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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    12

    Smoke from neighbors coming in through air intake vents

    Hello,

    I was hoping someone could help me figure out how to find a solution to my problem. I have neighbors who have outdoor wood boilers. When the wind is coming in my direction it surrounds my house with smoke and gets sucked into my house through my exterior air intakes. I believe I have one for combustion and another one that seems to enter the large ducts - from my research I am thinking this is the "make-up" air.

    I am trying to figure out how to stop this problem as I have asthma and am tired of other people's smoke entering my home. Sometimes it is overwhelming.

    Is it OK to block the vents temporarily only on the days that the smoke is coming in my direction and then remove it when the wind switches back? Is there some way to filter it? Any other suggestions would be appreciated as well.

    Also, are there any ideas of which intake is probably causing the problem - either the combustion or the make-up vent, or both equally.

    Thank you so much!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Rochester NY
    Posts
    4,732
    Where do you live?
    Which makes more sense to you?
    CONSERVATION - turning your thermostat back and being uncomfortable. Maybe saving 5-10%
    ENERGY EFFICIENCY - leaving your thermostat where everyone is comfortable. Saving 30-70%

    DO THE NUMBERS! Step on a HOMESCALE.
    What is comfort? Well, it AIN'T just TEMPERATURE!

    Energy Obese? An audit is the next step - go to BPI.org, or RESNET, and find an auditor near you.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Altmar, New York, United States
    Posts
    4,654
    have you talked to your neighbor about it?

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    12
    I live in Michigan. There are not really any laws here to protect neighbors from outdoor wood boilers unfortunately.

    Yes, I have talked to my neighbor. He is a jerk about it.

    So, I am trying to figure out how to just deal with it for now until I can find a better solution. Any ideas?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Altmar, New York, United States
    Posts
    4,654
    Quote Originally Posted by Qtina View Post
    I live in Michigan. There are not really any laws here to protect neighbors from outdoor wood boilers unfortunately.

    Yes, I have talked to my neighbor. He is a jerk about it.

    So, I am trying to figure out how to just deal with it for now until I can find a better solution. Any ideas?
    that sucks. it is a popular issue and one reason they are getting strict. if you have make up air you probably shouldn't cover it. you may have to get them relocated.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    12
    I am sorry, I don't understand what you mean by relocated? Do you mean the vents? I do not think moving them would help anything because the smoke completely covers my whole yard - which is almost 10 acres.

    I wish Michigan would get it together because outdoor boilers are a huge nuisance and health problem.

    Do you know if it would hurt anything to just cover it for 24 hours at time and then take it back off? I am tired of not being able to run my heat.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Altmar, New York, United States
    Posts
    4,654
    i wouldn't plug anything. it's there for a reason. it could be dangerous. are you sure you need make up air? is it a tight house? i don't know your set up but could you put up a fence close to the intake but still far enough away for it to work? is it just a piece of ductwork going outside? does it have any wiring? does it bring in air every cycle and the entire cycle? i guess what i am asking, is this like a home made intake or a designed purchased piece of equipment?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    12
    I just went to look in my basement and my make-up air intake has a damper on it - I never noticed it before, but was doing some more looking around and saw what one looks like, so now I know. It has like a little weight on it that was letting it kind of "swing" if that makes sense. It doesn't seem to have a motor.

    The house is about 12 years old. I am not sure how tight it really is though because I sometimes feel some cold air by the windows. We also open and close our doors a lot going in and out since I have a small farm and dogs, etc. The basement is also huge. Under the full house and tall enough you can finish the ceiling if you wanted to and still have your 8 ft. ceiling height. So, there is a lot of air down there available.



    S

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    12
    Correct me if I am wrong, but it sounds like the air intake is to make sure you have enough oxygen. So, if I only closed the damper for short periods of time to run my furnace when the smoke is outside but then opened it back up when the smoke is gone - being that I have such a large basement and it would be only for a short period it shouldn't cause any issues, should it?

    And, if so, what issues could it cause?

    Thanks again!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Altmar, New York, United States
    Posts
    4,654
    Quote Originally Posted by Qtina View Post
    I just went to look in my basement and my make-up air intake has a damper on it - I never noticed it before, but was doing some more looking around and saw what one looks like, so now I know. It has like a little weight on it that was letting it kind of "swing" if that makes sense. It doesn't seem to have a motor.

    The house is about 12 years old. I am not sure how tight it really is though because I sometimes feel some cold air by the windows. We also open and close our doors a lot going in and out since I have a small farm and dogs, etc. The basement is also huge. Under the full house and tall enough you can finish the ceiling if you wanted to and still have your 8 ft. ceiling height. So, there is a lot of air down there available.

    just to be on the safe side, get a blower door test done. this will tell you if you need extra fresh air brought in. i am not sure about drawing the basement air. but it has no automatic damper or it has no timer or anything right?

    S
    just to be on the safe side, get a blower door test done. this will tell you if you need extra fresh air brought in. i am not sure about drawing the basement air. but it has no automatic damper or it has no timer or anything right?

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    12
    What is a blower door test?

    The damper does not appear to have anything except the swinging handle attached to the damper - appears to be all manual. At the time I checked it, the furnace was running and it was only partially open - probably more toward closed than open if I had to take a guess. It almost looks like there is a weight on the handle that was holding it in a partially open position and it was free swinging. So, if the furnace was on and it was still only partially open - not sure if that means anything???? I don't know anything about furnaces. Just trying to learn something now to make my life a little easier.

    Thanks

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Feb 2014
    Posts
    12
    I am looking up blower door test - so you don't need to bother typing out a response - thanks!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
    Location
    Fremont, Indiana
    Posts
    1,557
    Quote Originally Posted by Qtina View Post
    It has like a little weight on it that was letting it kind of "swing" if that makes sense.



    S
    Is this the the thread that finally kills someone on the AOP
    Or is this the thread from AOP that proves we're making a difference by saving a life in telling the op to leave the barometric damper alone!
    I'm confused

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