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Do they make a left handed smoke bender? seriously I could use help

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by infinitymike, Mar 30, 2013.

  1. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    I have a PROBLEM!

    My neighbor who is diagonally across the street from me came over Thursday to COMPLAIN about the smell.
    He is 70 years old and moved here last year. He called the town and the guy came out to respond to his
    complaint. The town clown said to him that he didn't see that I had a permit for the "stove". I told him it wasn't a stove but a hydronic heating appliance and that before I bought the unit I had been to the town hall with a set of blueprints showing where I was installing it as well as all the necessary code compliant info. I spoke to the head plans examiner (who I know through business) and he said that I didn't need a permit because it would be like me changing out my oil burner with a gas burner.

    My neighbor then began to tell me that he called the DEC and the EPA to find out what the acceptable limit of smoke is allowed. Supposedly you are not allowed to have more then 15 minutes of visible smoke. Which I in turn said that I never have that much because it a gasifier and went into the description of how it works. He said that he never really used a stop watch but he can smell it for hours.

    He lives South East of me so all winter the North West wind blows whatever smoke and smell right at his house.

    He wasn't obnoxious but just whiney. He told me how he was a runner and did triathlons and he plays the trumpet in the church band and that this smell is affecting his breathing. He said he didn't want to cause any trouble and that I would see a for sale sign on his property before he complained any more but he was told by the town that he needed to speak to me and then report back to them.

    I live in the burbs in a development where the houses are on 1 acre lots. He is about 100 -150 yards from me.
    I want to live at peace with my neighbors and don't know how to accommodate this guy.

    Do you think having a taller stack would help. My cap is about 12' off the ground because it is in my garage which is only one story tall. Maybe that way it will get up into the air and float over his house. (doubt it) But how high would that have to be? Then I would have this ridiculesly tall stack with guide wires sticking above my roof and it still may not work.

    Is there some sort of filtration system I can put on the top of the stack. Some sort of pad that traps the smell of fireo_O
    My next door neighbor was over at the time this guy was complaining and he stuck up for me saying that he never smells anything. But the truth is he is next door to me and the wind very rarely blows that way. Plus he was a wood burner for 30 years in his other house so he probably is used to it.

    Here are a few pics to show the conditions. The guys house is slightly hidden by the trees. And my back was against the stack when I took the picture
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

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  2. salecker

    salecker Feeling the Heat

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    I'd add a length to the stack and hope that shows your trying.
    Nieghbours:rolleyes:
    mikefrommaine, pen and arngnick like this.
  3. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    I think I would try this to see if you can get the odor past this guy. I had the same odor with my Gun. It wasn't smoke but mostly smelled like a sulfur smell like a coal fire. I assumed and still do that it is unburned wood gas. As I said in a past posting, I would put my two poodles out for a few minutes to do their business at night and they would re-enter the house smelling like it. Perhaps you could contact AHS and ask them if they had done any experimenting with the addition of seondary air and if so, that you would be willing to be a beta site for their experiments.
  4. willyswagon

    willyswagon Burning Hunk

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    Wow I hope you can get that cleared up with your neighbor. There is nothing worse than someone who calls in the town on ya.
    That's why I live in the boonies, larger lots, 2 1/2 to 100 acres and those that don't burn wood now, did growing up and know how much cheaper it is than oil, or electric.

    Everybody up here sees a pile of firewood and says wow there's some pile of heat in that!!

  5. Might as well put one on to show your trying. But I doubt it will make a difference. I often see smoke from 30-40' chimneys being pushed to ground levels by the air currents around town.
  6. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    I agree that putting a section on will be an act of good faith but other than that a waste of money.

    Do you think there is some sort of filtration system? Like when they paint cars or spray furniture they capture all the fumes and it doesn't smell at all by the exhuast fan.

    What if I repipe the stack back into my burn chamber like an EGR on a car exhuast, then vent it?
  7. Ebay has some 'afterburners' for owb. Never heard many good things about them. Might work for you since the emissions aren't as bad to begin with.
  8. bmblank

    bmblank Minister of Fire

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    I can take a step out my basement door and smell burning wood. Smell is different than smoke.
    On another note,i wouldn't even consider anything less than 10 acres when i was looking. Luckily i found a square 10 and the house is mostly in the middle of it.
  9. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    Have you throttled down your combustion air damper? My suggestion would be, give it all the combustion air you can and perhaps run smaller fires.
  10. Floydian

    Floydian Feeling the Heat

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    Mike,

    I am not trying to turn this into a storage vs no storage debate, but I wonder if repeated periods of idling are an issue here. The reason I say this is because with my set up (storage) I get a little bit smoke and smell on cold start up-smoke free in under 2 mins and no smoke smell after 5-8 mins, best I can tell. The ONLY smell I get during a burn is a faint toasted wood odor that is hard to even distinguish most of the time, certainly not like unburned hydrocarbons. Then I get a tiny bit smoke and smell at the very end of the burn- last 10-15 mins maybe-before the boiler shuts off.

    I have 1000 gallons and a boiler that requires storage as it CAN'T idle (a no go in Sweden) so it is strictly batch burning for me. Neighbors are not an issue for me but my family spends a bit time outside year round and we were often bothered by the smoke from our old inefficient wood stove. Just one of the reasons I am committed to clean burning.

