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Author Topic: Is kitchen foil fireproof?  (Read 1337 times)

Offline Gamer

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Is kitchen foil fireproof?
« on: April 19, 2017, 03:18:40 PM »
If I wrap up a wad of banknotes and paperwork in several layers of kitchen foil and the house burns down while I'm out, will they come through unscathed?

Offline Morning Sunshine

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Re: Is kitchen foil fireproof?
« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2017, 03:26:28 PM »
um, good question.  I think it would depend on the heat of the fire.

After the 1906 earthquake in San Fransisco, there was a fire that destroyed the rest of the city, including the Wells-Fargo Bank.  As soon as the safe was cool enough to open, they did so.  Inside were all the bank ledgers.  The fire had gotten so hot that the papers had spontaneously burst into flame.  But since the safe was airtight, the fire was immediately extinguished for lack of oxygen, and the papers were left with singe marks on the edges.
-reference: a 3-week internship in the history museum at Wells Fargo in SF.  I actually got to touch (with layers of white gloves on my hands) some of the artifacts from the early days of the bank and stagecoach company.  way too cool.
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Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Is kitchen foil fireproof?
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2017, 03:51:07 PM »
I use one of these Honeywell fire boxes for storing valuable paper inside a larger fire resistant gun safe. These boxes have thick layers of insulation that has loosely bound water in it that boils off at a controlled rate when exposed to fire. This makes them heavy as hell and increases the humidity inside the box. I have never had issues with humidity inside my gun safe, but any papers inside the Honeywell box will get damp and mold, so put them in a watertight container before hand.  I had a fat stack of mildewed money I had to dry out before I learned that lesson.


23:57:30

Offline Alan Georges

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Re: Is kitchen foil fireproof?
« Reply #3 on: April 19, 2017, 05:21:25 PM »
If I wrap up a wad of banknotes and paperwork in several layers of kitchen foil and the house burns down while I'm out, will they come through unscathed?
Probably not.  The usual "fireproof" method is to add a bunch of thermal mass – frequently sheetrock – inside an insulating blanket, inside of a metal box.  It'll hold off the heat for a while.  Foil... better than nothing, but it's not much.

That's a really interesting Honeywell fire box you found, FL.  I wonder how it stacks up in fire rating tests.  Probably pretty well – evaporating water carries off a buttload of heat energy.

I swear, there are times it seems like "Baofeng" is Cantonese for "hot mess."

Offline Carl

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Re: Is kitchen foil fireproof?
« Reply #4 on: April 19, 2017, 05:28:19 PM »
  When the bills reach flashpoint temp ( 451 degrees fahrenheit ) they will ignite...and even steel wool burns.
Aluminum foil melts at 1200 degrees...but does not combust.
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Offline FreeLancer

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Re: Is kitchen foil fireproof?
« Reply #5 on: April 19, 2017, 05:41:54 PM »
The 7.3L capacity is rated for 30 min and the 11.1L is good for 60 min.  I think they must be stored flat to get the max fire rating, which is why I had to get the 7.3, the safe door wouldn't close on the 11.1 in the horizontal position.
23:57:30

Offline allofthemonkeys

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Re: Is kitchen foil fireproof?
« Reply #6 on: April 19, 2017, 05:47:33 PM »
Having cooked a lot of foil dinners, plenty will burn inside due to direct contact with the heat source and it can be difficult to make airtight.
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Offline fred.greek

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Re: Is kitchen foil fireproof?
« Reply #7 on: April 19, 2017, 06:37:21 PM »
I’d run a test.  Wrap a pile of paper in aluminum foil, and lay it on top of the coals in your BBQ grill.  Let set for as long as you think the fire might burn in your house. 

My opinion is that it will not help much, if at all.
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Offline Carl

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Re: Is kitchen foil fireproof?
« Reply #8 on: April 20, 2017, 05:25:54 AM »
  I make char-cloth in aluminum foil and so I can easily envision it as not the best defense against combustion. A fire box,in a Browning Pro steel safe,in a subterranean bunker is still not totally secure.The fire box in a freezer is what I call safe in the home.
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Offline Gamer

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Re: Is kitchen foil fireproof?
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2017, 03:05:52 PM »
Thanks for the replies everybody, it seems an expensive proper small safe or cash box that says "fireproof" on it is the safest way to go, but for now I've gone for the next best thing and just bought this simple cheap little baby-



It cost peanuts but I'm quite impressed with it because it's built like a tank with thin metal walls and doesn't have a tinny feel to it at all.
It's 8 inches long which is quite adequate and I get a warm fuzzy feeling knowing my banknotes will get at least some protection in a house fire til the fire brigade arrives, especially as I intend wrapping them in kitchen foil in there for extra protection..:)

PS- another idea that struck me since my original post is to perhaps wrap stuff in asbestos cloth if it's available and poses no health risk.
« Last Edit: April 20, 2017, 03:12:49 PM by Gamer »

Offline Carl

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Re: Is kitchen foil fireproof?
« Reply #10 on: April 20, 2017, 03:30:22 PM »
Where you place the box will have more to do with the contents surviving.

