Ask the Expert: Smoke gets in their house -

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

Ask the Expert: Smoke gets in their house -

Postby pm2.5mary » Sun Dec 31, 2006 7:51 pm

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Ask the Expert
Smoke gets in their house — and their lungs

By Darrell Hay
Special to The Seattle Times

Q: We had a new roof with ridge vents and attic vents installed on our 14-year-old house. The old roof had no roof or ridge vents — only lots of under-eave vents.

Several neighbors use wood-burning fireplaces, and one occasionally uses a smoker and open fire bowl in his backyard. The wood smoke comes in our roof vents and attic, then is pulled (by forced-air furnace) down into the living area through recessed can lights and vents. The house fills with smoke. My husband plugged the eave vents on that side of the house. This did not help.

Ed: Being at home in a smokey neighborhood is as dangerous as driving in a car. The yearly death rate is comparable. Smokey neighborhoods pose an involuntary hazard that has gone on for decades. Many victims of wood smoke plead with their neighbors for releif only to be further abused and even threatened with lawsuits by the burners . If the home is surrounded by smoke the readings of the fine particulate aerosol that kills people, and causes heart attacks and illness, inside the home will be 70% on the average of the outside measurement. Even the best heating and air cleaning systems can be overwhelmed. I recommend further filtration with stand alone hepa air filters in every room.

Note:There is a silent migration all over the continent with people seeking clean air neighborhoods. The Hearth, Patio, Barbeque Industry continues to market filthy 'new and old technology' solid fuel burning devices. Why? We seem as a nation to prefer denial rather than demand our government agencies, including the gutted health departments, step forward and protect the health of every citizen. Solid fuel burning devices need to be banned for sale in urban areas.
The Puget Sound Air Quality Control District has had 20 years or more to deal with this problem. Yet we find the wood smoke problem has been exacerbated by year round burning in fire pits and smokers from the very people who burn all winter. Will the PSAQCD protect this victim? We would like to find out. The hearth industry marketing and the wood smoke hydrocarbons have made the public dumber. Unfortunately Mr. Hay did not give out the website or any wood smoke health information websites.
"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)
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ridge vent allowing smoke in

Postby ME-air » Mon Jan 01, 2007 6:16 pm

A quick solution to this, as well as a good idea for anyone with tight houses, is to draw the combustion air for the furnace (or boiler) directly from the outside. This is accomplished using an intake, flexible or hard piping, and a box on the burner of the furnace which totally encloses it. Any HVAC installer can do this.

Without this, enough of a vacuum could be drawn on the house to draw combustion gasses from the boiler which should be going UP the chimney to be drawn DOWN. This can even be more of an occurance in the winter when the dryer is going. Another way to keep the boiler from drawing a vacuum is to install an air exchanger, but that costs quite a bit more than drawing the combustion air directly from the outside.
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Smoke infiltration

Postby Ernest Grolimund » Wed Jun 25, 2008 5:41 pm

A well known remodeler who insulated the Maine Governors mansion recomended doing without the ridge and soffit vents and getting more insulation blown into the vent space. He did this for his house. You could block the ridge vent too. You could blow foam into the vent space, too

I installed v strip weatherstripping on a few windows where the smoke comes in. Air for breathing can come in windows on adjacent sides usually. The smoke builds up more in eddy currents on the positive compression side of the house. Only a few windows can be blocked.

I installed a health pro plus aircleaner that took out the particles and gases for the whole house. Caulked sills too. Taped basement windows because we rarely use the basement. Use common sense or consult an
HVAC engineer, but beware. They were like sharks for me. HEPA filters let 90% of the smoke through. They did not work for me nor did ionizers. Only the IQ Air company healthpro plus air cleaner worked for me. They have extraordinary pm filtering ability.
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