smoke residue

Technical questions that one would like posed to experts
(scientists) in fields related to particulate pollution.

wood burning stove

Postby muddywaters » Fri May 25, 2007 8:42 am

Yes it is a wood burning stove, and not a fireplace. Unfortunately, he uses it to help heat the house, I think. Yes this much smoke is a problem. Creosote does seem to be a problem too, hence my concern about my siding etc.. Tried to talk to, but this woodburner thinks it is ok. What to do?
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Postby Harley » Mon May 28, 2007 12:19 pm

I wouldn't expect you to see or know about how much creosote has been built up in the chinmey. If it's smoking that much, the creosote buildup is certainly a concern. How often do you seen him cleaning the chimney, or has it been cleaned at all?.

It's tough to tell the exact situation only from one side (and sitting at a computer). I try to be pretty reasonable..... looks like you have a problem.... You could tackle it in a few different ways:

You could take the standpiont with your neighbor that "your smoke is bothering me...stop it", and he would probably take the position "I'm within my rights, deal with it". That doesn't get anything accomplished.

[I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt here, and I'll assume all conditions are as described]

Let's assume the neighbor is burning a pre-EPA stove, not operating it properly, burning wet or unseasoned wood, dampering the stove down way too far before the fire is going. (this would almost have to be the situation to cause what you describe). The choice at this point as to how to deal with it.

You can be somewhat complacent, and and ask for ways to try to "force" the neighbor to stop, or you could be a little more "pro-active", and educate yourself about what is out there for very clean and efficient wood burning setups and practices, and then you could go to the neighbor with some knowledge and let them know how he can be much more efficient ($), and safe. I think that would go a lot further to help "neighborhood relations", rather than just drawing a line in the sand.

There's some people on here who do burn wood for heat, myself included, and most seem to be pretty concerned about safety, effeciency, and the environment.

There's one thread on here, where the "affected" people had a problem with the neighbor's smoke and setup. Recently, it looks like that problem might have been resolved by educating the "offending" neighbors.

Not long ago, Bodhi stated he would probably go to a stove shop, and see the literature and look at what they have.... I'm not sure of what the outcome of that was, but I haven't seen it on here yet. Hopefuly he/she will go.

If you want to be pro-active, and want some advice as to what is safe and clean..... just ask that question.... there's some pretty experienced wood burners here too, who would probably be happy to help you out.
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that would be great

Postby muddywaters » Mon May 28, 2007 7:31 pm

Anything I can learn to help the situation would be great. Yes, I would like to be proactive. I really don't know how to go about it. So yes please help me understand how we might educate. It is worth a try.
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Re: that would be great

Postby Harley » Wed May 30, 2007 7:41 am

muddywaters wrote:Anything I can learn to help the situation would be great. Yes, I would like to be proactive. I really don't know how to go about it. So yes please help me understand how we might educate. It is worth a try.


OK, well I'm sure others will probably chime in..... again, it might help if you give the general area of the country we are talking about, and the climate (that can make a huge difference).

Can you see where your neighbor stores his wood? Without being too nosey, can you get a general idea if its been seasoned, or if he's burning freshly cut (green), of maybe even old, rotten wood?

and realisticaly, what is the relationship with the neibor.... do you guys talk at all or generally get along, or do you flip each other off when you see each other in the yard? That's going to make a big difference, too.

Have you seen the stove, or can you somehow describe it, or ask?

Its tough to provide possible solutions, when the "problem" could have so many variables. As much information as you could provide would be helpful, and would needed to give you any sort of meaningful advice.
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smoking out thy neighbor

Postby bodhi » Wed May 30, 2007 12:00 pm

muddy,
in washington state, the puget sound clean air agency seems to have a handle on situations where a woodburner smokes out his neighbor:

"Be a good neighbor.
It is always illegal to smoke out your neighbor. If smoke from your fire bothers your neighbors, damages their property or otherwise causes a nuisance, you must immediately put it out."

http://www.pscleanair.org/actions/outdoorfires/law.aspx

there is good information on this site for those on both sides of the fence.
there seems to be many variables in the proper operation of a woodstove. i wonder if all old woodstoves should be banned in favor of the newer more efficient models. apparently they burn cleaner with very little smoke... although i have not observed any of these in action.
maybe the stove operators should also be required to get certification in the operation of the device.... like auto licensure.
i think the big problem with the stoves is the smoke and noxious chemistry. once the smoke leaves the stack of the burner, there is no more control of the byproducts. wind, weather and geography take over.
for example, if a fire pit owner is enjoying his fire pit and the wind begins blowing the smoke at him, he will probably get up and move his chair so he is not blasted by the smoke and odor. the unfortunate problem is that a home owner cannot get up and move his house out of the path of the woodburners smoke.

