ArboristSite.com Sponsors
 
 


White smoke billowing out of chimneys

Discussion in 'Firewood, Heating and Wood Burning Equipment' started by PA. Woodsman, Dec 29, 2006.

  1. PA. Woodsman

    PA. Woodsman Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Messages:
    1,842
    Likes Received:
    352
    Location:
    Emmaus, Pennsylvania
    I hardly have any smoke coming out of my chimney, but I burn seasoned wood and burn hot with a fairly recent (1993) woodstove. My neighbor, however, who sells firewood (much, much more than me) burns in a woodstove that "came with the house" and everytime that he's burning it looks like steam emitting from a nuclear power plant. Is this an indication that he is burning unseasoned wood, wet wood, and using a not-very efficient stove? Occasionally he has a load of wood sitting in the back of his truck ready for delivery, and you only have to get within 12 feet or so to smell the aroma of the freshly-cut splits. To each his own-but he really smogs up the neighborhood! :laugh:
     
  2. olyman

    olyman Tree Freak

    Joined:
    Jul 29, 2006
    Messages:
    16,251
    Likes Received:
    2,075
    Location:
    iowa
    tooo wet wood most likely--though---my wood is dry before i stack it in the basement--and the firebox doesnt go out all winter--yet--when i throw new pieces in--i have smoke for a bit--dont know the reason---
     
  3. CertifiedFunds

    CertifiedFunds ArboristSite Lurker

    Joined:
    Dec 17, 2006
    Messages:
    27
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Middleburg, Fl
    Most likely moisture in the wood. But what the hell do I know.:sword:
     
  4. stihl 440

    stihl 440 Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Dec 22, 2006
    Messages:
    2,230
    Likes Received:
    273
    Location:
    PA
    bark

    I'm, preety sure it is the outside fresh split wood and bark burning off. Smoke turns clear on mine after that happens.
     
  5. (WLL)

    (WLL) Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2006
    Messages:
    1,915
    Likes Received:
    122
    Location:
    pa
    week fire

    not burning hot enough will smoke and smolder even green wood will smoke very little in a hot fire. im thinking he is not tending his fire and its not his main source of heat. he should put a fan or blower forcing the fire to get hot and keep it hot by watching it:clap:
     
  6. PA. Woodsman

    PA. Woodsman Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Messages:
    1,842
    Likes Received:
    352
    Location:
    Emmaus, Pennsylvania
    Actually the stove is in his basement, so I think that he (or his wife) loads it up and who knows what they do from there on! But I'm telling you, the white smoke just billows out of his stack like the old Bethlehem Steel stacks used to look! When I asked him years ago what kind of stove he had he said "I don't know, it came with the house"! :greenchainsaw:
     
  7. PA Plumber

    PA Plumber Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Dec 14, 2006
    Messages:
    4,407
    Likes Received:
    967
    Location:
    South Central PA
    Good chance his is dampering it down a lot. I run ours about 350 F to 450 F and on cold still days, get enough white smoke to see over the back yard. it there is any wind at all, it disperses within 5 to 10 feet of the cap.
     
  8. Shmudda

    Shmudda ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Western Pennsylvania
    Gotta remember something here....smoke is unburned fuel, plain and simple. I have a Lopi Liberty wood stove and the hotter the unit runs the more efficient it is and the less "smoke" it produces. Trust me, you don't want the smoke as it creates creosote, and that causes fires. Burn it hot and you wont regret it, and neither will your neighbors!

    White smoke can come from a number of different reasons. Unseasoned wood and type of wood, notice I didn't say "wet wood". You can have dried seasoned wood that is wet to the touch that will burn better then "unseasoned" wood with a very high moisture content.

    No matter what you do when storing wood outside the best moisture content you can ever get around Pennsylvania is about 15%. Most oaks, and cherries have moisture contents double or triple that when first cut, that is if they are alive and not dead.

