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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. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    The closest I can describe it is a sulpher smell. Thats when I noticed it the most. When it was burning full bore. That is one of the reasons I attributed it to incomplete combustion of the gas in the secondary fire tube. Oxygen being used up in primary combustion and not enough left to completely burn the gas that has been produced.

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  2. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Methinks that was not a Floydian slip when Noah suggested storage. Anything you can do to prevent idling is going to help. Burn it all and burn it hot and fast.

    I would not waste my money on a catalytic device. A couple bad batches of wood will render it pretty much worthless....if it actually does anything in the first place.

    If you're getting a real pungent sulpher/coal type smell the combustion is probably less than optimal. Try adjusting primary/secondary air volumes if that's possible.
    woodsmaster and Floydian like this.
  3. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Maybe it's because my chimney is way up in the air, or I haven't been out in the yard with the right wind conditions for it - but I've never smelled anything from mine.

    Good luck with this situation, sure sounds like a sticky one.

  4. I see what you did there.
    heaterman likes this.
  5. Floydian

    Floydian Feeling the Heat

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    ;lol

    You have had me convinced of the benefits of storage and batch burning for as long as I have been a member of this site. Now I am finally enjoying it first hand, so thanks!

    Noah
    heaterman likes this.
  6. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    Having storage and batch burning is a great benefit I hope to be able to experience.
    But I don't think that would stop the pungent smell of burning wood that my neighbor is complaining about.
    That is the unfortunate issue I am experiencing now.
  7. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    Usually a strong smell is because of incomplete combustion of wood gas and particulates. I would try playing with primary and secondary air openings if such a thing is possible on your boiler and experimenting with load size and density if not.
  8. Floydian

    Floydian Feeling the Heat

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    Just a thought....Would the use of a flue gas analyzer be a helpful in dialing in the air settings in this situation? About how much would it cost to hire someone with the tool and the knowledge? Could be less expensive then the alternatives.

    Noah
  9. __dan

    __dan Burning Hunk

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    Found out today, my neighbor complained about my chimney to the town because I would not wire up his foyer for free. I actually knew this, and him, and was sitting home waiting for the complaint about my heat. Just a matter of time.

    He went over to the other neighbor to brag about calling three town officials on me. He was mad they all knew me. My friend went down the list. Did he smell smoke, no. What was the beef? Oh, 30 years ago __dan was supposed to wire my foyer and never came back. Actually, I roughed the foyer, with permit, and got paid for the rough only, probably ~ $300 (it's like 16 x 24 with a laundry and electric heat). I said call me when the sheet rock is done, and there is still no sheet rock.
    .
    I make an allowance for senile old people with medical and lack of mental substance problems. No hard feelings. He is just a non person now.

    If any of you guys want a contractor's license, you can have mine. Just buy me lunch.
  10. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    Incomplete combustion aside, these are my thoughts on the "acrid smell" from wood boilers in general. Stoves don't generally produce this smell due to the hotter surfaces in them. I think the non-wood like smells are from the tar formation in the combustion chaimber and them the ignition of this creosote during the burn process. Basically if you have some buildup after the secondary chiaimber (which wood gun is more prone to from my understanding) and it rekindles the fire and this stuff is vaporized your get the blackish smoke at worst or the smell and not much if any visible smoke at best. I've expieremneted by scraping off some of the flakey creosote in the upper chaimber and putting it in the the lower (freshly cleaned) chaimber and lighting a fire. The smell and non-wood like smoke is what comes out.

    TS
  11. scooby074

    scooby074 Feeling the Heat

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    Your neighbor sounds like an poophead.

    I dont buy this quote from him for a minute, "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".

    If he didn't want to cause you trouble, he wouldn't have called the town in the first place! I can almost bet, the exact opposite of the quote is true, he will cause you more trouble!

    No matter what you do, your going to have issues. Something like a carbon filter would solve the emissions issue, but you're looking at many thousands of dollars.

    Good luck and I hope you find a cheap solution. There's a reason I live in the country.. I hate neighbors. :)
  12. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    Hey, I represent that remark!
  13. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    It would definitely alert you to problems that may be going on. At the very least it would get you pointed in the right direction. The problem would be finding a tech with an analyzer that will do solid fuel. Most analyzers carried by a typical service company are going to be oil or gas only. Wood is a different can of worms because the CO levels can be high enough to toast the sensor very quickly in a standard meter.
    Tennman likes this.
  14. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    30 years?! Really? He just doesn't let go!
  15. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    I don't buy it either! Making a statement like that is like telling people how humble you are. Oh so now you are bragging about your humility?

