Deceived and discontented OWB owners

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Deceived and discontented OWB owners

Postby Wilberforce » Wed Feb 20, 2008 12:43 pm

Deceived and discontented OWB owners

Deceived and discontented OWB owners, somewhat unhappy with their expensive
purchase, tell of their bad experiences with the poorly-designed devices.
Be sure to follow the links posted by Rick, Bob, and others. They are actual wood-heaters'
negative opinions and troubles.

Note: BurningIssues.org does not support wood-burning (as does woodheat.org)


Read about it here:
http://www.woodheat.org/technology/outboiler.htm

Vermont Department of Environmental Conservation/ Air Pollution Control Division
http://www.vtwoodsmoke.org/photos.html
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Postby Lisa Cummings » Thu Feb 21, 2008 8:24 am

Interesting to read about the unexpected problems OWB owners have encountered. I fault the manufacturers who provide misleading information in their manuals and especially in their recommendations for set-up and operation. I have been on the case of our Governor and state reps in PA to force OWB manufacturers to suggest greater setbacks (not the mere 100-300 feet given) among other things. Leaving their regulations in the hands of township supervisors who are often reluctant to write and enforce local ordinances means that it's ultimately up to individuals who own these OWBs to run them carefully. Nobody is inspecting them, checking on their supply of wood (clean? dry and seasoned??) etc. This has been our greatest challenge. Each of these OWBs devour 4000-5000 large pieces of wood every heating season and I challenge anyone who operates one on a large OR small piece of land to prove they are replacing the trees they are utilizing to make this a truly "renewable" fuel source. As a nation we need to work to remove these from residential settings and put pressure on manufacturers to come clean on the real design flaws that exist, as is evidenced by these testimonials...
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Postby woodburner » Thu Feb 21, 2008 1:23 pm

As a nation we need to work to remove these from residential settings


Not so much. They do have their place. My neighbor has two of them and they work great for him. He gets free firewood however because he runs a waste disposal business so he's often disposing of down trees for people. I think the biggest mistake a buyer can make is not talking to somebody who owns one. Some people may be surprised how much wood they burn, but they do generate massive amounts of heat.
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Postby FriendofAir » Thu Feb 21, 2008 6:22 pm

"I think the biggest mistake a buyer can make is not talking to somebody who owns one"

Another mistake is not talking with your down-wind neighbor to see if they mind living with the lovely pollution for months on end.
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Postby Lisa Cummings » Thu Feb 21, 2008 7:00 pm

"My neighbor has two and they work great for HIM." Maybe your neighbor has acres and acres of land... but if he doesn't, as is the case with most of the people who live next to neighbors who have OWBs on small parcels of land and post on this site, he has a responsibility to his neighbors, if any, to contain his heat source to his land and not to allow it to spill over into other's properties. You'll be hard pressed to find someone posting on this or other sites complaining about an OWB owner on 100 acres or more. Even 20 acres. They may serve a purpose there, although these units require an awful lot of work and the owner should be ready for that. We should continue to work to get rid of them in the typical neighborhood where they clearly don't belong...
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Postby turning_blue » Fri Feb 22, 2008 5:40 pm

My husband took us to New York City for a weekend. We came from Harrisburg PA. There was so much brown thick smoke from the all the OWB. It was very smokey almost the ENTIRE way there. I had to breathe through my sweatshirt sleeve because the smoke was so severe. My child and I were so sick all weekend. Then we had to drive home.

We were thinking we'd get a break from our neighborhood smoke pollution. (The air on the harbor side, Battery Park, was fresher than here).


I will never take a roadtrip in the winter again. I kept seeing farm animals and crops and all I could think of was......Is that where my hambuger and produce are coming from? How can anyone local say their farm products are organic or all natural?

PM me Lisa.

We need to do everything and anything we can.

I am being "smoked out" right now.
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Regs won't help they just have everyone chasing their tails.

Postby pm2.5mary » Sun Feb 24, 2008 5:18 pm

OWB regulations are not the answer.

Regs did not work with wood stoves. See evidence:
http://burningissues.org/car-www/scienc ... udy-2.html

Wood is a stinking poor and dirty fuel. We need one regulation for the whole country.

The Law: The government will protect the health of every citizen. It will stop anyone from spewing smoke of any kind on victims. The victim can call 1-800-***-****
to receive immediate relief. Burners would be subject to immediate enforcement of putting out their killing fires, with a fire-hose if necessary. That is what firemen and policemen are for: to stop civil and criminal abuse of others.

One could spend 20, 50 or 100 years running around checking stack height, wood moisture content and larger setbacks, but no one, not one single person will be protected. Regs are diversionary tactics to give the appearance that something is being done.

Burning (things) is the problem. Fear and Ignorance are the problem. Science is the answer. We know enough now to pass stringent protection for victims.

