Update on OWB Problem

Personal Situations - Problems or Solutions.

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Update on OWB Problem

Postby cellist » Sun Apr 29, 2012 9:43 pm

In December of 2009, I posted on this forum how an outdoor wood boiler was affecting our lives and asthma conditions. I mentioned how one calm, winter, Michigan evening I took a reading on our Dylos particle counter outside. I mentioned that it peaked at 36,000 particles per .01 cubic foot at 350 feet away from the boiler (very high indeed!). This boiler, which was 250 feet away from our horse barn, was not only affecting my health and my wife's health, it was also causing one of our horses to have a persistent cough (the boiler was only 100 feet away from the corner of the horse pasture). Here is an update:

We have since moved (more on this later) but I kept a regular log of the smoke conditions on our property and in our house, as well as a log of the outdoor readings from the Dylos particle counter. I never imagined that I would take a reading above 36,000 particles/.01 cubic foot but one calm, cold evening I took a reading outside that was around 42,000 particles/.01 cubic foot (!).

Because we lived in an old farmhouse, the old "Michigan basement" didn't stand a chance at keeping the wood smoke out and so the furnace would blow smoke smell into the house.

While living there not only did my wife suffer from continual asthma symptoms, I came down with pneumonia. This was unusual for me as I tend to be quite healthy, only getting the occasional cold.

The local health department said they needed video of the smoke reaching the structures on our property (as if the smoke needs to be visible to be unhealthy!). They said the video would then be reviewed by another department to determine if a toxicologist would be sent out to take air-quality readings. If the toxicologist would be sent out, the readings would be reviewed to see if they violated the EPA air quality standards. If the readings violated the EPA air quality standards, these would be forwarded to the district attorney who would decide whether or not to prosecute.

I did get several videos of visible smoke reaching the horse barn and shed but it became clear that this whole process was going to take longer than was permissible given the health effects and we simply moved out. Thanks to my parents, they helped us with a down payment for another house and we escaped the nasty outdoor wood boiler.

To make a long story short, after failed attempts to rent the house (one renter moved out and left a lot of damage), the bank is foreclosing on the old house next to the boiler. We had to move two times since moving out, which was quite expensive because of our horses.

So that is what living next to an outdoor wood boiler can do; it can give you asthma attacks, pneumonia (probably), a foreclosure, ruined credit, and a drained bank account. Oh, but wait, my neighbors with the OWB saved a few bucks on their winter heating bills! I guess that makes it all better.
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