Neighbor complaint of smoke odor

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Alpine1

Feeling the Heat
Apr 27, 2017
390
Eastern Alps, Italy
There is a ceramic for Sirocco, but it’s only 50$ less than the steel one. Moreover, the OP stove came out of the factory with a steel cat (like mine did). Steel cats are less prone to damage, and they turn active quicker than ceramic... with complaining neighbors, the faster the stack plume disappears, the better.
 
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EbS-P

Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
1,253
SE North Carolina
Living in town I’m pretty cognizant of when I’m putting smoke out the chimney. I don’t have a cat stove but I think the most of the smoke happens on start up and reload. I use lots of kindling on a cold start and start top down. On a reload I always grab two handfuls is kindling and place it both on the bottom and top of the reload. I spend at least 45 minutes a week splitting kindling if that gives you an idea of how much I use. In our development most houses were built between 1964 and 1968. Almost every single one was built with a masonry fireplace. So fare this year I have seen wood stakes by two houses and smoke from a third. Have often thought what the air would be like if everyone lit a fire on the same night. I probably wouldn’t like it.
I have noticed different woods burn with different smells. Pine is piney, smoldering oak is kind of stinky. Poplar has a different smell.
Burning clean is a win win. We get more heat and the neighbors get less smoke.

Evan
 

Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
12,266
Southern IN
I have noticed different woods burn with different smells. Pine is piney, smoldering oak is kind of stinky.
So if you see apartment windows open, burn Cherry and they will say "What is that lovely fragrance??" ;lol
 

Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,920
SEPA
So if you see apartment windows open, burn Cherry and they will say "What is that lovely fragrance??" ;lol
I think you are joking, but you actually are on to something. We need a product that can be added to a fire to make it smell nice. If people are willing to buy firestarters, they'd buy the "Fire Fragrance" sticks. Maybe like big long pellets that are impregnated with whatever they use to make incense smell nice.
 
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peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,496
Northern NH
I did a project several years ago in North Conway NH to convert a hospital to Renewable Fuel Oil (an oil subsitute made from wood) to replace #4 fuel oil. The product is made with a process similar to that used to make "liquid smoke" We designed in vapor recovery for transferring the oil from the tanker to the bulk tank but there is a distinct odor of barbeque when they are done unloading. While they were tuning the system when the burners cycled on and off there would be barbeque odor for a few seconds when the burner shut off. My work shoes smelled like barbeque for weeks after geting drips on it. There was an issue with fresh air makeup to one of the operating rooms and the surgeons were complaining that they were smelling barbeque in on occasion while operating. This was the first commercial operation for this product anywhere so it took a bit of tuning but they got rid of the boiler odor. I am no longer involved with it but I think they still get the odor when they a get a tanker load. These smell is concentrated polyaromatic hydrocarbons that are detectible at very dilute levels. I expect metering some of it into the exhaust plume might make a big difference in odor. Anyone want to buy a case of liquid smoke and a metering pump to be guinea pig? ;)

One persons odor is another persons fragrance. Unfortunately I am unsure if it would cover the stench of a stove smouldering without enough air. Of couse the other solution is have two stoves. A big one for winter and smaller one that could be swapped in place for shoulder season. The smaller one would have lower turndown so it would burn cleaner.
 
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mark cline

Minister of Fire
Dec 20, 2012
704
Cattaraugus, NY
I moved out of the suburbs to the country , surrounded by Amish . They all burn for heat and my nearest neighbors are 1/4 mile away . It is so peaceful here, nobody complains about anything . I’m in my own world and I am the king (lol), just call before showing up at my door , I may chose not to be home.
 

maple1

Minister of Fire
Sep 15, 2011
10,799
Nova Scotia
I guess it might be too late, but can you add any at all without needing to add a support? Can't really tell from pics. I was going to suggest 2 feet, it could make a difference. Mine comes in 1, 2 or 3 foot sections.
 

Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,920
SEPA
I moved out of the suburbs to the country , surrounded by Amish . They all burn for heat and my nearest neighbors are 1/4 mile away . It is so peaceful here, nobody complains about anything . I’m in my own world and I am the king (lol), just call before showing up at my door , I may chose not to be home.
I like your solution the best, and hope to follow in your footsteps one day before too long.

People generally like the neighbors in inverse proportion to the distance between them.
 

Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,920
SEPA
I did a project several years ago in North Conway NH to convert a hospital to Renewable Fuel Oil (an oil subsitute made from wood) to replace #4 fuel oil. The product is made with a process similar to that used to make "liquid smoke" We designed in vapor recovery for transferring the oil from the tanker to the bulk tank but when there is distinct odor of barbeque when they are done unloading. While they were tuning the system when the burners cycled on and off there would be barbeque odor for a few seconds when the burner shut off. My work shoes smelled like barbeque for weeks after geting drips on it. There was an issue with fresh air makeup to one of the operating rooms and the surgeons were complaining that they were smelling barbeque in on occasion while operating. This was the first commercial operation for this product anywhere so it took a bit of tuning but they got rid of the boiler odor. I am no longer involved with it but I think they still get the odor when they a get a tanker load. These smell is concentrated polyaromatic hydrocarbons that are detectible at very dilute levels. I expect metering some of it into the exhaust plume might make a big difference in odor. Anyone want to buy a case of liquid smoke and a metering pump to be guinea pig? ;)

One persons odor is another persons fragrance. Unfortunately I am unsure if it would cover the stench of a stove smouldering without enough air. Of couse the other solution is have two stoves. A big one for winter and smaller one that could be swapped in place for shoulder season. The smaller one would have lower turndown so it would burn cleaner.
You are always a trove of intelligence and reason, PB.
 
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Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
12,266
Southern IN
just call before showing up at my door , I may chose not to be home.
At least leave the door unlocked so we can try out your stoves.. ==c
 
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dh1989

Burning Hunk
Dec 6, 2014
121
East Bay Rhode Island
I ran into my neighbor this morning when I went outside to take a look at the stack after a cold start. I ran it up hot with a top down burn before closing the door and engaging the bypass which seemed to help today. The wind was blowing their way today and he said there was only some smoke smell outside when I started it. The smoke had just about cleared by the time I went outside, with the cat meter at 10 o’clock.

From what I gather an elderly tenant recently moved in and had an upstairs window open on a mild day. It sounds like the stove was smoking during the burn and the wind was blowing that way. They’ve also gotten smoked out when I reload from time to time (likely on hot coals). He thinks the extra 4’ will make a difference and even offered his help installing it if I need it.

What’s the best method for reloading on a coal bed with minimal smoke? I had been loading a full load and waiting for it to catch. Perhaps slowly adding wood as it catches might be better for less smoke?
 

jatoxico

Minister of Fire
Aug 8, 2011
4,335
Long Island NY
I ran into my neighbor this morning when I went outside to take a look at the stack after a cold start. I ran it up hot with a top down burn before closing the door and engaging the bypass which seemed to help today. The wind was blowing their way today and he said there was only some smoke smell outside when I started it. The smoke had just about cleared by the time I went outside, with the cat meter at 10 o’clock.

From what I gather an elderly tenant recently moved in and had an upstairs window open on a mild day. It sounds like the stove was smoking during the burn and the wind was blowing that way. They’ve also gotten smoked out when I reload from time to time (likely on hot coals). He thinks the extra 4’ will make a difference and even offered his help installing it if I need it.

What’s the best method for reloading on a coal bed with minimal smoke? I had been loading a full load and waiting for it to catch. Perhaps slowly adding wood as it catches might be better for less smoke?

Sounds like your approach (non-combative) paid at least some dividends. Having him as an ally ought to help.
 
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Easy Livin’ 3000

Minister of Fire
Dec 23, 2015
2,920
SEPA
I ran into my neighbor this morning when I went outside to take a look at the stack after a cold start. I ran it up hot with a top down burn before closing the door and engaging the bypass which seemed to help today. The wind was blowing their way today and he said there was only some smoke smell outside when I started it. The smoke had just about cleared by the time I went outside, with the cat meter at 10 o’clock.