~bodhi
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Postby woodburner » Wed May 30, 2007 12:48 pm

Note that the page you linked to is referring to outdoor fires, not wood stoves.
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Postby Harley » Wed May 30, 2007 1:12 pm

Woodburner:
You are correct there, but looking around on the side you will find:

"If you choose to heat with wood, opt for an EPA-certified wood stove or wood-burning fireplace insert. They burn about 60 percent cleaner than older uncertified stoves or fireplaces."

"Check your chimney periodically to make sure no smoke is visible. If you see smoke, your fire needs more air."

If nothing else, at least they acknowledge the EPA Stove do burn much cleaner, and that properly operated, you really should not see any smoke.
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Thanks for the help so far

Postby muddywaters » Wed May 30, 2007 6:54 pm

Hi all. Thanks so much for all the input so far. I will try to answer your questions as beast as possible.

I live in Michigan
As far as the wood the woodburner uses. Of course I do not really know. I do live in a wooded area, and I think some of the wood is gathered from the woods, maybe not all of it.
Relationship-well it has not been to bad until we brought to his attention that the smoke is bothering us. Since then we just don't really talk, no Harley I do not flip them off. I am not that kind of a person lol.
Does not mean we can't talk to them as we have been friends over the years, but I really do not think they would listen. As I have read before on this forum (I think) it would be best if we asked someone of authority to talk to them. Someone who might be objective? Don't really know who that would be? Now don't get me wrong, It is not that I would not like to talk to them:), but They do not seem to see anything wrong with the woodstove:( or chimney smoke.

This smoke stack is 30 foot from my back door:( and 5 feet from my property line. I looked at the Pugeot Sound site. (Thanks Bodhi) another picture of the smoke that exits the chimney can be found on this site. Go to the site, click on Woodstoves and fireplaces, then know the law look at the pictures and the picture pedicting the worst smoke is what I see 90% of the time when this wood stove is being used:( I found it fascinating that the State of Washington seems to have a law prohibiting woodstove smoke above the 20% opacity level (if I read it correctly?) and woodburner, there does seems to be a law regarding woodstove smoke specifically, if you first click on woodstove and fireplaces. I do not know about the laws in my state or how to best access them. Any ideas here?
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Re: smoking out thy neighbor

Postby Harley » Wed May 30, 2007 7:16 pm

bodhi wrote:there seems to be many variables in the proper operation of a woodstove. i wonder if all old woodstoves should be banned in favor of the newer more efficient models. apparently they burn cleaner with very little smoke... although i have not observed any of these in action.
maybe the stove operators should also be required to get certification in the operation of the device.... like auto licensure.


Actually a good point Bodhi, which made me think a little bit on your analogy. I think in most states, certainlty here in MA, that antique and older vehicles are exempt from emmisions testing. By the same token you would suggest that all pre-EPA stove be banned, would you also suggest that all pre- (maybe 1972, or maybe even later than that) vehicles be banned from running on the roads as well? That would probably be a good way to cut down on a lot of pollution, but realistically... I don't think it would happen, nor would I support it.

As far as more legislation/liscensure to run a wood stove.... I'm sorry to say, but that is really just plain silly. To me... it's really about being efficient, and smart, and considerate. Yeah - the new stoves do burn clean, and use less wood, and heat your home using a renewable resource, rather than all of the pollution associated with the delivery of other heating alternatives in certain areas of the country.

I realize this is your web-site and domain - you run it as you see fit, and that's fine - you do a lot of editing of posts, and delete some altogether - again - you have every right to do what like.

This particular thread started with a question/concern/problem about a single issue about Muddy's neighbor. I was just trying to keep it on topic and get some information about this situation, to try to help out a bit, if I can, and offer some suggestions to hopefully get it resolved.
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thanks

Postby muddywaters » Thu May 31, 2007 5:48 am

Harley

I do thank-you for your suggestions and help, especially the idea of being proactive. This though is where the struggle is it is like you said the wood burner sees it as their right to burn wood. The non-woodburner says but your smoke is effecting me. A stale-mate occurs. I really like the idea of educating the woodburner, but I do not know how. See I think the woodburner says this is my property and I will burn wood. Now I certainly do not mind if someone burns wood I am not a fanatic, but when
as you say the woodburner is irresponsible and all signs point to the fact that (like a 5 on the eco-energy scale) it is being done incorrectly what to do? I really think trying to talk to the woodburner will just escalate the situation, and that is what I would like to avoid, but how long can I take the woodsmoke?
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Postby Harley » Thu May 31, 2007 7:00 am

Muddy.... how about trying this....

