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Old 05-08-2009, 01:54 PM
Location: Grosse Ile Michigan
23,589 posts, read 57,558,014 times
Reputation: 24488


Originally Posted by netfrack View Post
What you can do is make your neighbors aware of the fact that fireplaces are the most inneficient way to heat one's home. The room they are in is the only room that actually gets warm, while the rest of the house ends up sucking in air from outside to "feed" the fire.
That may be true the way modern fireplaces are designed, it is not true of older homes. Many older homes were and can be heated quite comfortably using fireplaces. The fireplaces are built into the center of the home rather than taked on to the back or side walls on the outside. The fireplaces themselves are shallower and have larger openeings and many have heat retaining features. When we heat our home using the fireplaces all fo the rooms except the later additions are kept reaonably warm and the heat is surprisingly even. Obviously, it is warmer nearer the fireplace and a bit cooler further away but less dramatically so that you would expect.

The house withthe problem must have design issues. Perhaps the chiminey is too short, maybe they are burning trash. About half the homes around us use fireplaces inteh winter and the only smell is a mild trace that reminds you of camping. It is nice and homey. Even where the houses are close together, the smoke does not go into neighbor's houses. It starts 8 or so fee above the rooftop and rises from there.
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Old 06-20-2009, 09:20 PM
11 posts, read 125,427 times
Reputation: 44
Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
Also, burning wood in a fireplace produces particulates and some sulfur dioxide. Particulates and sulfur dioxide are proven to increase albedo which reflects the sun's rays and cools the area affected. So, by burning wood in a fireplace, the increase in albedo and reduction in methane formation could make it actually better as a method of reducing global warming than letting it rot in the forest. Maybe we should all combat global warming by firing up our fireplaces and barbecues?
Actually, you have got it wrong. Even Al Gore has called on the world to burn less wood and fuel to curb 'black carbon'
Al Gore calls on world to burn less wood and fuel to curb 'black carbon' | Environment | guardian.co.uk

Black carbon emissions are causing the Arctic ice sheets to melt up, possibly leading to the release of frozen sub-sea methane, described as a 'ticking time bomb' that could lead to catastropic global warming Exclusive: The methane time bomb - Climate Change, Environment - The Independent

Originally Posted by harry chickpea View Post
Is excessive smoke a problem in highly populated areas? Sure. That is a totally different issue though than some of these side arguments. I said it at the outset, if one of the old outside burners is being used in such an area, there is reason for complaint. But then a lot of what is being said here has no connection with reasonableness.
Not long ago it was considered "reasonable" for people to share the same office as a workmate who smoked. But studies have now shown the health damage that can result, so opinions have changed.

Opinions are also changing about wood smoke. For example, the American Lung Association says:
Dont burn wood or trash. Burning firewood and trash are among the major sources of particle pollution in many parts of the country. If you must use a fireplace or stove for heat, convert your woodstoves to natural gas, which produces far fewer emissions.
Avoid exercising outdoors when pollution levels are high. Walk indoors in a shopping mall or gym or use an exercise machine. Always avoid exercising near high traffic areas. Limit the amount of time your child spends playing outdoors when the air quality is unhealthy.

This advice comes from studies showing that people who live in areas with high particle pollution measurement have higher death rates. The US EPA set national air quality standards. Southern California banned the installation of wood stoves in new building because it wants to meet the air quality standards and protect people's health.

The pollutant of most concern (the one most closely linked to premature mortality and other health problems) is PM2.5 - fine particles less than 2.5 millionths of a metre, that penetrate into the deepest recesses of our lungs where they cause inflammation, leading to heart and lung diseases. PM2.5 are so tiny they behave like gases, entering houses even when all doors and windows are shut. The only way to keep them out is to make the house airtight but then people would die from lack of oxygen.