    Also, your neighbor might be throwing a few pieces of coal in the stove too and not telling anybody about it because of the potential issues around that. Some places will go as far as not allowing its residents to burn coal because of the emissions, just as what you are seeing, but of course your nose would tell you if this is happening.......

    Craig
     
  9. Del_

    Del_ Tree Freak

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2002
    Messages:
    20,588
    Likes Received:
    2,270
    Location:
    Where the universes are.
    Welcome to ArboristSite Craig.
     
  10. Shmudda

    Shmudda ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Western Pennsylvania

    Thank you TreeCo....glad to be here! I've been looking for a site like this where wood is in the blood!

    Craig
     
  11. Del_

    Del_ Tree Freak

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2002
    Messages:
    20,588
    Likes Received:
    2,270
    Location:
    Where the universes are.
    Twenty eight years of wood heat for me!

    How about you?
     
  12. 046

    046 Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Apr 8, 2004
    Messages:
    4,454
    Likes Received:
    277
    Location:
    Oklahoma
    what's comes out of chimney is the true test of how clean a wood stove is burning. not referring to smoke during startup, but how much smoke is produced going full bore.

    very few wood stoves will burn clean with green and seasoned wood.

    most new wood stoves uses secondary combustion to achieve a complete burn. burning incomplete combustion products or smoke, also called woodgas. intake air is feed in near top of firebox. fresh air is pulled downwards, along with woodgas, burning the smoke.

    there's several other methods using secondary combustion to achieve a complete burn. end result is very little smoke is emitted.

    here's a link where several folks posted their wood stoves, along with chimney in action. don't know about anyone else, but I'm concerned your smoking neighbor and others like him, could cause a ban on wood burning stoves. It's already happening to OWB's.

    http://www.arboristsite.com/showthread.php?t=38965
     
  13. zemmo

    zemmo ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Messages:
    436
    Likes Received:
    31
    Location:
    Glenwood, New Mexico
    20 years of wood burning for me. If it's really cold one always has a little moisture coming out of the pipe, and that appears white. At 40 below, it's very obvious, and it tends to just sink to the ground, as there's usually a bit of an inversion in very cold weather. But it doesn't sound like that's happening in your case.
     
  14. Shmudda

    Shmudda ArboristSite Operative

    Joined:
    Dec 30, 2006
    Messages:
    117
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Western Pennsylvania
    TreeCo,

    I have had chainsaws in my hand since I was 7 years old, so that make it 37 years of cutting. I would have had one in earlier but my dad and grandfather didn't see me eye to eye on that request!

    My parents heated with wood, and my grand parents too. I have been heating with wood in my home for the past 10 years and have saved a pile of money off the gas bills. I heat a 2400 sqft home and my highest gas bill is has been $94.00/month so far, which is about $50.00 over the summer bill. If I had it to do over again I would have either put a wood furnace in or a wood fired outside boiler for my main heating source. As luck has it though, I just have a free standing wood burner in my basement, which is good enough for me at this time in my life.

    Craig
     
  15. smokechase II

    smokechase II Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2005
    Messages:
    3,715
    Likes Received:
    320
    Location:
    oregon
    smoke trivia

    “A wood stove is over 500 times dirtier than a modern oil burner and a 1000 times dirtier than heating with gas! Heating with a wood stove for one season generates as much pollution as driving a car 130,000 miles.”

    “Freshly cut, live trees have about 50% of the weight of their wood as water…..Think about putting .. water on your stove and heating the pot until it has boiled dry. This is how much energy you are wasting. Also, the heat required to boil off all the water means the fire is cooler and so less of the wood-gas ignites and smoke increases.”

    “Unburnt wood-gas condenses into tiny droplets of tar when it cools down to 40 or 50°C. These tiny droplets scatter visible light in the same way steam does when it condenses into tiny water droplets. The scattered light from the wood-smoke is a bit like seeing a cloud. The thicker the appearance of the smoke the more particles are present ……It usually has a white, or sometimes faint blue, appearance. If the smoke is black it means there is a lot of carbon, or soot, present. Black smoke suggests the fire is too hot, and may damage the heater or flue.”