    Storage may not an option for you at all, but it would only help things IMO. Especially this time of year when your boiler can become way over sized to your heat load.

    Granted that storage may not solve your issue here-I don't know the WG's.

    Best of luck figuring this out,

    Noah
    woodsmaster and arngnick like this.

  11. I hope that you got accurate advice originally. In my city I the code enforcement officer said I didn't need a permit from their office. But the fire department required a permit and inspection for a solid fuel boiler.

    I wouldn't get too worried unless someone else shows up at your door.

    And if they do, storage would be my next move. You can burn at night under the cover of darkness. Kind of like how the underground works.;)
    infinitymike likes this.
  12. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    How about removing the cap? It must direct the exhaust downward.
  13. wazzu

    wazzu Member

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    You guys back east are nuts! So worried about every ones little complaints. Who cares, if you are within the law its his problem. Not yours.
    Joful and 711mhw like this.
  14. goodwood

    goodwood Member

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    if your boiler is in your garage i'd be worried if someone came to inspect it
    woodsmaster likes this.
  15. __dan

    __dan Feeling the Heat

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    My sympathies Mike. My neighbor called the town on me but he is north west of me and the wind never blows in his direction, always east to the woods or south east to the woods again. He complained of a metallic taste in his mouth, not smoke, is taking heavy medication for a liver transplant, and generally has been always senile and abusive to those around him. I tried the friendly truthful explanation (it was impossible for the smoke to travel 150 ft against the wind and what he saw was mostly water vapor). He said thanks for the weather report and continued threatening me. I said, call the town, get your experts out here, they will explain it to you.

    Unfortunately in your case, with the breeze passing generally in your neighbors direction, he may have a legitimate complaint, that he can smell the smoke. There is nothing I can think of that will completely eliminate the smell, it does not take much to be detectable by smell, even at long distances.

    They make a catalytic flue scrubber for OWB's but I have no experience with them. I have also toyed with the idea of using old 50 gallon propane tanks as a flue gas condenser, that would certainly reduce some amount of residual ash and H2O from the flue gas, but there is nothing I can think of to completely eliminate the smell, only mitigating measures. Certainly some adjustment to your burning routine may do something. I get my worst smell at the end of the burn when the Froling detects fuel load burnout, goes off, and there is still some unburned wood, not fully charcoalized, in the primary chamber. I am in the habit now of checking the fire around that time, 2-3 hours after adding fuel, and just poking the fire to get everything to burn fully. When those unburned remains sit there smoldering, after the Froling is off, I get a strong sulphur smell in the house. Otherwise the froling is not fussy about wood shape, split size, and I've been cleaning my yard of the worst stuff first.

    Given the existing conditions, and if you wanted to spend money on it, storage is probably the best bet for a return on the investment. The catalyitic flue gas scrubbers may be worth looking at, they're a couple thousand if I recall. A flue gas condensing tank is a non standard, not factory supported, accessory, if you had the steel in the yard and wanted to experiment..You may be able to mitigate, but not cure, the smell.
  16. iceguy4

    iceguy4 Minister of Fire

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    I have a right handed smoke bender...maybe you could invert it and couple it with a kanipulator...just a thought...also its blue so it will match your roof:rolleyes:
    infinitymike likes this.
  17. iceguy4

    iceguy4 Minister of Fire

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    also neighbors who call the town SUCK...::-) just saying...it takes my "give a crap" level down several notches...
  18. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    The last house I had was plunked in the center of forty acres and the neighbors weren't close enough to be affected by the odor. Although I had to drive up or down the road in order to see them they were still good friends. When I would shoot coons out of my sweet corn at 1:00AM I would get a couple phone calls asking: D-jaa git em?

    The house I'm in right now has neighbors a little closer but any odor wouldn't reach them. They're several feet lower than my property and on a different road. Also I don't get that odor from the Eko. And now that I've finally learned how to start a fire, I get almost NO smoke on start-up.
  19. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    They cap really doesn't hinder the upward direction of the exhaust. It just rolls out and around it. I can see the heat shimmers traveling upward. When I do have some smoke it just follows the wind.
  20. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    I agree with you and also need to live in close proximity to this guy.
  21. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    I've been down this road before and so have many people here. NYS code allows heating appliances in a garage as long as they meet certain requirements. One of them is NOT building it into a enclosed room.

    Plus my garage is an obvious storage room rather then an active car parking area.
    So I'm not worried.
  22. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Can you post that in the items for sale section so I can buy it? Oh wait you said it was blue... never mind my roof is brown. Can you paint it before I buy it?
  23. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Believe my "give a crap" level has been way down lately especially with Cuomo's dumb ass laws he just passed. But that is "politically charged" statement that belongs in the ash can and don't want to upset anyone here in the boiler room:eek:
    velvetfoot likes this.
  24. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Dan , a scrubber is exactly what I envisioned.

    They are used in the production of SYNGAS, which is the process of burning wood to create gas that can burn in an internal combustion engine ie: car, tractor, electric generator.

    I was thinking of redirecting the exhaust into a 55 gallon drum filled with a media of wood chips and mulch, then allowing it to be exhausted into the air.
  25. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    FYI
    The smell is apparent even when the unit is burning wide open and there is no visible smoke only heat shimmers from the stack.
    Its a pungent type of smell, not that nice woodsy smell that I love to smell on a cold crisp snowy night.

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