From what I gather an elderly tenant recently moved in and had an upstairs window open on a mild day. It sounds like the stove was smoking during the burn and the wind was blowing that way. They’ve also gotten smoked out when I reload from time to time (likely on hot coals). He thinks the extra 4’ will make a difference and even offered his help installing it if I need it.

What’s the best method for reloading on a coal bed with minimal smoke? I had been loading a full load and waiting for it to catch. Perhaps slowly adding wood as it catches might be better for less smoke?
Use kindling to get flames. The flames burn up much of the smoke. Does make it a little more dicey, as you have to move faster to get it done. I compromise and put it on top and in the gaps.

Also, keeping the door cracked for a while to allow it to flame up more fully. I use a tube stove, don't know if your experience with a cat stove would be identical.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,173
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
If you know that loading on lots of coals is your weakness then perhaps load your stove to avoid that situation. Otherwise, getting an active flame as soon as possible will reduce smoke.

We've really grown to love the small trigger ignited propane soldering torch for rapid ignition and reduced smoke. It screws on to the green propane cylinders. You can hold the torch against the young fire as long as needed to assure a strong and fast ignition.
 
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Sodbuster

Minister of Fire
Sep 22, 2012
1,506
Michigan
There are always going to be some people you just can't please no matter what you do.
 
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Woody Stover

Minister of Fire
Dec 25, 2010
12,266
Southern IN
They’ve also gotten smoked out when I reload from time to time (likely on hot coals). He thinks the extra 4’ will make a difference and even offered his help installing it if I need it.
Sounds like the issue will be worked out amicably; Nice work. :)
Another really stenchy part of the startup can happen when you have a hot fire blazing in the box for a while, and it starts burning off creo. I've had this happen, and recall a BK guy saying the same thing. You can tell if it's creo smoke when you get downwind. I'm not sure in my case if the creo was coming from the box, the liner, or what. I think it has to be the box, though..??
 

DBoon

Minister of Fire
Jan 14, 2009
1,253
Central NY
He thinks the extra 4’ will make a difference and even offered his help installing it if I need it.
I'm a big proponent of believing that people's intentions are good until proven otherwise. This building owner next door seems to be about the most reasonable person on the planet to be dealing with. This can't be a comfortable subject for him to be dealing with either, and kudos to you for keeping it civil and productive. Perhaps he would even chip in on half the install cost if you asked him nicely?
 

PaulOinMA

Minister of Fire
Oct 20, 2018
1,030
MA
Not an option for indoors. I pre-heat my wood for my offset horizontal smoker on top of the firebox. Ignites rapidly when placed in the firebox to greatly reduce smoke. :)
 

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Socratic Monologue

Burning Hunk
Dec 2, 2009
196
WI
Not an option for indoors. I pre-heat my wood for my offset horizontal smoker on top of the firebox. Ignites rapidly when placed in the firebox to greatly reduce smoke. :)
Reducing smoke in a smoker. I have now officially heard everything. ;)

Seriously, though, that's a neat idea. I've taken to prestaging a half cord or so in my furnace room for kind of the same reason.
 
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Woody5506

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2017
868
Rochester NY
I've always wondered what complainers like this do in the spring and summer when people are outside BBQing. I have one neighbor maybe 200 yards from where my firepit is in my backyard who has called the fire dept on me once (when the smoke was blowing that direction) and called on my nextdoor neighbor last year when him and I were both having a tame bonfire at his house. The fire dept always seems embarrassed to show up.

Anyway, good to hear the landlord obviously knows this is a PITA for you and is willing to help.
 

Ludlow

Minister of Fire
Jun 4, 2018
1,437
PA
I am sure the property manager hated to come to you with this but he had no choice really.
 

Zack R

Feeling the Heat
Sep 27, 2017
423
Sisters, OR
flic.kr
If only everyone who burns wood could put in a little effort into dry wood and a decent stove setup there wouldn't be much to complain about...

