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Neighbour's smoke entering the house.

PostPosted: Sat Jul 23, 2011 8:00 pm
by Frank
Hello BurningIssues community,

I'm seeking advice regarding a long running issue with a neighbours chimney smoke entering my house.

The neighbour's single story house is down hill from my two story house, which is flanked by two identical houses. This creates a wall that the smoke does not rise above, resulting in a cloud of smoke hanging about in the back yard and seeping into the house. I've been through the whole business of trying to reason with them, getting the authorities involved etc. All to no effect. The local EPA does not care about protecting people from nuisance, their only interest seems to be making sure people aren't burning garbage. They will act on black smoke, but white smoke can literally go on forever and they can't do a thing. The Environmental legislation here is very much useless.

As I see it at this stage my only real options now are to either take legal action or move. I'm still investigating legal avenues but it looks like I'll probably just cut my losses and move before next winter.

The current burning season hopefully shouldn't run for much more than another eight to ten weeks or so, and there has been on average some decent wind most of the time this winter. So for now I'm just trying to minimise the amount of smoke entering the house as much as possible. To this end I've sealed gaps and taped windows with moderate success in that the burning smell does not come in much anymore. Only when the wind is doing the perfectly wrong thing outside.

However, despite having stopped the burning smell there is still this other smell that comes with the smoke and still gets into the house with ease. I have no idea what it might be though. I can't really describe it other than to say that it some times has an almost sweet smell, and feels much denser to breathe than fresh air. It drives my sinuses crazy though and will often make me sick when there is enough of it in the house.

I know that is all quite vague, but does any one have any idea what this stuff could be?


Re: Neighbour's smoke entering the house.

PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 10:15 am
by Wilberforce
Hi Frank. I am guessing that you live in the Southern Hemisphere (Australia?)

I will email your request to my friends. Meanwhile, please browse the site. Letters have been posted in the past here on this problem, and check the "opinions" section for letters and advice. Especially see our "research" section for science papers on wood-fire smoke. Use these as strong evidence for your town or state law enforcement agencies.


Re: Neighbour's smoke entering the house.

PostPosted: Sun Jul 24, 2011 6:41 pm
by swiper
Frank you probably wouldn't know what the people are burning. They could be burning various types of wood and even stuff that isn't wood. All the same this smoke is toxic and harmful.
Depending where you are, have you contacted the local council about the matter? Some EPA's pass the buck to local government.
A letter from your doctor would be helpful to flash around in any discussions you are having with anyone. It puts them on notice.
I would certainly look around for a laywer with an interest in this type of thing.
Keep a list of the costs associated with remedial action and copies of letters you write to people.
Have you ever thought about an air purifier in the interim? It might help you to breathe while you get around to working out what is the best way for you to move forward.

Re: Neighbour's smoke entering the house.

PostPosted: Mon Aug 29, 2011 4:13 pm
by nspresident
We have that problem where I live, too. It's a summer problem because of all the bonfire smoke. When the smoke gets really heavy, we can smell it inside the house with all the windows closed. I spent some time going around the windows and doing some caulking. I found some hairline cracks in the foundation and took care of those. It did not eliminate the wood smoke infiltration. But maybe it will reduce heat loss come winter.

Re: Neighbour's smoke entering the house.

PostPosted: Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:12 pm
by ccraiggnelson
We have the same problem in the fall in my neighborhood. Everyone here burns wood in their fireplaces. The smoke seeps into my house and makes me nauseous. I've found using a freestanding HEPA air cleaner along with changing the filters on my furnace every month make a huge difference for me.

Re: Neighbour's smoke entering the house.

PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2012 5:30 am
by lexybam
Frank I guess that issue has to do with the lay out of your region. It is a pity that your environmental agency are not fully done. Anyway, there should be a better way to deal with it. May be you wait for the mail the guy will send to you.

Re: Neighbour's smoke entering the house.

PostPosted: Fri Feb 24, 2012 11:33 pm
by jamfazal
stop them if the don't understand then you can contact from court hope find get out put. because this is big crime for your child future government focus human right then make decetion. When i was come in my area no one smoker now a days 25% young generation use smoking reason is that our neighbor that come before 2 years involve young generation in smoking this quantity increase how we can control government no sport this town.