Sometime this summer... invite him over for a few beers, or whatever.... you could bring up the topic.... even is it is not completely true, you could say..... "I've been doing some research on wood stoves.... maybe even thinking about getting one"

Prior to that, you could either stop somewhere, or print out some on-line spec's from some different manufacturers - there's a bunch to choose from.... show him some of the new stoves, and that you have an interest, and ask his opinion. Ask him what he has, how his is set up, how much wood he goes through. Figure out what he is burning and how. If you talk to him about how clean and efficient some of the newer stoves are, you may just get him interested in upgrading. You may also get the point across that if its smoking as much as you describe, that he is really wasting wood (and money).
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Postby bodhi » Thu May 31, 2007 7:36 am

Harley,
just thinking outloud...
if most woodstoves in use were up to new EPA spec, i think there would be a lot less smoke. the smoke tends to create problems with non woodburning neighbors because it impacts their property use. (use of the yard and/or access to fresh air through open windows)
if two burners using the exact same model of stove could create different amounts of smoke due to user technique, i think somehow there could be less smoke from all stoves if they were used properly. this would cause less problems with non woodburning neighbors.... thus the idea of certification. again, just thinking outloud, attempting to find a solution to decrease smoke production and impact problems.

p.s.
i wouldn't mind a massive overhaul in the auto industry... including the ditching of old cars, as you suggest.
as you know, i would prefer electric cars.
i am not keen on coal use either. wind and solar generated electricity (or any less pollutive suorce) would need to go hand in hand with the auto change...


p.p.s.
Harley wrote:I realize this is your web-site and domain - you run it as you see fit, and that's fine - you do a lot of editing of posts, and delete some altogether - again - you have every right to do what like.

thanks...
yeah, unfortunately, i won't tolerate flaming (pardon the pun) or arrogance... see the forum rules.
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Postby Harley » Thu May 31, 2007 6:08 pm

bodhi wrote:Harley,
just thinking outloud...
if most woodstoves in use were up to new EPA spec, i think there would be a lot less smoke. the smoke tends to create problems with non woodburning neighbors because it impacts their property use. (use of the yard and/or access to fresh air through open windows)
if two burners using the exact same model of stove could create different amounts of smoke due to user technique, i think somehow there could be less smoke from all stoves if they were used properly. this would cause less problems with non woodburning neighbors.... thus the idea of certification. again, just thinking outloud, attempting to find a solution to decrease smoke production and impact problems.

p.s.
i wouldn't mind a massive overhaul in the auto industry... including the ditching of old cars, as you suggest.
as you know, i would prefer electric cars.
i am not keen on coal use either. wind and solar generated electricity (or any less pollutive suorce) would need to go hand in hand with the auto change...


p.p.s.
Harley wrote:I realize this is your web-site and domain - you run it as you see fit, and that's fine - you do a lot of editing of posts, and delete some altogether - again - you have every right to do what like.

thanks...
yeah, unfortunately, i won't tolerate flaming (pardon the pun) or arrogance... see the forum rules.



I guess my point about the certification should have been made more clear. I don't think the answer is to burden a homeowner with have to go though a bunch of bureaucratic b/s and red tape to learn how to run everything in their house. Could you imagine the nightmare that would cause, or where that could end? Almost everything in your house could pose a risk to yourself, your family or your neighbors if its not used properly. Let's certify people who have septic systems to educate them what can or cannot go down there, because if used wrong, the system will fail, and the neighbors will suffer, or maybe one should be certified and have a licence to operate a fuel oil burner to heat their homes, electric heaters, or maybe even their oven, microwave, toaster, hair dryer, etc., etc., etc.

I'm just trying to ask enough questions and get as much information as possible to try to help Muddy resolve the issue with his neighbor... it should be able to be resolved without starting a neighborhood war.... maybe my above suggestion to him will work... maybe not.

Regarding your p.p.s.:

I was just trying to keep the discussion on-topic to try to help the guy with the problem. I was hoping the thread wouldn't go off topic, and try to keep on the issue at-hand - I believe it can be resolved among neighbors - not by regulation.... I'd like to see the problem fixed where both are happy, rather than just forcing the neighbor to stop what is apparently supplementing/heating their home.

It's not flaming or arrogance, and yeah - I've read the forum rules
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Postby bodhi » Thu May 31, 2007 6:25 pm

Harley,
cool...
big thanks and appreciation for your thoughts and input for muddy.
~bodhi
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Thanks Harley and Bodhi

Postby muddywaters » Sun Jun 03, 2007 8:16 am

Well, I thank you for your input again. I have thought this over-I mean Harley's ideas about the barbeque. Well, I think I have to think of this woodburner as more of a hands on learner. Hence, if I try to talk to him about the issue he may not listen. Even if it is in a backdoor kind of way. See remember here that he thinks he is correct. I thought about a smoke detector that might go off when the smoke comes my way, something like that. Any ideas here? Something that might bring his attention to the smoke when it is occuring without a direct kind of confrontation.
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