, basically no distractions. The door bell can go off and I will not answer it either...
(I violated this and had 100 ml head shots leak all over the stove...lucky!)
- After doing a bunch of runs by now, I know how long it takes from the start to the end of the run.
- As part of my design consideration, I chose electric heating source.
- I practice patience and do not leave the still totally unattended. Always check the joints for leaks and really don't get distracted doing other things.
- I know that this is the only activity I have to do on that day.
- Some air circulation by leaving a window cracked. During summer, I open windows and create an air current.

p.s., I think there should be a safety pledge taken to become a member of this forum!

WhiteLightening
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Re:

Post by WhiteLightening » Tue Mar 31, 2009 8:31 pm

junkyard dawg wrote:I always put my collection jar into a big stockpot so if it flows over or break then everything is contained.
always have my "jar" in "le crock` so as not to be spillin the goodie`s

TRANSPLANTED HILLBILLY
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Re:

Post by TRANSPLANTED HILLBILLY » Sun Aug 30, 2009 11:29 am

Flash Clampet wrote:safety question:
whats a safe and enviromentally friendly way of disposing of heads?
I keep em till i get about a gallon, and dump em in the pickup truck with about a half tank of gas. Its virtually the same thing as "Heet". Thats the stuff thats sold in nearly every convienience store in the states to remove water from your fuel system.
I think the only time I would even consider using a water hose on a fuel fire would be after every dry type fire extinguisher in the house had been discharged. Putting water to that type of fire CAN cause them to spred. A distillery in KY had a creek burning for days when they had a fire that caused distillate to spill into the creek. Removal of oxygen is the quickest way to extinguish a fire.
Remember the triangle of fire, Fuel
Heat Oxygen
remove any leg of the triangle and you extinguish fire.

oh yeah, Hey guys, its been awhile
If it was easy everybody would do it.

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Husker
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Re: SAFETY

Post by Husker » Mon Aug 31, 2009 5:23 am

Welcome (back) TPHB. I am not sure I would dump a gallon of heads into my fuel system. The problem with that, is there is a lot of water in the heads. It would depend upon your still, of course, more water if ur a pot stiller, less if from a column. However, ethanol and water mix, will separate when added to petrol fuel. Thus, what you are likely to get by doing this, is a load of water 'sludge' in the bottom of the gas tank. Not what I would like to have.

As for a fire, yes, it is 3 things, fuel/heat/O2 However, when you put water onto a ethanol fire, you have removed the fuel (and a lot of heat, btw). Low proof ethanol will not burn. Now, if the fire has spread, and started other things on fire, then you are 100% right, all bets are off, and water may NOT be the best thing. But for the home distiller, if you have a jar tip over or break, spreading hi proof on the floor which ignites, all you have to do is kick a 'at ready' 5 gallon bucket of water over, which also spreads across the floor, and the fire will douse immediately before it has a chance of setting the rest of everything on fire (hopefully). That is not to say you should not have a couple of well charged extinguishers available. I have 2 of them, one by each 'escape' exit, if I am not stilling outside. And that also 'assumes' you have a bucket of water (or 2) at the ready, and possibly also have a charged garden hose with a nozzle ready to go. Buckets full of water are the best bet, because when you kick them over you get ALL the water instantly, and you get it down under about 70 proof, and the fire will not sustain itself. 5 gallons of water (or better yet, 2 - 5 gallon buckets kicked over one after the other), will overwhelm a 1 gallon high proof accident every time, as long as you do so prior to other things being caught on fire.

H.
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Ayay
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Re: SAFETY

Post by Ayay » Mon Aug 31, 2009 9:01 am

Alcohol is different to oils.

Alcohol is water soluble so water will water it dowm to a non-flammable state.

Oils floats on top of the water and will continue burning.

Use water for extinguishing alcohol fires, and use foam/powder/CO2 for oil/gas/petrolium or any other fires including alcohol.
cornflakes...stripped and refluxed

HookLine
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Re: SAFETY

Post by HookLine » Mon Aug 31, 2009 7:51 pm

I am no fire expert, so take this with a grain of salt...

IIRC, the way to use water on an alcohol fire is to apply it as a medium spray (not a fine mist). The aim is to 1) remove the heat from the flame and suppress it, and 2) dilute the burning liquid to below the point it is flammable.

You do have to be careful about what happens to the run off, especially if the fire is still burning.
Be safe.
Be discreet.
And have fun.

demonrichie
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Re: SAFETY

Post by demonrichie » Fri Oct 08, 2010 11:24 pm

dunno if anyones tried this but having salt or baking soda ready with your extinguishers and water. its been used for cooking fires before and with a small fire could be used to smother it. just a thought as a extra
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SMiTH
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Re: SAFETY

Post by SMiTH » Sat Oct 09, 2010 5:20 am

Keeping it in detached from your house means that IF by some chance something dangerous happens and insurance is needed, your house insurance isnt instantly voided because you are doing something illegal (in Aus, they will cancel it straight up if they find it has anything to do with illegal activity)

yepyep45
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Re: SAFETY

Post by yepyep45 » Sun Nov 21, 2010 8:16 am

I think the safest tips for me is:

Don't distill in a closed room. Try and keep some through-draught.
Check the still regularly
Make sure the outlet tube is free flowing
And don't smoke near the distiller

rad14701
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Re: SAFETY

Post by rad14701 » Sun Nov 21, 2010 2:27 pm

yepyep45 wrote:I think the safest tips for me is:

Don't distill in a closed room. Try and keep some through-draught.
Check the still regularly
Make sure the outlet tube is free flowing
And don't smoke near the distiller
Not leaving the still unattended is a better measure of safety...

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