Many smokers deny their habit affects their health, but scientific studies show otherwise. You can't tell whether a particular smoker's heart disease was caused by cigarettes. But a higher proportion of smokers die of heart disease than non-smokers, so smoking is linked to heart disease. In the same way, because more people die of heart and lung diseases in areas where woodsmoke builds up, we now know that both woodsmoke and PM2.5 pollution in general are linked to heart disease. The mechanism is similar to tobacco smoking, inflammation in the lungs spills over into the bloodstream and affects the arteries amongst other organs.

Montreal has just banned the installation of all new woodstoves because of increasing breaches of the PM2.5 air quality standard - 61% of particle emissions are from wood heatng Wood heating: a public health issue for the Montral region

The Quebec Lung Association notes: A non-certified wood heating system releases as high a quantity of fine particles in nine hours as a car does over one year (18,000 km).
Certified heaters are a bit cleaner, but they still cause more PM2.5 pollution in a couple of days as driving a car for a year.
That sort of pollution may be OK if you live on acres where the pollution can disperse, but it can cause serious problems in areas where smoke builds up. Wood smoke pollution increases death rates reports a scientific study of Christchurch, NZ, showing that (after adjusting for other factors such as age, sex, ethnicity, socio-economic status and tobacco smoking habits) death rates were related to smoke levels[2]. Estimates for each increase of 10g/m3 of PM10 exposure were:
34% increase in respiratory deaths
11% increase in circulatory deaths
8% increase in all deaths This implies that living in the most polluted areas (>20g/m3 PM10) increases mortality by about 16% (respiratory deaths by about 68%) compared to living in unpolluted areas with <1 g/m3.

Attitudes will change. Most people would be offended by someone lighting a cigarette and blowing smoke in their face. If this would offend you, please be considerate about the effect of your woodsmoke on your neighbors.
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Old 06-22-2009, 08:05 AM
Location: Little Pond Farm
559 posts, read 1,159,581 times
Reputation: 495
My friend had this problem and she ended up having to sell her home and move. Her dog ended up getting chronic bronchitis, she had eye, nose and throat problems. It was a mess and there wasn't a darn thing she could do but move from a home that was in her families for generations. The only thing she could have done was to sue her neighbor in court since neighborhood arbitration didn't help.
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Old 09-29-2009, 10:17 AM
2 posts, read 25,433 times
Reputation: 17
We had two garaged ferrets die here who lived in a garage next door to an OWB. Wood smoke kills.
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Old 09-29-2009, 11:30 AM
2 posts, read 25,433 times
Reputation: 17
Default glad you're not MY neighbor

Originally Posted by Threerun View Post
Gee- I dont like the smoke and odor from my neighbors 30 year old garden tractor in the spring when I have the windows open.. Well guess what? Thats my tough diddie. Shut the windows and turn on the fan, BFD.

I've burned wood in woodstoves for over 20 years, lived in neighborhoods where people burned woodstoves, and I've never once had smoke infiltration into my house (unless it was MY stove back puffing due to downdraft).. That's true even with my windows open.

In my current home (of one year) I yanked out the gas logs, capped the damn thing off and cut and split my own wood to use in the fireplace, as it was intended to be. Next year Im putting a woodstove in.

I've never heard anyone ballyhoo about it at all. As a matter of fact, most people I know love the aroma of burning white oak on a crisp autumn night.

If anyone does have a problem with it, Ill be more than happy to teach them how to close their windows, light a candle, or read the real estate section and look for another home.
If you've never heard anyone ballyhoo (new word to me btw) then you must live among nothing but wood burners. In my area, about 1/4 of the residents burn occasionally but several burn 24/7 and we've taken the matter to town hall and the county legislators to stop the insanity because of dead pets, kids and adults with asthma, spiking carbon monoxide meters, SMOKE INFILTRATION, even with closed windows and doors. You are probably so "smoke saturated" that you wouldn't know if the forest was blazing. Most of our 24/7 burners also chew tobacco and spit on the ground.

What angers me most is that I've lived here over 30 years in harmony with everyone until the several wood burning families invaded our peaceful, clean community.

Remember one thing: when your smoke leaves your property and invades mine - it's invasion of my property which deprives me of the right to enjoyment of my home and it's also a law on the books called "public nuisance."