PS: I am on over 100 acres with no burning of solid fuel. We have wood smoke incursions daily from one upwind neighbor who can create so much smoke that we have to evacuate the CAR, Inc. office, our house and last week had to leave the property for the day it was so bad. See pictures on our mySpace page. Smoke travels up to 700 miles and remains airbourne for 3 weeks. It does not dilute under certain conditions, it just moves quite a distance as a toxic cloud that can hover for days.
"Particulate pollution is the most important contaminant in our air. ...we know that when particle levels go up, people die. " (Joel Schwartz, Ph.D., Harvard School of Public Health, E Magazine, Sept./Oct. 2002)
Find more at http://burningissues.org
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Postby woodburner » Mon Feb 25, 2008 7:53 am

Calling for a ban of all burning? That's just ignorant. The majority of wood smoke bothers nobody at all. I can see how in certain environments it could cause problems, but you fail to see that in many environments it is OK to heat with wood!
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Postby turning_blue » Mon Feb 25, 2008 7:32 pm

Woodburner,

Why do "bother" posting?
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Postby Lisa Cummings » Tue Feb 26, 2008 6:49 pm

Woodburner

I'm shocked at your mocking of the people who post on this site with real concerns about their health/quality of life/etc. by ending with "I'll throw another log on for ya..." You obviously have never suffered an asthma attack or have never watched one of your kids participate in sports only with the help of an inhaler... You clearly have not watched your spouse struggle with congestive heart failure only to struggle more thanks to the OWB across the street... These concerns are real... you've been blessed with good lungs and no conscience ... pray that no ailment comes your way... whether it's lungs or legs or eyes that give out at some point, remember the many posts on this site where you made sport of good people trying to do what was best for their families and communities only to encounter resistance from people just like you...
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Postby Lisa Cummings » Tue Mar 04, 2008 7:22 am

VT- First of all, the smell of chocolate doesn't force anyone to use an inhaler. The 2 OWBs in our township that cause problems for neighbors operate on one acre and one-half acre. My neighbor has planted 3 trees in 15 years. Instead of pointing the angry finger at those of us who simply want a good breath of air, you should be working to find the OWB owners who put these locomotives where they'll NEVER belong causing unbelievable health problems and loss of property values when nestled in the fabric of residential life. PA is a beautiful place to live unless you have to look at and smell an OWB that some self-absorbed neighbor puts up right next to you and your kids under the blanket of "freedom". Let's get them OUT of the neighborhood.
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Postby Lisa Cummings » Wed Mar 05, 2008 10:00 am

In Feb. of 2007, after ten months of meeting with a lawyer, gathering medical evidence and taking a lot of smokey video, we DID take our neighbor to court in a civil case. We spent ALL DAY in court. There were no cases in PA dealing with OWBs so it was unchartered turf. The judge found in our favor and ordered that the OWB be shut down until such time as he moved the unit 1OO feet from the nearest neighbor's home and raised the stack to 2 feet higher than the nearest rooftop. (This was the minimum recommendation of the Hardy OWB Manufacturer.) This is clearly not enough buffer. Our neighbor DID move it as per the judge's order. The 12 foot move has provided absolutely NO relief. I have contacted local real estate agents to see if they have attempted to sell a home next to one of these units. If my neighbor had been here first with his OWB, I could never have bought this property, given my asthma. I know I would have a hard time selling my home as anyone with lung trouble of any kind would never consider being an acre away from what I can only describe as a locomotive. Now we are prepared to take him to court again, provided the judge will even hear the case a second time. This is a long, costly and sorrowful process... thousands and thousands of dollars and hours and hours of gathering info. Sorry if you think that makes me a hysterical whiner...
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Postby Wilberforce » Wed Mar 05, 2008 11:52 am

As was said earlier, lawsuits are really an inefficient means of resolving disagreements, and
should be resorted to only when all other methods fail. I think it is better to appeal to the
township, and they then should enact fair, uniform laws to deal with those miscreant persons
who are being inconsiderate of their surrounding hard-working, tax-paying citizens.
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Postby VT Woodburner » Thu Mar 06, 2008 6:37 am

Lisa,

You are doing the correct thing in trying to remedy the situation directly concerning you. It seems your neighbor is doing what he is being told to by the judge. When the judge makes a decision, somebody loses. And the loser never is satisfied with the decision.

You are correct in furthering your efforts to determine whether or not the OWB will affect your property values. But make sure the real estate agent can and will testify in court. And be prepared to have your neighbor have a real estate agent testify in his favor.

Can you get your physician to testify that the OWB is directly affecting your health?

But sometimes it's like the neighbor with the loud stereo. If it's within the laws, there's nothing you can do about it. So along with a myriad of other reasons, I left PA for the country. My wife wasn't happy about leaving the home we custom built, but it was necessary to get away from the neighbors from hell. Oops, sorry, NOO YAWK.
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Postby Lisa Cummings » Thu Mar 06, 2008 7:37 am

VT- We have attended 9 months of Jefferson Township meetings and even presented to the planning commission. I have written 3 letters to the editor of the Scranton Times which were published. Our efforts have helped 5 surrounding townships to pass ordinances requiring minimum acreage so I know that although it's been frustrating, many people have benefitted. Our supervisors have another 2-4 years before elections. Yikes! Our head supervisor has FIVE OWBs on the 200-acre family compound. He has made it perfectly clear that we will be "ordinance-free" and I brought that quote to our state rep. Ed. Staback who feels these things should be left to the local level to deal with. (?) Our request seems so simple. An ordinance that says future OWBs will need at least 3 acres of property would at least keep new ones out of the neighborhood. Our judge last February made his ruling based on 2 things: First that our neighbor would probably not move his unit because of the cost involved (he claimed the "fixed-income" line) and secondly he deferred to the manufacturer's recommendations believing that if he indeed DID move his OWB, the suggestions would have been appropriate, which they are not (100 foot minimum buffer). Our county is undergoing assessments and I included a photo of our neighbor's OWB and asked for 2 assessments- one with and one without living one acre away from the smokestack. These numbers will not be available till late summer. I will consider running for office once these 3 guys finish their terms. This, as you said, will not be easy as a widow with 3 kids but so be it. In the meantime, we'll be going back to the April meeting. Thank you for your suggestions as far as going back to court are concerned.
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