Freedom of Air - Public Awareness of Outdoor Wood Boilers

Public Awareness and Reasearch of Outdoor Wood Boilers

The result of us being exposed to the Outdoor Wood Boiler's smoke

Besides the fact of being ostracized within our community by most of our neighbors and all of the decision makers because we want to breathe clean air, we have compiled a list of items or results affecting us from having our clean air selfishly taken away.

1) Physically becoming sick from over-exposure to smoke. We have had numerous bouts with headaches, stuffy/running noses, dry/watering eyes, soar throats, and coughing. We found that the best cure for these symptoms is to simply leave our house and get away from the smoke. How long will it take for us to be exposed to particulate matter before we become seriously ill?

2) Not having the freedom to be able to start a family. My wife and I feel that it would be unfair and unethical to bring a child into this world who would or could be exposed to smoke on a continual basis. This includes my wife during the time while the child is developing in the womb along with childhood once he or she is born. Then on top of that, sending our child to a school that thinks it is alright to have an OWB one block away from the playground the children play on.

3) Directly concerned about my wife developing asthma at this point in her life. The women in her family including her mother, aunt, and older sister all have asthma. Her mother and aunt both developed the disease as adults. The disease causes the passageways into the lungs to constrict making it extremely difficult for the sufferer to breathe when there are irritants in the air.

4) Diminishing visits from family and friends. With the concerns in item #3, my wife's family has only been to our home once since the OWB was installed. That most likely is the last time my wife will ever see her mother visit our home because of the fear that she might have an asthma attack while sitting in our living room. We have additional family and friends who have small children, which regrettably we cannot invite over during the winter burning season of the OWB because of the fear that the smoke may harm their children if they come to visit.

5) Having the freedom to perform normal activities and chores around the house. After a long hard day at work there is nothing more relaxing than coming home and watching television. In our home we cannot do that without having smoke blowing at us. Normal activities you may take for granted such as eating supper in the dining room, opening a window to enjoy clean air, working on the computer, doing laundry (smoke blows in through the dryer vent), and simply living in our home have been taken from us. Additionally, doing any yard work outside such as raking leaves or pulling weeds is even harder to do because of the particulate matter and smoke present in the air. Simply being outside for three minutes makes our clothing smell like we just went to a bonfire for hours.

6) Destruction of our property and possessions. We have watched our first home basically go up "in smoke" literally. From the pictures posted on this page, the damage of our home is apparent: the once white siding now has a yellow smoke color, our plant life and landscaping have been brutally attacked, all of our windows and doors have soot deposits all over them, and our original wooden door in the front living room has soot deposits all over and needs replacing. This also doesn't mention the fact that we cannot even use our attic space for storage because smoke infiltrates it. Our upstairs, which we intended on making a guest bedroom, is now littered with boxes and possessions that we can't store away. We can smell traces of smoke on our fabrics such as our drapes, clothing, and furniture. There is no escape from the smoke.

7) Financial constraints and burdens. For our wedding, my wife and I received some money to start a new life together. Every cent of that money is now spent because of this situation. We as a family have spent thousands of dollars in hiring an attorney because we are only trying to get back what we once had for free--clean air.

8) Costing us more money on our monthly bills. With the result of having to live with smoke blowing at us, we were required to buy an air purifier in order to mask the odor. This requires us to basically leave our air purifier running 24/7 when we are at home, only turning it off when we leave. This, of course, costs us more on our monthly electric bill--an expense we wouldn't have if the OWB wasn't across from us.

9) Taking money away from my grandmother and mother. My mother, who is the owner of this home, is responsible for paying for my 93 year old grandmother's care in a nursing facility that costs in the area of $40,000 a year. Before my mother became her power of attorney, this was my grandmother's home. This situation has taken away from the money being used to care for my grandmother. The money my mother has to spend on fixing and repairing the home is a result of my neighbor's actions. That money comes from the same source of money that is supposed to support my grandmother. The money my grandfather and grandmother worked all of their lives to save is now being diminished from paying for her nursing care. I will not disclose the amount of money my grandmother has saved, but the money remaining is dramatically decreasing. This means that my mother will be forced to sell this home in order to support my grandmother in the near future. How can anyone get a fair market value price on the resale of a home with a massive smoke polluting device across the street from it? My mother stands to take a significant loss on the property value of this home if the Outdoor Wood Boiler is allowed to continue its use.

10) Physical and mental drain. Besides the side effects that were listed in item #1, dealing with this situation has completely changed our lives. I have spent hours upon hours of collecting research about OWBs, talking with contacts on the phone or through email, literally losing sleep and wasting a great portion of my time and life from simply dealing with this problem. Our stress levels have increased and we have become completely exhausted by this whole process both physically and mentally.

Everything we listed above is a legitimate proven problem that has been invoked upon us without choice. We never asked to be put in this situation, nor wish this situation upon anyone else. The point of this entire page is to open the eyes of those who don't think this is an issue. Everything we mentioned above questions every aspect of why someone would want to buy one of these units. The only thing they do is create problems for everyone who without choice has to live with them. The common phrase we hear now is, "Well, if you ban these, what's next? You'll want to ban everything like campfires and chimneys." Our response to that is NO, we do not want to ban everything! We believe in rights and freedoms. If you have the time, place, and area sufficient to use an OWB, by all means go ahead. It is your freedom to do so, just like it is to smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, do drugs, speed while driving, or not wear a seatbelt. The problem we have is when our rights are taken away without choice, by the action of someone else using their "rights." You as a person have the essential right to do whatever you want to your own body, but you do not have the right to invoke your beliefs upon someone else without that person's choice. There is something called "balancing of equities" that our legal system uses. Theoretically, we don't have any more rights than our neighbor does and vice versa. So if he takes away our rights, where does that leave us? Not very balanced.

As mentioned above, the OWB manufacturers themselves put rules and regulations on their products, yet people completely disregard what they say. They say not to use them as a primary source of heating, not to put one within a distance of less than 100 feet from a neighbor, to raise the stack above the roofline if you are within 100 to 300 feet, and so on (See the Studies, Research, and Recommendations blog). Odds are, OWB manufacturers stand behind the rules and recommendations they make.

Anyone who has read the above mentioned problems we have, or has looked at the pictures and video on this page would most certainly agree that no one should have to live in these conditions. In closing I pose a question to you the reader, will it take one of these to be across the street from where you live before you realize something as simple as air is so precious?