OWBs are prohibited in the state of Washington.

Air out your smoke complaint here. We can give advice from members who have found themselves in a similar situation as yours, gasping for a breath of fresh air.

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OWBs are prohibited in the state of Washington.

Postby bodhi » Wed Oct 25, 2006 7:57 am

here is some good info from the state of washington--->
OWBs tend to cause dense smoke that impacts neighbors by creating a nuisance and health problems. Most OWBs come equipped with very short stacks. The smoke from these low stacks disperses poorly. These units are intended to be operated year around, so smoke is emitted constantly. In addition, because of the way they are manufactured, OWBs are prohibited in the state of Washington.

Is Natural Wood Smoke Harmful?
Yes, all wood smoke is harmful. Fine particles from smoke emissions can be carried deep into the lungs and can be responsible for significant health problems, including asthma, lung diseases, heart diseases and death. These particles can also increase the risks of certain types of cancer. Breathing smoke is especially harmful for sensitive populations, including children, the elderly, and people with heart and lung ailments. It is estimated that fine particle air pollution costs citizens of Washington State hundreds of millions of dollars each year in health care costs and lost productivity due to illness.

I Want To Burn Wood-What Should I Do?
First, consider your neighbors. Burning wood in dense residential neighborhoods may never be a good idea.

http://www.ecy.wa.gov/programs/air/AOP_Permits/Boiler/Outdoor_Boilers_home.html

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.
"Don’t get burned
by the law"
puget sound clean air agency
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That's ridiculous

Postby woodburner » Wed Oct 25, 2006 10:17 am

That's ridiculous to have such an overbearing restriction. I am fine with restrictions in closely knit residential areas, but in the state of Washington there are plenty of places where using an outdoor wood furnace would be perfectly acceptable. The state should really get it's act together and institute some sensible legislation instead of this foolish regulation.
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Banning OWBs outright

Postby JackPine » Wed Oct 25, 2006 1:04 pm

So in WA, even if you are in the middle of 100 acres you can't have an OWB. I can see a minimum stack height requirement, setback minimum, or even a terrain regulation (i.e. not in a valley). I can see the ban in urban settings. But woodburner is right, there are plenty of areas in that state where an OWB would be fine.

What happens if an innovative person designs a system that meets the requirements of an EPA certified residential stove? What if the person installs a cyclone on the exhaust with fly ash reinjection to lower emissions? Now the OWB is better than a woodstove and is not allowed to be used. Guess that plays right into the "burn no wood" philosophy.

There will be OWB mfgs which will design a better operating unit and challenge the law and more than likely it will be amended. The industry is getting bigger and there are designs out there better than what the US makes. Time will tell.
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THE TRUTH ABOUT SMOKING NEIGHBORS....

Postby bodhi » Wed Oct 25, 2006 6:11 pm

this whole to smoke or not to smoke issue is not really about medical problems, health studies or legality issues,
what it is really about is being a good neighbor.
consider what one of the citizens of edina minnesota said when he learned about the problems recreational fire pits were causing in his
town:
"You shouldn't have to tell people how to be a good neighbor"
~Jim Hovland, mayor
if your parents, grandparents or children lived in the homes surrounding yours and they informed you that your firepit/woodstove/owb/etc. was causing them distress because their house was filling up with smoke, or they couldn't use their yard or open their windows due to the smoke and stink, what would you do?????? explain to them that it is legal therefore there is no real problem... or maybe they're the ones with the problem?
the truth about smoking neighbors is this:
if a smoking neighbor continues to burn even though they know they are placing others in distress (maybe even in harms way)
they do not posess an atom of grace, compassion or consideration for others. indeed if this neighbor had any old fashioned consideration for others not only would they comply with a request for relief but they would shut the problem causing device down forever.
what it's really about is just old fashioned concern for others.
~bodhi
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Energy Times Blog on OWBs

Postby pm2.5mary » Fri Nov 03, 2006 7:43 pm

11/3/06 Energy News: Desperate Homeowners Destroy Air Quailty Trying To Heat Homes With Smokey Boilers:http://elainemeinelsupkis.typepad.com/energy_news/2006/11/desperate_homeo.html

Our reply: (This a a good article about OWBs, but is misinformed about EPA certified wood stoves.) Other nations are failing to provide safe, clean affordable energy as well. Thank you Elaine for putting the OWB story together here. You may be interested in linking to our website, that has further information about the OWB public health catastrophe.