    And not only did he call the town but the DEC and the EPA.

    Oh and did I mention he needed to drop a few names like the guy he knows who is the head building inspector of the next county over as well as some friends husband who is a supreme court judge.

    Big whoopy do, he obviously doesn't know that I know FRED61. Fred you can come over and take of this guy for me?
    Maybe you can back up over him with your Grand Sport RV and blame it on the remark you represent. ;) LOL
    Taylor Sutherland likes this.
  16. goosegunner

    goosegunner Minister of Fire

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    Mike,

    Storage won't eliminate the smell completely but it will reduce the time that your boiler will have an active fire.

    Mine is running for about 3 hours a day right now. Durning the heart of the heating season it was about 6 hours.

    I know that smell, as stated above it must be from creosote burning off. It smells like the old steam engines and tractors.

    gg
  17. salecker

    salecker Feeling the Heat

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    Have you looked into any diferent types of caps?
    There is one guy in town that moved up from BC and installed a wood stove in the house he bought.The new chimney has a cap that swivels around in the wind.Mabey something like that could swirl the air mixing the smoke up more.
    Thomas
  18. rkusek

    rkusek Minister of Fire

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    I think I would add storage before next winter and only burn at night when it is unlikely anyone would be outside to smell it.
    woodsmaster likes this.
  19. shawntitan

    shawntitan Member

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    Assumed this thread would be an April Fools joke... I'm a little disappointed...
  20. rkusek

    rkusek Minister of Fire

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    I think another section of pipe and maybe "hiding" your wood pile might also be worthwhile. Your neighbors may see that and attribute any smell in the area to your home. I will say I have lived in a small town previously and had someone a couple blocks away that must have had an OWB(or similar) in his back yard garage. It wouldn't alway have visible smoke but you could smell something 2 blocks away that just lingered. I had the kids in the stroller one day and we searched until we found out which home it was but I saw the big pile of firewood long before I noticed a faint trail of smoke out of the chimney.
  21. infinitymike

    infinitymike Minister of Fire

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    If it creosote burning off, the ONLY cresote I have is on the firebox walls.
    The secondary chamber of the WG is a refractory tube and never gets cresote.
    I have a straight section of flue and I never have cresote in there.
    I've pulled apart the two sections I have many times only to find a light grey powder on the walls that just blows off.
    So it can only be the stuff melting and reburning within the firebox it self.

    Bottom line is ALL gasification systems have some sort of smell its just wether or not someone complains that makes the difference.

    My concern is I wanted to heat DHW during the summer and all though the winds will be opposite and affect him I may have a problem with people behind me :-(
  22. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Echo goosegunner & some others here - if you at all have any room for it, storage would help alleviate. Then you would only need to burn periodically, you could get into a schedule around when you want to burn (when he's sleeping?), and when you burn you will be burning at full speed with no coming off idle or 'waking up' so should see reduced emissions. It's not likely a quick easy fix though - but it should have benefits aside from pacifying the neighbour. ESPECIALLY if you're wanting to do DHW with it year round - then you'd only need a short fire every few days instead of maintaining a small fire all the time.
    infinitymike and arngnick like this.
  23. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    Alot of good suggestions for Mike but you need to understand that testing the flue gas will give you a number but with the limited adjustment capabilities of the Wood Gun, there is not much you can change. After operating one for 8 plus years I know the situation and can tell you the unit will produce this odor when it's sparkling clean. I don't believe it is creosote burning off the fire chamber.

    Mike You replied to my suggestion that the cap was not an obstruction but my take on it is that it is a baffle especially on a Wood Gun with it's high air flow. I suggest adding a section of pipe and remove or replace the cap for starters.

    Summer operation in my opinion would be a no no unless everyone in your neighborhood cools mechanically instead of opening their windows.

    As for the request to taking him out by backing over him. I checked my appointment calender and it appears that my schedule is too busy to take the job at this time::-)
  24. arngnick

    arngnick Member

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    Have you smelled every system availible?

    Likely so... but I am sure there are some that are better than other and I would bet that systems that idle smell more.
    Taylor Sutherland and heaterman like this.
  25. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    I vote for storage. Then you can burn when he's sleeping or gone.

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