    These above quotes are from some quick web surfing.
     
  16. smokechase II

    smokechase II Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2005
    Messages:
    3,715
    Likes Received:
    320
    Location:
    oregon
    understanding smoke

    More smoke trivia:

    Wood does not burn. Directly.
    When heated, wood breaks down into gases, that then combine with Oxygen and with a little more heat we have a chemical reaction called fire. Same process with a candle flame. The wax doesn't burn, note how the combustion (flame) is a bit above. Gases burn.

    If there is less visible smoke produced from a fairly efficient fire, this does not mean it is pollution free. The list of by-products of combustion of cellulose is a bit overwhelming.

    We still need to have very efficient wood stoves.
    White smoke does generally indicate too much water.
    Water is usually a fire suppressant; whether in the wood or in the atmosphere or applied to the wood by fire hose.

    Dry firewood does everything right.
    Easy to start, more heat and less pollution overall etc.
     
  17. buckwheat

    buckwheat AboristSite Guru

    Joined:
    Feb 4, 2002
    Messages:
    610
    Likes Received:
    27
    Location:
    Central PA, USA
    But isn't the particulate matter suspended in wood smoke far less "damaging" then that of fossil fuels? In fact, some could argue that when dispersed and ultimately washed back into the ground, it provides a benefit. But don't take my comment as advocating less efficient stoves - particulate smoke is still pollution, and we don't have an unending supply of wood.

    The big deal with wet wood, in addition to just being a pain to start a fire, is how much that water content absorbs calories that would otherwise provide heat. I'd have to look it up, but the absorbion rate at the point of steam conversion is rather impressive. Further, when you factor an expansion rate of 1700:1, I've actually had fires "blow themselves out" when the flames heated up a wet log and things started popping.

    As for the heated gases, that's how an ABC extinguisher works: it interupts the chemical reaction occuring between the heated fuel and the conversion of the solid combustibles into those gases.
     
  18. Husky137

    Husky137 Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Aug 29, 2006
    Messages:
    1,575
    Likes Received:
    309
    Location:
    backside of reality

    Us forest growth currently exceeds use by some 33% annually.
     
  19. PA. Woodsman

    PA. Woodsman Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    May 1, 2006
    Messages:
    1,842
    Likes Received:
    352
    Location:
    Emmaus, Pennsylvania
    Thanks, all!

    Thanks everyone for your input. I do know that a few years ago I was out of firewood to sell, so I told a customer to call my neighbor. Well, he bought some from him and was NOT HAPPY-it was plainly unseasoned, and didn't perform well, obviously. I see my neighbor when he delivers wood to his house; he parks his truck out front and puts it into the basement like coal used to be delivered. So I'm thinking that he loads himself up with sem-seasoned wood, and it sits down in the dark basement, and he just burns it without even caring or realizing that he'd have a much better woodburning experience if he would use seasoned wood, which is funny to me since he SELLS firewood from his logging company! I would think that he'd keep some of the BEST (and dry) woods for himself! Maybe one day when he and I are both around I'll have to walk down there and ask if I could SEE his woodstove; then I could get a look-see at what's going on! Thanks again!
     
  20. smokechase II

    smokechase II Addicted to ArboristSite

    Joined:
    Sep 10, 2005
    Messages:
    3,715
    Likes Received:
    320
    Location:
    oregon
    back to your thread

    A couple thoughts on the wood game;
    Buy it a year or at least a full summer/fall ahead of use and allow it to dry.

    Some woods you might want to split immediately when still green. Oak - Maple etc.

    The softwoods I'm familiar with are easiest to split after they've dried as much as possible.

    If your budget allows.
    1) Buy wood early,
    2) Up off the ground and waterproof covered,
    3) But with airflow through the center for max dry effect,
    4) Split early if best,
    5) More than you need.

    Firewood is an insurance policy.
    Petro fuel prices, who cares?
     

Share This Page