However, I disagree with your premise about the success of the EPA clean wood stove campaign. There is an overwhelming body of scientific information that describes the health effects and societal costs of domestic wood burning even in new wood stoves. Please see http://burningissues.org and our sister sites in Australia, Canada, and England for more infomation about the highly toxic and invisible pollution that even new certified wood stoves produce.
"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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a good read concerning owbs

Postby bodhi » Sat Nov 04, 2006 4:03 pm

check this out:
http://www.newstribune.info/articles/2006/11/03/news/editorials/edit01.txt
Many states have banned or regulated the furnaces. Some regulations include the following: furnces must be installed 200 to 500 feet from the nearest residence; furnace stack or chimney must be higher than the roof line of the neighbors home if the furnace is between 200 and 500 feet from that home; furnace can only operate six minutes out of each hour; furnace permits can be suspended if odor contaminants are detectable outside the property on which land the furnace is located; and dealers must provide buyers with notice that only untreated, natural wood can be burned in the furnace.

~from mineral daily news commentary

looks as if the woodburners are in the process of shooting each other in the foot.....
the owbs are drawing everyones attention, including the authorities that could be capable of shutting them down. this will bring woodsmoke and the dangers it wreaks into focus.
~bodhi
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Postby FriendofAir » Sat Nov 04, 2006 6:17 pm

Very interesting article, but a little short on details. When it says...

"The Federal Government has deemed that residential outdoor wood burning furnaces are one of the largest sources of toxic emissions to the atmosphere of North America"...

...It would be interesting to see where in the federal government this came from. I would like to see which studies they used to form these conclusions. It would be very powerful to have these things at our disposal.
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I decided to put up the entire editorial.

Postby pm2.5mary » Sun Nov 05, 2006 6:37 pm

This is an editorial discussion that came out today.
I wrote in and recommended that they visit our website:http://burningissues.org. They could use some of the science we have there in their discussions.

Piedmont, West Virginia
Mineral Daily Tribune News.
What is in the air you are breathing?

The Federal Government has deemed that residential outdoor wood burning furnaces are one of the largest sources of toxic emissions to the atmosphere of North America.

Studies prove that short term exposure to the smoke causes eye and throat irrtation, cough and shortness of breath, while chronic exposure triggers asthma attacks, heart and lung disease and cancer. The basic design of the furnace is one of incomplete combustion, causing fuel (usually wood) to burn incompletely, smoke excessively when thermostats call for air, then to smolder until the cycle begins again and again. The smoke is thick, acrid, and high in toxic waste emissions. This is why you often see a "smoky haze" in the area of outdoor furnaces. The tiny toxic particles in the smoke pass by the body's natural filtering system and lodge deep in your lungs. One outdoor furnace pollutes more per hour than two heavy duty diesel trucks, more than forty passenger cars, more than one thousand oil furnaces, and more than eighteen hundred gas furnces.

Many states have banned or regulated the furnaces. Some regulations include the following: furnces must be installed 200 to 500 feet from the heartest residence; furnace stack or chimney must be higher than the roof line of the beighbors home if the furnace is between 200 and 500 feet from that home; furnace can only operate six minutes out of each hour; furnace permits can be suspended if odor contaminants are detectable outside the property on which land the furnace is located; and dealers must provide buyers with notice that only untreated, natural wood can be burned in the furnace.

