Green / Eco-Friendly

How to find an air sensor for fireplace smoke?

  • Last Updated:
  • Jun 24th, 2020 10:05 am
[OP]
Member
Jan 26, 2020
212 posts
39 upvotes
Canada

How to find an air sensor for fireplace smoke?

I have neighbors that use their fireplace from time to time, rendering the air around them unbreathable if you care about lung cancer and other respiratory ailments. I'm hoping to convince them to cease but its hard when people are used to doing something they enjoy and it saves them money in heating costs. I thought if I could show them air quality readings it might help a lot, especially if they were concerned a little themselves. Am I looking for the PM2.5 reading? Something else? So many air quality devices are concerned with dander/pollen/allergy issues. I couldn't care less about those. Just smoke. I thought if all I need is smoke detection the cost might be much less.
6 replies
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Feb 15, 2005
5774 posts
1291 upvotes
You'll want an air quality meter with a plantower PMSx003 sensor. These are much more accurate than the cheap sharp GP2Y or Shineyi PPD42. SDS011 is a bit cheaper and sits somewhere between the Sharp and the Plantower. Cost of the device ranges from CAD$50 to US$350.
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Sr. Member
Nov 6, 2015
886 posts
469 upvotes
Guelph, ON
Err, if it was truly hazardous wouldn't their smoke detector go off? The smoke goes up the chimney you know.

You have some scientific data to back up your assertions on lung cancer, etc.? And I'm talking about from a properly built fireplace.
[OP]
Member
Jan 26, 2020
212 posts
39 upvotes
Canada
> Err, if it was truly hazardous wouldn't their smoke detector go off?

Its hazardous outside, around their house. Haven't you smelled the smoke around a fire? Breathe that for a while and you won't live very long. Its as bad as 2nd hand tobacco smoke. I like my lungs. Lungs don't do well with smoke. As for if they were properly built I have no idea. Doesn't matter. There obviously is enough clueless people out there that couldn't care less. There is nothing more important to your health than clean air. And the link from fireplace/barbecue/firepit smoke and lung cancer is common knowledge. Its smoke. So consider it as bad as tobacco. Actually its supposed to be worse. The point is burning anything around others is really disrespectful and uncaring. The problem is a lot of people that do this are smokers so their sense of smell is shot anyway. With Covid ramping up a lot of them will be wiped out, no doubt. This winter could be very, very bad for smokers. Think they'll quit? Doubt it. Unless people see others die around them the realization just doesn't sink in unfortunately. Especially young people who view themselves as invincible. The problem is all the older people they contact aren't.
Sr. Member
Nov 6, 2015
886 posts
469 upvotes
Guelph, ON
I think you are overstating by a wild degree. Many people go camping and build fires, I don't think they are all doomed to lung cancer. Assuming you are only getting trace amounts from a fireplace, or with a camp fire you are opposite from where the wind is blowing it, you are only in real danger if you are in regular constant exposure (like smokers).

Mind you I am not in favor of open pit fires in suburban areas, then the smoke starts at ground level and can go in any direction and can really be irritating, not to mention minor smoke damage to your property (e.g. clothes hanging on a line). But going out a chimney, I don't have a big problem with, especially if it's only occasionally. It's at least no worse than exhaust from cars or the whiff I get from the local sewage plant when the wind blows in a particular direction.
[OP]
Member
Jan 26, 2020
212 posts
39 upvotes
Canada
> Many people go camping and build fires,
True but they don't go camping and build fires all year long. They go for a few days a year. And they tend to sit away from the direction of the smoke if they have any sense at all. Unfortunately I can't move my house when a neighbor lights their firepit and pollutes the entire area in that wind direction.

> you are only in real danger if you are in regular constant exposure (like smokers).
Exactly. When the entire area is saturated in smoke, always on days with no wind, I am in constant exposure (like around smokers).

> But going out a chimney, I don't have a big problem with, especially if it's only occasionally.
I wish that was true. But fireplace use in my area in the winter is horrific. You'd think the heat from the fire would make everything rise but obviously the smoke particles are heavier than air and sink back down, and gradually accumulate. Most people do not use a fireplace for a few minutes a day. Its usually for a large part of the day/night. So that smoke has a good chance of accumulating in the neighborhood after a while if there's little wind. Interesting you mentioned clothes on a line. That's a great test for air quality.

Exhaust from cars is bad as well, no doubt. But generally we determine what that will be when we choose our location. I live a few blocks from major train tracks and almost never smell anything and you know that noxious diesel exhaust from a train. Its utterly unbreatheable when you're close by. I guess I'm lucky and am far enough away that it gets dispersed with air currents. Sadly my neighbors aren't.

The big problem is people have happy memories as children of gathering around a fireplace at home or a barbecue in the late afternoon/early evening with family or camping after a happy day exploring nature. And they feel connected to those memories when they engage in a similar activity.

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