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Bad Bay Area air quality


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  • #3736962
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

     

    We’ve had glorious sunsets lately. My allergies have been glorious too. Turns out an atmospheric inversion is the cause. the air quality is often ‘hazardous’ or a little less. An expert quoted in the Chronicle  “said people using their fireplaces is the biggest source of fine particle pollution”.

    No kidding. when I go out walking at night, I’ll often smell smoke from a single home over several blocks. It’s cold lately too, so there’s a lot of fires going.

    After the last many summers of fires and having to live in smoke filled air for months, smelling smoke from home fires jsut after the first rains gives me the willies. Really? Three months of smoke filled air ain’t enough, now we need several more brought on by roaring fireplaces?

    Recall that I live in an urban area. Still, home fires can’t be good for CO2 emissions either…

     

    #3736999
    David Thomas
    BPL Member

    @davidinkenai

    Locale: North Woods. Far North.

    Inversion layers are horrible for air quality near ground level.  All the auto exhaust and wood smoke stays in the lowest 10 meters or so – sometimes you can see the exact level where wood rises vertically and then turns to settle in just between the two layers.  I once saw a lovely sinusoidal waves between the two layers (due to fog) above a meadow near Crane Flat in Yosemite.

    One winter day, I was walking the dog in the woods a half mile from any house and suddenly the strong, distinct smell of barbeque.  Somebody thousands of feet away was barbequing, but without any mixing into the upper atmosphere, the odor didn’t disperse the way it usually would – it just traveled slowly downwind, probably laminar flow, and I passed through a streamline directly downwind of the source.

    I doubt it’s a fireplace making lots of smoke – more likely a wood-burning stove.  They avoid sucking the warm air out of your house (like a fireplace does) by limiting the air flow, but the wood then smolders for hours unless there is a catalytic oxidizer on its outlet or its a modern design with enough residence time for exhaust gases in the hot fire box to combust more completely, as in various EPA-certified wood stoves.

    #3737006
    humorless
    BPL Member

    @sleeping

    Locale: The Cascades

    Thanks for that David. Since it’s not fireplaces, I think I’ll go light a fire in my fireplace. I love watching the flames.

    #3737011
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    YouTube video

     

    #3737012
    W I S N E R !
    BPL Member

    @xnomanx

    Make sure to use your 2 stroke gas powered leaf blower to help fan the kindling Doug ;)

    #3737033
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    It’s not as if I’ve become a predictable old grump who always complains about the same things.

    (or is it?)

    I checked the ten hours o’flamin logs, fast forwarding several hours several times…and it’s always the same logs burning. Kinda disappointing.

    #3737034
    DWR D
    BPL Member

    @dwr-2

    I just love how many people will be upset about Global Warming, buy and electric car, and then go home and have a wood fire in their fireplace :(((

    #3737050
    humorless
    BPL Member

    @sleeping

    Locale: The Cascades

    “It’s not as if I’ve become a predictable old grump who always complains about the same things.”

    I would never call you old…

    “I checked the ten hours o’flamin logs, fast forwarding several hours several times…and it’s always the same logs burning. Kinda disappointing.”

    Funny, same thing at my house. Of course, it might have something to do with my fireplace being a gas fireplace…

    #3737052
    W I S N E R !
    BPL Member

    @xnomanx

    (As we point fingers at our neighbors for burning a piece of wood the juggernaut of global industry plows on and on…)

    #3737073
    George W
    BPL Member

    @ondarvr

    My last home had a wood stove and a pellet stove, one at each end of the house in an effort to keep it warm, with no effort to avoid heat loss.

    I gutted the house and fully insulated it, maybe a little overkill. Left the woodstove but stopped using it because it would overheat the house easily. Finally just removed it.

    Current house has a wood stove and a very poorly laid out electric central forced air system. I put in a 3 zone mini split system that was great, but below about 20F I needed to light the wood stove. I added a second mini split system and this winter it is now good to about -6F, had a few cold spots below that though.

    I’ll probably leave the wood stove, its a very efficient one, but don’t plan on using it unless its an emergency situation.

    I live out in the sticks about 5 miles from the closest paved road, there are about 6 houses out here, I’m the only one that has a wood stove. This makes for very nice air quality during these very cold days.

    #3737075
    jscott
    BPL Member

    @book

    Locale: Northern California

    I should mention that where I live it rarely drops below the 40’s F at night and usually approaches 60 F during our cold months. So wood burning is a sort of luxury for most. It’s supposedly banned during ‘spare the air’ days, but few respect that.

    Sure, there are other fish to fry when it comes to pollution and global warming.  I can’t personally ban tanker ships with no pollution controls and poor agribusiness practices. I can not burn a stove in my urban environment. I probably would if I lived out in a different situation and needed the heat.

    #3737102
    David Thomas
    BPL Member

    @davidinkenai

    Locale: North Woods. Far North.

    I don’t have time for a 10-hour-long fire.

    So I use the microwave.  Then I can spend a nice, relaxed evening in front of a fire in just 4 minutes.

    #3737106
    W I S N E R !
    BPL Member

    @xnomanx

    The Metaverse will fix all of this.

    #3737112
    Bruce Tolley
    BPL Member

    @btolley

    Locale: San Francisco Bay Area

    Yes in my Bay Area neighborhood everyone has electric or natural gas heat, and many are putting in solar. But when the temperatures drop below 60 at night, they light up wood in the fireplaces.

    #3737132
    HkNewman
    BPL Member

    @hknewman

    Locale: The West is (still) the Best

    Inversion layers have been a usually increasing problem in the urban western US for decades due to geography (building up in the lower elevations surrounded by mountains).  Saw a national digital relief map someone made the other day, and the west is definitely way more mountainous then the middle or eastern US.  Commerce and construction are typically way cheaper in the lower elevations though.  Still, more people = more wood and other smoke, especially the colder mornings.

    Think some places have tried legislating this, though honestly it’s seeming more that I may need to get into a small town within easy (but not too easy) drive distance.  Could move to a grassland region and have those 70MPH blizzards move all that smoke, x-country ski when the front passes (only half in jest .. the inversion smoke does suck),

    #3737153
    AK Granola
    BPL Member

    @granolagirlak

    I live in Fairbanks and we don’t light the woodstove until it hits 0F or less. We were lucky to be able to use the woodstove changeout program in our borough and now have a very efficient EPA certified stove. So yes, we complain about global warming and drive an efficient car, and use wood to heat our home. The alternative is diesel.  I can’t imagine needing much heat at all at 40F. Just our body heat, cooking, etc. heats the house up nicely. But yes, it contributes to an inversion layer at subzero temps.

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