The furnaces are being operated in West Virginia with little to no environmental, safety or performance standards. There IS a West Virginia code stating that "It is unlawful for any person to cause a statutory air pollution" and a "public policy" to achieve and maintain such levels of air quality as will protect human health and safety to the greatest degree practiceable, foster comfort and conveience for all people, etc." New York DEC and other state codes declare no person shall cause or allow emissions of air contaminants injurious to humans or property, of which uinreasonably interfere with the enjoyment of life or property. I believe it is a reasonable expectations of our politicians to reponsibly recognize and protect the very quality of life where we live.

Owners of the furnace consider them to be an ideal, less expensive way to heat homes and water. How do homeowners measure the cost of their health problems resulting from the toxic smoke they are forced to breathe from a neighbor's furnace? Facts determine that approximately 155,000 units have been sold nationally since 1990. It is estimated that as many as 500,000 furnaces will be operating by 2010. West Virginia is one of the 19 states purchasing 65 percent of the furnaces.

The lives of many loved ones lost years ago have been attributed to pollution in coal mines, railroads, etc. Some died becuase they did now know the dangers; others died because they had no choice - they had to work in harms way to support their families. Industries have since invested millions to comply with environmental standards to protect and improve working conditions for employees. Would it not be equally important for us to invest attention in protecting our personal health and well being?

We now know the serious and real toxic hazards resulting from the outdoor wood burning furnaces and we now have a choice to do something about it. I am asking you and our politicians on every level to place priority on the environment, the health of our children and each other, and to follow the lead of other concerned states and ban the outdoor wood burning furnace.

Sharon Nicol
"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 begreen9 » Sat Mar 10, 2007 7:53 pm

Burning wood correctly and cleanly is a responsible alternative to sending our kids off to fight for more oil. The more we wean ourselves from fossil fuels the better for the planet. Here is an article from the Sierra club "Is heating with wood environmentally responsible? It's a good read. Short answer - Yes. Time for a little pragmatism.

"By increasing the use of our local
renewable resources, like firewood
(which is really solar power), we can
encourage local businesses, and
choose a more sustainable lifestyle,
one that benefits the entire planet.
Recent reports on global warming
agree that it is happening now —
and at a much faster rate than predicted.
According to the UN, we need
to spend $80 billion a year over the
next 50 years to limit global warming.
Decreasing our dependence on
fossil fuels is imperative if we are to
mitigate climate change, the largest
threat to our environment."
http://newyork.sierraclub.org/Sierra%20 ... Winter.pdf
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Postby FriendofAir » Sat Mar 10, 2007 11:18 pm

Interesting artical, but why does it say that woodstoves are not appropriate in densely populated areas?

If wood stoves burn so clean and are so environmentally friendly, why wouldn't this article in the Sierra Club recommend them for all areas?
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Postby UncleRich » Sun Mar 11, 2007 12:37 am

[quote="FriendofAir"]Interesting artical, but why does it say that woodstoves are not appropriate in densely populated areas?

If wood stoves burn so clean and are so environmentally friendly, why wouldn't this article in the Sierra Club recommend them for all areas?[/quote]

It does not recommend pre-EPA stoves, and you will get no arguments from me. But the entire article by the Sierra Club encourages the use of wood burning. It clearly states we are growing larger forests and wood is renewable.
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Postby FriendofAir » Sun Mar 11, 2007 9:21 pm

Let me quote the whole paragraph.

"The reputation that wood stoves have for producing smoke is well-deserved, and densely populated areas are not appropriate places for their use. You could say the same about diesel trucks or buses"

Yes the article does say that a certified stove produces only 30% as much particulates as a noncertified stove. That certainly is a welcome improvement. The graph, while enlightening, is incorrect. The bar graph shows the pellet stove as 200% cleaner than a certified stove while numerically it's really 300% cleaner. The graph shows that there are cleaner alternatives than a certified stove. It looks as though for every certified stove installed is the equivalent of adding a couple of extra automobiles running up to 24 hours a day.

