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  • Keeping Oven Dry

    I built a Pompeii oven several years ago and have used it not as much as I would like since I've been building the rest of the project. The enclosure is done and I keep an outer door on it when the rain comes. The question is: do the Pompeii ovens naturally get damp or is it possible rain water is getting through the door? I've tried to seal it the best as I could and tested to make sure the chimney isn't letting water in. Should I always do small fires after nonuse to dry it? Thanks for the help.

  • #2
    they shouldn't get damp at all. I can leave mine unused for months in a rainy Seattle winter and it stays bone dry.

    Couple thoughts
    1) Do you have chimney cap?
    2) is the door facing the weather?
    3) are you sure no water is able to get in around the base? (that's probably the most important one)


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    • #3
      Where are you Rodeair? It's really helpful to know your general location when answering questions. As DeeJayOh, I'm also in the Pacific Northwest and I notice that if I haven't used my oven for 3-4 weeks, the first firing takes longer to clear the oven and my heat isn't retained nearly as well. After 1-2 firings, all is back to what I expect. We have WFO users in tropical Australia that have noted the high humidity in their area does "seep" into their ovens during periods of non-use. Normally, it's just 1-2 slow fires to dry out the moisture absorbed by the brick from the air. No problems, just being aware of your local conditions is useful information. As DeeJayOh noted above, sometimes we think the oven is secure from water...but water is pretty sneaky & persistent. If it was me, I'd check the three items he mentioned as well as closely examining your dome enclosure, especially if it's stucco, for possible water entry points-cracks, etc. After making sure the common entry points have been checked, do several small fires to drive off any moisture that may have found its way into your oven. Easy to do and helps to keep the worry lines off your forehead.
      Mike Stansbury - The Traveling Loafer
      Roseburg, Oregon

      FB Forum: The Dragonfly Den build thread
      Available only if you're logged in = FB Photo Albums-Select media tab on profile
      Blog: http://thetravelingloafer.blogspot.com/

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      • #4
        Thanks for the quick response. I live in Pensacola Florida, so it's pretty much humid during the warmer seasons. The enclosure is water tight and the chimney does have a cap. I'm thinking water might be getting in the crack between the landing and the first floor bricks, although I've tried to seal that during rain. Thought about solar powered dehumidifier, but might be over thinking it.

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        • #5
          Just the mortar between stones will get damp during rains and actually pass moisture into the dry interior. Although this is minimal, it can be significant...and little, tiny cracks in the mortar and stones can provide another route for moisture. This is one of the reasons we like to have people put weep holes in the slab below the oven and lifting the ceramic board off the slab (or creating a waterproof layer between the two). Since you really haven't said that you have a problem...just a concern, I'd still just think about doing a slow, low firing or two after a long period of not being used. If your insulation and/or oven bricks have become a little damp from humidity, it won't take long to drive out that moisture. (As much as I love buying new electronic toys...a solar powered dehumidifier in your oven would be working all the time without really pulling the moisture out of the structure...IMHO. )

          If you have water actually penetrating and getting the interior wet, it just will be a repeat of your curing process. If you do find (or suspect) that the interior is getting wet often and can't find the "water path", you might consider adding a moisture vent in the top back of the oven. It won't stop the mystery leak, but it will help the interior to dry out with the low, slow firings. By the way, your oven looks great!
          Last edited by SableSprings; 01-04-2019, 04:51 PM.
          Mike Stansbury - The Traveling Loafer
          Roseburg, Oregon

          FB Forum: The Dragonfly Den build thread
          Available only if you're logged in = FB Photo Albums-Select media tab on profile
          Blog: http://thetravelingloafer.blogspot.com/

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          • #6
            Thanks again, I'll take your advice for sure. I plan to start using it more often. Did some hams and turkey breasts over the holidays, worked great.

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