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Thread: How to reduce visible smoke from a fireplace or wood shove?

  1. #1
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    How to reduce visible smoke from a fireplace or wood shove?

    I was wondering if anyone has used or has heard of a method for reducing smoke from a fireplace or wood burning stove to minimize your detectable presence in an area.

    I understand a small ember fire produces less smoke but sometimes in sub freezing weather larger fires are called for and have a greater chance to expose your position to others.

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    Catylitic converter.
    Last edited by Heavy Metal; 09-26-11 at 16:13.
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    Tagging for interest
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    Quote Originally Posted by Heavy Metal View Post
    Catylitic converter.
    How do you use it?

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    Same way your car does.. But I don't think it will reduce smoke.. Especially in a cold weather environment

    Sent from my DROIDX using Tapatalk

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    Don't burn stuff that's wet.
    Don't burn tires or other petroleum/rubber products.
    Don't burn your vanquished enemies.

    Aside from that, if you are really trying not to be detected your best bet is to use a flameless ration heater. This is followed fairly closely by using an isobutane/propane stove, since it doesn't smoke unless you burn your food to the point it is unfit for consumption. Alcohol stoves are another good option, as they burn cleanly, although I prefer isobutane/propane personally.

    If you must build a fire, night time is really your best bet. It needs to be an "Indian fire"- just big enough to cook and heat with, and nothing more. Conceal it with a fire wall, if you can build one in short time, or among thick trees. Your smoke won't be visible at night like it is during the day, so you only have to control the illumination which on the ground where you have a much better ability to control it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by grr-usmc View Post
    But I don't think it will reduce smoke..
    Yes, it will reduce smoke. Smoke is simply an unburned gas, so if you burn that gas, you won't have any smoke...

    The fact is that smoke will burn, if it is ignited properly, so if you use a catalytic converter in your stove, the smoke (unburned gases) will burn (and leave you with little to no smoke.)

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    Interesting topic. Something I acctually hadn't thought of until you mentioned it.

    One possible option might be to change the chimney/stack head out to something that has more bends or angels to it. I have a one on mine that is designed for use in high wind areas that does seem to help but doesn't eliminate it completely.

    My other concern would also be the fact that you would still be able to smell the smoke.

    Just my 2cts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by lamarbrog View Post
    If you must build a fire, night time is really your best bet. It needs to be an "Indian fire"- just big enough to cook and heat with, and nothing more. Conceal it with a fire wall, if you can build one in short time, or among thick trees. Your smoke won't be visible at night like it is during the day, so you only have to control the illumination which on the ground where you have a much better ability to control it.
    One way to limit the illumination is dig a small elongate hole, insulate bottom and sides with sticks, stones... build you fire inside.
    Make the elongate side face the wind.

    Make your fire on the base of a big tree, the branches and leaves will spread the smoke.

    Different fire building techniques give differing degrees of light/smoke.

    The teepee or piramid gives more light. The star gives less light and smoke, but depends on thick logs. Lots of red-hot stuff, excelent for cooking and warmth. Low wood consumption.

    Look at the the old boy scout books.

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    OP-

    I have heated with wood for 15 years or so with a few different stoves, may I offer my(somewhat) educated opinion.

    Given your initial fireplace/woodstove criteria there is plenty you can do to both prepare and practice at your home. Assuming that you are someplace in the northern half of the country the main purpose of this would be for winter heat which your practice can serve you some cost effective heat before any SHTF scenario.

    As previously mentioned a woodstove with a catalytic is a good place to start, but will not automatically give you a smokeless fire. The particular fuel used, and how you manage the fire, matter just as much as your stove selection.

    Smoke is almost unavoidable during start-up as you build the fire and get the stove, stovepipe/chimney up to temperature but with some practice and good temperature control a good, hot fire will yield a fairly complete burn with little to no smoke and little odor.
    Good seasoned(dry) hardwoods are key to this although biobricks(basically giant wood pellets) also burn well and store somewhat more compactly(little more than 2x the density of cordwood).

    A stove with a cat converter is not necessarily the only answer as there are a few good woodstove manufacturers that offer extremely efficient airtight stoves that introduce air to effectively do a secondary burn before the gasses exit up the pipe.

    As with everything there is a price to be paid for any decent stove, but those at M4c may accept that better than most...
    Last edited by chasetopher; 09-26-11 at 20:14.

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