I believe the thrust of the article was that heating with a certified stove is sustainable using a renewable resource. Heating with a noncertified stove is sustainable as well. Solar and wind energy is also sustainable. I don't think the article was promoting wood as the end-all or be all for heating.

Do you think these certified stoves are so good that we'll begin to see them in urban areas, heating apartments, factories and office buildings?
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Postby begreen9 » Mon Mar 12, 2007 12:34 pm

Good question FoA. The stoves used in the graph represent an average. Certified wood stoves continue to improve. Did you know that one model has acheived .7 gph? And there are several models now on the market that are running at well less than 2 gph? Will this trend continue? Yes, most wood burners want to be good neighbors too. Many urban burners have switched to high-quality compressed log burning which puts the stove in direct competition with it's pellet stove brethern.

As to the last question. Absolutely yes, and most likely on larger scales. The steam plant in Seattle, WA has converted to woodchip burning because the technology has progressed that much and because it is another step towards energy independence. My understanding is that there are several woodchip fired power plants either on the boards or being built right now.
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Postby slowzuki » Tue Mar 13, 2007 7:43 am

I don't have a big problem with banning of uncertified wood boilers. 99% of them have no emissions reduction features on them and seem exactly designed to smoke.

Now on the other hand, there are advanced indoor boilers available that would be perfectly capable to operate outdoors. Many of these units emissions are less than minimum epa stoves despite producing 3 x as much energy. Per btu they are on par with the best epa stoves.

50 units like this don't pollute as much as a single bad design owb and they also don't produce many of the longer chain carcinogens as they are actually combusted.
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Wood heat is not carbon neutral. Please Publish.

Postby pm2.5mary » Tue Mar 27, 2007 2:50 pm

Dear Editor:

As an environmentalist, engineer, and professor of alternative energy, the “Inconvenient Truth” is that the irresponsible application of technology can create environmental conditions worse than global warming. The myth of wood heat being “carbon neutral” is part of an irresponsible ad campaign by an industry group that is making claims that heating with wood protects us from global warming. With the intent of reducing global warming, and saving money, some people have been convinced that it is OK to sicken their neighbors and neighborhoods with asthma and bronchitis causing smoke. Wood smoke is the other “second hand smoke” and has been well documented to contain high levels of fine particulate (PM2.5) pollution; PM2.5 are so small that they can pass directly into the bloodstream and also contain many carcinogens such as benzene and formaldehyde that cause eye and lung irritation as well. Communities that have banned and properly regulated OWBs have acted responsibly; an OWB produces more than 1500 times the pollution of a natural gas furnace (go to: www.burningissues.org).

The manufacturers of OWBs have enlisted the services of clever marketers to convince people that it is their patriotic duty to part with up to $20,000 to spew smoke with their devices. Please excuse my cynicism, but if these fine particulate salesmen have their way and provide the dirtiest form of heat on every city block, how will air pollution improve the quality of our lives and save the planet?

Instead of spending several thousand dollars on an OWB, it is better to simply conserve energy. It is more cost-effective and less polluting to upgrade the insulation, windows, and heating systems in our homes as well as install solar panels or wind turbines to save money and utilize truly clean renewable energy.

It has been 38 years since our nation’s technology placed men on the moon, as a nation, we should also be able to heat our homes with best available technologies that do not harm our health. Our heating technologies should evolve beyond basic wood burning methods that cavemen used some 500,000 years ago. While cavemen could be carefree with only 1 million people in the world, to protect the present environmental interests and energy resources of nearly 7 billion people requires considerable planning and discipline. The resolution to the global warming problem will require further advances in technology and the full cooperation of all persons.

Stopping global warming must NOT result in greater levels of pollution; fine particulate air pollution is not a small problem.


-Professor Curt M. Freedman, PE, CEM
"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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