6 posts / 0 new
Last post
Neighbors chimney

My neighbors new renters are using the fireplace to burn fake logs almost every evening. The problem is the SMELL!! The smoldering smoke for some reason comes right into my home and yard(I watched the smoke come down instead of going up). So I must keep all my windows closed. However, my one story attic vent is right in the path of the downward smoke, and I still get the 'stinky smell' in my home. What can I do?? I did tell my new neighbors when I was woken up the first night because my home was full of smoke......'stinky smelling'.

Both our houses are one story, and my neighbors house is about 25 feet from my home.

I think the chimney isn't tall enough. What would cause this downdraft of smoke into my yard and home???

I would like to tell them not to use the fireplace, or only burn real wood. Any ideas???

Re: Neighbors chimney

The problem may be that the fake logs don't get the chimney hot enough to have the proper draft.


Re: Neighbors chimney

You illustrate why Big Government has to act with pollution laws, etc. because people & businesses are selfish pigs. We have to regulate Ohio coal burning plants from sending acid rain to Vermont & New Hampshire that kill waterlife, or corporate pig farmers from smelling up neighborhoods miles away, etc.

On to your chimney problem . . .

(1) Isolate the issue -- did the previous renter used the fireplace without issues in the past ?

(2) I used "clean burning" wood products in No. California Silicon Valley and still there were advisories not to burn during the winter months because of smog buildup (the clean NorCal air made smog more noticeable). One person's crackling fire is someone else's asthma alert.

(3) Know your local rules/laws on burning -- if there are none, you just have "good neighbor" tactics. Even if there is environental regulation, you have to approach your neighbor in a friendly manner because there is no enforcement.
Renters are tough to deal with because they have no skin in the game and even the owner only cares about his investment (not your enjoyment).

If there's a technical answer, like using low emissions wood products, great. If he's burning scrap wood and soot is going up the stack, try to to point out the hazards to both breathing and soot accummulation. As you discovered during this election season, you can't settle things unless both are willing to give up something.
It's also a lot like the noisy neighbor or barking dog, find something in between but it depends on your style and the other guy.

Re: Neighbors chimney

Also check with the local building inspection dept to see if there is anything they can do. Their chimney may not be rated for fake or real logs.

Re: Neighbors chimney

Before you approach your neighbors, go to the city and get all your questions answered there.

If your neighbor is in violation, report to his landlord. If you can't find his landlord, complain to the city. Let them pay him a visit.

Re: Neighbors chimney

Yeah, either make sure there's a nice, filtered chimney cap put on there or ask the city if they're in violation. Probably have a better chance with the latter.

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.