What can the smoke from a chimney tell ?

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kwikrp

Feeling the Heat
Oct 21, 2008
299
SE Mass
There is a house down the road and last night when I was walking by I noticed a very thick and heavy greyish brown smoke coming from his chimney. It was so thick it fell down the sides of the chimney and off the roof almost touching the ground. I saw another guy and asked him if he saw it and he said thats the way he burns it always looks like that. Wow it resembled the smoke from a witch's coldrone???
 

wendell

Minister of Fire
Jan 29, 2008
2,033
Madison, WI
Oneth by land, twoeth by sea.

Either that or is burning some wet, nasty wood.
 

Shari

Minister of Fire
Oct 31, 2008
2,335
Wisconsin
Burning green wood - creosote factory - when you see flames shooting out it means a chimney (which should happen soon if they ware not up there every week cleaning out the chimney.)

Shari
 

kwikrp

Feeling the Heat
Oct 21, 2008
299
SE Mass
met the same neighbor and was curious about the house with the bellowing smoke, and he said that the guy has cracked 3 stoves and has had a couple of chimney fires. From what he recalls this guy burns pallets that he gets from work. Maybe they have been chemically treated or painted ???
 

fossil

Accidental Moderator
Sep 30, 2007
10,568
Bend, OR
Black smoke...still deliberating/voting. White smoke...he's elected a new Pope. Thick greyish-brown smoke...he elected a Pope, but now he's changing his mind. Rick
 

rottiman

Minister of Fire
Sep 23, 2009
1,249
Ontario Canada
It's probably a grow-op and he's burning the stalks. How many people in the neighborhood walking around in a daze and munching candy bars????????????
 

BrotherBart

Modesterator
Staff member
rottiman said:
It's probably a grow-op and he's burning the stalks. How many people in the neighborhood walking around in a daze and munching candy bars????????????

:lol:
 

dougstove

Feeling the Heat
Aug 7, 2009
322
New Brunswick, Canada
That kind of irresponsible behaviour is what will lead to municipal bans on woodstoves.
I have a similar neighbour - I sometimes wonder if he is burning plastic or garbage, even though he has a great woodpile of well seasoned stuff.

My wife works with the local lung association. I hate to say it, but woodstove particulates are a big concern for them. I am guessing it will prove to be like highway pollution - 10% of the cars generating 90% of the emissions.
Plus, of course, every unit of uncombusted carbon up the chimney is a loss of potential heat.
 

EJL923

Minister of Fire
Oct 29, 2009
587
Western Mass
Smoke? Whats smoke? I havent seen smoke coming out of my chimney since its been installed.

Everyone's right, poor burning materials or poor burning techniques.
 

firefighterjake

Minister of Fire
Jul 22, 2008
19,593
Unity/Bangor, Maine
Brown smoke = burning unseasoned wood generally or not burning at hot enough temps.

Black smoke = someone's burning something with plastic, rubber, paints or other solvents. . . .
 

Battenkiller

Minister of Fire
Nov 26, 2009
3,741
Just Outside the Blue Line
fossil said:
Black smoke...still deliberating/voting. White smoke...he's elected a new Pope. Thick greyish-brown smoke...he elected a Pope, but now he's changing his mind. Rick

LMAO!


White smoke = particulate matter smaller than microscopic size
Black smoke = soot
Brown smoke = tar, condensed organic vapors = creosote (eventually)

Sounds like this guy is using thin, dry wood (pallets) with the air choked way down, or the stove overstuffed with them (choking the air down through increased resistance to air flow). When too much air is present, the stove will burn too hot and overfire (possibly cracking the stove), and/or trigger a chimney fire fueled by all that creosote.

This reminds me of the same problem with burning pine on another thread. Pallets can burn extremely hot when given lots of air and should not be burned without larger or wetter pieces thrown into the mix. If the stove is packed with pallet wood, air will be reduced and extensive pyrolysis will occur, at a faster rate than the gases can be burned in the primary burn zone. This will combine with those condensed organic vapors and get deposited on the chimney walls as the substance we all dread, creosote. His smoke tells the tale of his past misadventures in wood burning.

With any wood, large pieces on an ample bed of coals and adequate air will give the most even burns. With fast burning wood like pallet wood, poplar or pine, the strictest attention must be paid to this rule. I have a basically unlimited supply of kiln-dried pallet cutoffs from a pallet shop a buddy oversees. They're glad to deliver as many loads as I want for free. Otherwise, they have to chip them and pay to dispose of the chips. I refuse to deal with them because of the dangers they present when burned exclusively in an airtight stove, although they are real nice for shoulder season burns, with small intense fires being the rule
 

billb3

Minister of Fire
Dec 14, 2007
4,679
SE Mass
If it were an oil burner, you'd call the repair shop.
 
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