Neighbor complaint of smoke odor

  • Active since 1995, Hearth.com is THE place on the internet for free information and advice about wood stoves, pellet stoves and other energy saving equipment.

    We strive to provide opinions, articles, discussions and history related to Hearth Products and in a more general sense, energy issues.

    We promote the EFFICIENT, RESPONSIBLE, CLEAN and SAFE use of all fuels, whether renewable or fossil.

dh1989

Burning Hunk
Dec 6, 2014
121
East Bay Rhode Island
The pipe and cat have shipped. I ran up a top down start tonight letting the flue probe get around 400F before I closed the bypass. I went outside quickly with the door cracked and bypass open to check the stack. Completely clean burn, but I saw a few occasional red embers fly out of the cap. They seemed to go out quickly but was still a little unnerving. I closed the door and latched the bypass. I got a plume if gray smoke for a few minutes before things cleared up. The flue probe never went over 500F so I’m thinking no chimney fire but the strong updraft pulled the embers up. That’s the first time I’ve noticed anything like that.
 

dh1989

Burning Hunk
Dec 6, 2014
121
East Bay Rhode Island
The new cat is in. It doesn’t seem as over active as the original one which pegged the cat meter all the time when it was new. It is working well though and the smoke clears within seconds of engaging it.

I noticed the new cat has a more symmetrical cell design than the old one. I never really had a plugging issue but it seems like the new design has wider cells which would be less prone to plugging:

06A15542-04D9-4A4C-A05B-FD93BD7F34AA.jpeg
 

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,761
South Puget Sound, WA
With the pipe extension and new cat it sounds like you have done well to be a good neighbor. Hopefully this will be the end of issues.
 
  • Like
Reactions: kennyp2339

Sodbuster

Minister of Fire
Sep 22, 2012
1,506
Michigan
It won't be, on warmer days the smoke on re-load will still hang low and the neighbor will complain again, and God forbid you have a BBQ with an old Weber charcoal grill.
 
  • Like
Reactions: XmasTreefarmer

begreen

Mooderator
Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
89,761
South Puget Sound, WA
It won't be, on warmer days the smoke on re-load will still hang low and the neighbor will complain again, and God forbid you have a BBQ with an old Weber charcoal grill.
Dh has done a good job with diplomacy here. I think it will pay off. If you do BBQ, invite the super over for some eats.
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,145
Downeast Maine
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.
I do pretty much do the two stove thing with the cookstove and the wood stove.
 
Last edited:

Sodbuster

Minister of Fire
Sep 22, 2012
1,506
Michigan
Are you the neighbor?

LOL no but I've moved enough in my lifetime to know their is always a complainer in the neighbor hood. They have too much time on their hands and will just find something new to call the city about. I hope I'm wrong in this case.
 

dh1989

Burning Hunk
Dec 6, 2014
121
East Bay Rhode Island
We had a fairly warm and dry day here Wednesday so I was able to get up on the roof. The 48" pipe section and roof bracket has been installed. I watched a video from Northline Express (I think) which showed them screwing the roof brackets over the shingles with silicone applied as the screws were sank and then over the screw heads. I installed it that way and went up in the attic during heavy rain yesterday and all appeared dry.

The draft is noticeably stronger and I can turn the thermostat down more than before. A new load also catches much faster, which means faster cat engagement. I've had a clean plume within seconds, although today had me frustrated a bit. I noticed I had smoke rolling down to the ground for about an hour after cat engagement even with a fully active and glowing cat. I saw that this white smoke dissipated about 25' from the house with a gusty 15 MPH wind. I went outside with a portable PM2.5 meter and found that the highest I could get it to read was 27 (ambient was about 5 today) when the wind blew the plume right at me. About the same time I realized I had 'smoke' coming from my breath and a nearby car that had just started. I suppose it was mostly steam after all.

1.JPG 2.JPG
For anyone curious about the black cable/wire, it's a shortwave antenna (amateur radio).
 

SpaceBus

Minister of Fire
Nov 18, 2018
6,145
Downeast Maine
We had a fairly warm and dry day here Wednesday so I was able to get up on the roof. The 48" pipe section and roof bracket has been installed. I watched a video from Northline Express (I think) which showed them screwing the roof brackets over the shingles with silicone applied as the screws were sank and then over the screw heads. I installed it that way and went up in the attic during heavy rain yesterday and all appeared dry.

The draft is noticeably stronger and I can turn the thermostat down more than before. A new load also catches much faster, which means faster cat engagement. I've had a clean plume within seconds, although today had me frustrated a bit. I noticed I had smoke rolling down to the ground for about an hour after cat engagement even with a fully active and glowing cat. I saw that this white smoke dissipated about 25' from the house with a gusty 15 MPH wind. I went outside with a portable PM2.5 meter and found that the highest I could get it to read was 27 (ambient was about 5 today) when the wind blew the plume right at me. About the same time I realized I had 'smoke' coming from my breath and a nearby car that had just started. I suppose it was mostly steam after all.

View attachment 257039 View attachment 257040
For anyone curious about the black cable/wire, it's a shortwave antenna (amateur radio).
Good to hear you got a good performance increase. Hopefully the neighbors won't even notice now.
 

Highbeam

Minister of Fire
Dec 28, 2006
19,173
Mt. Rainier Foothills, WA
We had a fairly warm and dry day here Wednesday so I was able to get up on the roof. The 48" pipe section and roof bracket has been installed. I watched a video from Northline Express (I think) which showed them screwing the roof brackets over the shingles with silicone applied as the screws were sank and then over the screw heads. I installed it that way and went up in the attic during heavy rain yesterday and all appeared dry.

The draft is noticeably stronger and I can turn the thermostat down more than before. A new load also catches much faster, which means faster cat engagement. I've had a clean plume within seconds, although today had me frustrated a bit. I noticed I had smoke rolling down to the ground for about an hour after cat engagement even with a fully active and glowing cat. I saw that this white smoke dissipated about 25' from the house with a gusty 15 MPH wind. I went outside with a portable PM2.5 meter and found that the highest I could get it to read was 27 (ambient was about 5 today) when the wind blew the plume right at me. About the same time I realized I had 'smoke' coming from my breath and a nearby car that had just started. I suppose it was mostly steam after all.

View attachment 257039 View attachment 257040
For anyone curious about the black cable/wire, it's a shortwave antenna (amateur radio).

Did you make any effort to hit rafters/trusses when you screwed the brackets to the roof?
 

peakbagger

Minister of Fire
Jul 11, 2008
6,496
Northern NH
Nice to hear that you saw some improvements
 

DBoon

Minister of Fire
Jan 14, 2009
1,253
Central NY
Maybe as close to a win-win as you can get.
 
  • Like
Reactions: SpaceBus

Ludlow

Minister of Fire
Jun 4, 2018
1,437
PA
Doesn't look even half bad. Hope it solves the problem in all scenarios.