You wood burners are so cocky and arrogant AND ignorant to not care about anyone but yourselves and your dirty habit. They outlawed tobacco smoke in public areas in may states, wood smoke is coming close (and has been stopped in many municipalities.) Anyone who says wood smoke is not harmful doesn't know what they are talking about. Check the info on the EPA website and on Burning Issues
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Old 10-29-2009, 03:44 PM
2 posts, read 25,186 times
Reputation: 15
Funny, I live in Kansas and most around here like the smell of a wood burning stove. I'm installing one in my house right now. I guess to each their own likes and dislikes.
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Old 10-29-2009, 03:56 PM
2 posts, read 25,186 times
Reputation: 15
Wow. didn't read skyewatchers posts before I replied. Glad you're not my neighbor. My brother used to have ferrets. I'll take a whole neighborhood of wood burning stoves over neighbors with little rat like pets.
"Most of our 24/7 burners chew tobacco and spit on the floor." What a jerk. I've been a 24/7 burner. I don't chew tobacco, and don't spit period.
Sounds to me like somebody that just likes to *****.
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Old 10-30-2009, 12:17 AM
Location: Lafayette, Louisiana
14,095 posts, read 22,497,783 times
Reputation: 7945
I'm coming to this topic almost a year late but with the cold spell we're getting, it's time to bring it back out again. To the person who started this topic, you need to see a shrink for your OCD and possibly other issues. If you're that affraid of the "smell" of wood smoke then you shouldn't even live in a modern home in which the wood, carpet, plastics, and other items give off vapors from various chemicals. You shouldn't drive on public roads since vehicle exhaust fumes are sucked into your car's ventilation system and fills the inside of the car. What you're probably smelling inside your home is what you brought in with you when you go in and out your home. Perhaps your central air system as a vent for a mixture of some outside air to be brought in to change and circulate the air in the home when it runs. If that's the case then your own home's ventilation is bringing in the outside air's smoke smell, along with your hair and clothing. Your ancestors for thousands of years survived long winters burning wood and you're now worried about the smell of smoke? You got a problem with burning wood then move to the equator. Even here in south Louisiana some families use their wood burning fire place in the winter to help lower their utility bills.
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Old 10-30-2009, 09:13 PM
3 posts, read 20,350 times
Reputation: 14
Many of my neighbors have turned to burning wood to heat their houses. The smoke from the house next door seems to blow down, instead of up and fills the yard with smoke when first started and the smell lingers. My dog has had unexplained drooling episodes, so severe that he looks like a dripping water faucet, and it goes on for several hours. I've spent over $2,000 over the past two winters to conclude it's from the smoke. It starts in December and ends in April, as long as the woodburning period lasts. My asthma is also worse during this period, but I know how I'm feeling and can be treated.

I'm thinking of asking my neighbor to raise his chimney. I'll even pay for it. Does a higher chimney decrease the external downdraft? How will this effect my neighbors efficiency? I believe it is a fireplace with a wood stove insert.

Right now I'm looking at air purifiers for inside my house but that won't help being outside. I very much like my neighbors and am trying to find the most amiable solution, but I also don't want to waste money on solutions that don't work.

I would appreciate helpful suggestions from those with woodburning stoves.
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Old 10-31-2009, 09:14 AM
Location: Lost in Montana *recalculating*...
10,450 posts, read 14,077,239 times
Reputation: 10941
Atmospheric conditions play a large role in 'low smoke'. Low pressure keeps smoke 'down', high pressure systems allow it to rise.

There's an old saying- "If smoke hangs low, watch for snow. If the smoke climbs high, clear blue skies"

Usually if there is a low pressure system, I would burn smaller hotter fires which increases draft and produces little smoke. Usually it's the smoldering woodstoves without cat converters that belch out smoke that hangs low on dreary days, and yes- it can get overwhelming.

Ask them to burn smaller, hotter fires on days like that, or better yet- give them a link on how to properly burn wood.
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