1 Keep it LOW as heat and fire goes up
2 Keep it away from easily flammable objects
3 keep it in an easily accessed place to allow access if in a hurry
4 Keep it in a common looking box (Mine is in an area where no fire can happen ,in a child's metal lunch box)
5 There is no perfect place to protect valuables
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Offline Gamer

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Re: Is kitchen foil fireproof?
« Reply #11 on: April 21, 2017, 10:29:34 AM »
Aargh I've just discovered a fatal flaw in my new cash box!
The lock is badly designed and unreliable meaning you might think you've locked it but you haven't!
That could explain why it's priced so low if people have been returning it for a refund.
So I've left a review at Amazon saying "Don't buy it, the lock is unreliable".
Thankfully the flaw doesn't affect me too much because the box will still fireproof the contents like I wanted, and anyway even if the lock was perfect a burglar would simply walk off with the whole box..:) 

Offline RitaRose1945

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Re: Is kitchen foil fireproof?
« Reply #12 on: April 21, 2017, 10:36:56 AM »
...and anyway even if the lock was perfect a burglar would simply walk off with the whole box.. :)

That's what Jay said when he saw my locked, fireproof box.

"Well that was thoughtful of you, to put all of your important identifying documents in one convenient, portable place, so a burglar could take them all to the privacy of his own home and bust open the lock at his leisure."

Oh.  Hadn't thought of it that way.  :-\

Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: Is kitchen foil fireproof?
« Reply #13 on: April 21, 2017, 11:39:39 AM »
...and anyway even if the lock was perfect a burglar would simply walk off with the whole box..:)

;D  You just reminded me of when I went off to college, and my dad decided I needed a solid steel lockable box to protect my important stuff from my roommates.  The box he gave me was about 4"x4"x10". :facepalm:

My roommates merely took this as a challenge to pick the worthless lock and put things into the box.

Offline outoforder2day

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Re: Is kitchen foil fireproof?
« Reply #14 on: April 21, 2017, 12:59:02 PM »
You might as well wrap your cash in tinfoil if you're just using a box like that. If a fire goes near that box, the interior will heat up in no time at all. You need to insulate the interior space from the exterior, otherwise the heat will transfer right through the metal and your paper will burn.
There's a reason "fireproof" boxes are rated for a certain amount of time.
Since you already have the box, put it in the basement (utility room?) under a pile of bricks. Rockwool would work well too, if you built a container of some kind to hold it. The idea is to provide some insulation and camouflage.
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Offline Gamer

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Re: Is kitchen foil fireproof?
« Reply #15 on: May 03, 2017, 08:56:57 PM »
Yes Rita, Bill and Outforder2day, having a cashbox is like having a flashing neon sign telling a burglar or cheeky roommates- "My lolly is in here!"
As regards fireproof boxes, a lot of them on the net are advertised as "fire-retardent" rather than truly fire-proof so if we wanted a truly 100% fireproof job we'd have to take care to read the small print..:)
My cheapskate tin box will at least hopefully protect the banknotes long enough til the fire brigade arrives.

PS- As for private papers and stuff, they can go in the box too, and for backup I've photocopied mine and store them in my Photobucket image account where flames can't get at them..:)

Offline Fyrediver

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Re: Is kitchen foil fireproof?
« Reply #16 on: May 06, 2017, 09:53:00 AM »
In short, no.  The aluminum will melt.  It will reflect for a bit but then it'll burn through with flame contact or high heat.  Just like a Wild Land Firefighter's Shelter.   

As a Fire Investigator I've found that some things are harder to burn than others.  Things in a closet with a solid core door are pretty safe as long as the structure isn't burnt to the foundation.  Hollow core doors burn through quite easily but even then the stuff on the bottom doesn't burn deeply.  Stacks of paper will char on the outside but not the inner layers where there is no oxygen.   Stacks of towels or sheets in a closet get charred on the top but the bottom doesn't.  The fire would have to burn for a long time unchecked to consume everything.

You could make a fire "safe" box with layers of heavy gauge (1") plywood and sheetrock and then put that/build it in a closet with said solid door. (essentially what a fire safe is anyways except they use steel instead of plywood)  Excluding air and ventilation excluded keeps the fire away. Fire wants to go where there is ventilation and oxygen.  A closed door in a closet doesn't pose a ventilation path so they're usually secure until the door eventually burns through.  If the box or safe is in a sealed closet with a solid door it'll be safe for a LOT of fire.  The closet insulates the box and the box insulates the stuff.

Offline Jack Crabb

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Re: Is kitchen foil fireproof?
« Reply #17 on: May 09, 2017, 08:37:05 AM »
Ignition temperature is the temperature at which something catches fire and burns on its own. The ignition temperature of paper is 451 degrees Fahrenheit, or 233 degrees Celsius.

Many people know this value from the Ray Bradbury novel, Fahrenheit 451. Who knew?


"The average house fire burns at a temperature of about 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit, which isn’t hot enough to destroy most metals and earthly-made substances" say the National Institute for Fire and Safety Training.

As others noted, aluminum foil won't combust but it will melt around 1200 F.

So, the paper is long gone. The foil is approaching melting temp.
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