From 7:30am this morning, 23F outside, both stoves humming along at 500-600F surface temp, no visible smoke.

1580747462580.png


1580747481122.png
 

Sodbuster

Minister of Fire
Sep 22, 2012
1,506
Michigan
Reducing smoke in a smoker. I have now officially heard everything. ;)

Seriously, though, that's a neat idea. I've taken to prestaging a half cord or so in my furnace room for kind of the same reason.

Some people just have too much time on their hands and like to groan and moan about stuff. I agree with Woody, what are they going to do when you smoke a pork shoulder for about 6 hrs? You're not doing anything illegal so let them complain, it's like calling the police because you don't like the color of someones car. We run into that around here too, I live on 12 acres, and it's an agricultural community and has been for 150 years; the first thing the new residents do when the dairy farmer up the street sprays liquid manure of his corn field, is complain about the smell. They move in and want everyone else to change. In my mind you've gone above and beyond being decent, I understand the Property Manager had to talk to you that's his job. But it should end there.
 

john26

Minister of Fire
Oct 27, 2008
564
Wildwood MO
I did a project several years ago in North Conway NH to convert a hospital to Renewable Fuel Oil (an oil subsitute made from wood) to replace #4 fuel oil. The product is made with a process similar to that used to make "liquid smoke" We designed in vapor recovery for transferring the oil from the tanker to the bulk tank but there is a distinct odor of barbeque when they are done unloading. While they were tuning the system when the burners cycled on and off there would be barbeque odor for a few seconds when the burner shut off. My work shoes smelled like barbeque for weeks after geting drips on it. There was an issue with fresh air makeup to one of the operating rooms and the surgeons were complaining that they were smelling barbeque in on occasion while operating. This was the first commercial operation for this product anywhere so it took a bit of tuning but they got rid of the boiler odor. I am no longer involved with it but I think they still get the odor when they a get a tanker load. These smell is concentrated polyaromatic hydrocarbons that are detectible at very dilute levels. I expect metering some of it into the exhaust plume might make a big difference in odor. Anyone want to buy a case of liquid smoke and a metering pump to be guinea pig? ;)

One persons odor is another persons fragrance. Unfortunately I am unsure if it would cover the stench of a stove smouldering without enough air. Of couse the other solution is have two stoves. A big one for winter and smaller one that could be swapped in place for shoulder season. The smaller one would have lower turndown so it would burn cleaner.
That's funny a few years ago when I had my wood furnace hooked up I would throw bones in it after supper mostly pork shoulders and it smelled like barbecue outside for hours.
 
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Sawset

Minister of Fire
Feb 14, 2015
1,203
Palmyra, WI
it's an agricultural community and has been for 150 years
Irrelevant. 150 yrs ago you're family was trespassing.
They move in and want everyone else to change.
Age old. Shut down the construction industry, tell your kids to blow away, problem solved.
Three guys burn near me. #1, you wouldn't know it other than by the 15-20 oak logs sitting out back, and stacks of firewood near the house. Well seasoned, burns clean, kuddos to him, even if I don't like the guy. #2 goes out every once in a while, cuts up a pickup truck load from the pile of junk laying out back, splits and burns it, then gets more. I'm 1/4mile away, and barely notice that either, even though there is visible smoke drifting by us on the inversion layers. The third place, I don't know what crap they're burning, but the creo smell will choke you and burn your eyes. Again 1/4 mi away. If they were 100ft away, 3 would get a call, 2 may get let known, 1 would get a pass. Doesn't matter one bit if I've lived here a year, or 100. But, the truth is, I would never say anything, and most likely just choke it down. In a rural area, we're really kind of vulnerable, in that, snivelers tend to get the shaft in more ways than one. Those with integrity, maybe a sense of humor, those who are positive and leave people a way out, usually get things to come around eventually. I would probably slip in a comment to someone, keep it positive, let word get around, as it usually does. Nothing seems to last forever.