Hazelwood Mine Fire Ash

Protect Your Family From Hazelwood Mine Fire Ash

Thanks for taking the time to learn what I have done around my home to protect my family from the hazards of the Hazelwood mine fire ash. As most people in this area would know that the Hazelwood open cut mine has been burning over the past few weeks.

In the last video “If the Smoke Doesn’t Get You the Ash Will” I showed how there are different forms of ash. These ash particles have been deposited over the city of Morwell and outer areas, it gets on or into everything. When the smoke and ash first started blowing across town it seemed like something out of a war movie. I knew that this was not going to be a quick fix and the fire would be out in a couple of days. So it was time to take some form of action to protect my family in the home from this disaster!

My Disclaimer!

Warning the practices that I have used around my home may not be suitable for your property. Due to the fact that my doors or windows may be different to yours and these are my ideas and you may need to do things differently to suit your home. Also they are for the short term and once the mine fire is completely out I will be removing what is not needed.

OK with my disclaimer out of the way let’s get into the tips that may be helpful to you and your family when it comes to sealing up windows and doors from the ash.

First up a few things that you will need:

1. Methylated spirits and a cleaning rag
2. Electrical tape
3. Cloth tape
4. Open foam cell tape for windows and door frames and knife or scissors to cut the tapes
5. Cartridges of an acrylic gap sealer and or a neutral cure silastic and calking applicator

Now you will need to beware of which way the wind blows the ash and smoke towards your home. Where we are on the North side the smoke and ash comes in through our south and west windows and doors. If you’re right on the edge of the mine you may need to seal all the windows and doors.

Let’s start with the door!

Depending on the type of door that needs to be sealed, in this example I have a wooden door with frame and jams; I will use the Open foam cell tape. With the rag and a little of methylated spirits I clean the surface where I will be applying the foam tape.

Remove the plastic film and place the foam tape on the top jam face where to door contacts on closing. Run the tape to the opposite side and cut at the end.

Now do the same thing, with the foam tape for the door lock side on the door jam. Start at the top and run down to the bottom and cut at the end.

On the hinge side you can apply the foam tape to the door fame, as I have found in the past that if it’s on the door jam, it can be removed when the door closes.

The other option is to place the foam tape on the edge of the door, closest to the jam and closes onto the frame with the hinges. You may find that the door may need a little extra elbow grease to close it shut. This means that the foam tape is doing its job and closing up the excess gap.

As for the bottom of the door I already have a door seal unit that closes when the door is shut.

If you don’t have a door seal unit, you could use the old snake sausage like this one.

Otherwise you can roll up a towel and place it at the bottom when the door is closed. This will help to keep ash, dust and help stop the smoke from getting in.

Now onto the windows!

With windows you need to seal the opening areas. If you have any gaps in the framework this is where I have used an acrylic gap sealer. I use the gap sealer where the gap is small or where I am going to repaint the surface in the future.

For large gaps I use a neural cure silastic. In this example I used it to fill up gaps between the brick work and the metal frame of the window.

After sealing all the gaps around the window frame it is time to clean up the window edge (to be sealed) with methylated spirits.

Once clean and dry then I used the cloth tape on the window opening on the outside. You may be able to place the tape on the inside of your home windows. I have flyscreens on my windows and it is easier to tape up the outside of the windows. I found that using the foam tape made it hard to close the windows. The foam tape may be great for other styles of window, you just have to see what works for you.

I apply the cloth tape to the top and bottom of the window openings, trim tape at the ends. Then apply cloth tape to the left and right sides of each window, trim tape at the ends. Windows to this room are sealed from the ash.

On the wire vent on this widow I have applied cloth tape to seal it up.

If you have an old louver window as I do you may find this can let a lot of ash into the home. First up I clean the frame and glass with methylated spirits. Then I use electrical tape, only on the joins of the glass to seal them up.

This is what it looks like with the electrical tape on the glass. My neighbour looked while I was doing this and said “trying to keep the ash hey!”

Next I use the cloth tape on the top, bottom and sides of the frame and contact it onto the glass to make the seal.

The louver window is now sealed and it didn’t take more than 5 minutes to do. I like to get things done quickly and especially when there’s little cost involved.

Just a couple of other things that might help you and your family out, is to have some form of air filter running inside the house. I have an ioniser which helps to collect dust, ash, neutralise smoke and odours and also send out good negative ions. The other option is to have a good quality air purifier unit with Hepa filters to clean the air inside the home.

This is my ioniser after one day of use before I sealed up the door and South West windows.

This is the ioniser after a week of use after I had sealed the door and windows. It has made a big difference, we have been able to sleep much better at night and the house smells a lot fresher.

As you can see from all the different types of dust masks that we have been given, the smoke and ash is defiantly been an issue. So if your outside while this mine fire is still going use a mask for your own safety and health.