Council considering outdoor furnace ban

City council will vote next week on an ordinance banning any more exterior furnaces from being installed in the city. Then they will take some time to decide what to do with the ones already here. Dale Sheppard, safety/service director, urged council to ultimately ban all exterior furnaces. "Banning these things is the appropriate thing to do because they are nasty devices," he said.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Jul 25, 2010


City council will vote next week on an ordinance banning any more exterior furnaces from being installed in the city. Then they will take some time to decide what to do with the ones already here.

Dale Sheppard, safety/service director, urged council to ultimately ban all exterior furnaces. "Banning these things is the appropriate thing to do because they are nasty devices," he said.

Linda Hebert, zoning officer for the city, also told council that regulating exterior furnaces would be difficult. She said four or five exterior furnaces are in the city now. She does not have records showing how many complaint calls she has received, but she said at least half of the complaints were about an exterior furnace on Henry Street that has been removed.

Henry Street residents came to complain about that furnace. "It affects the quality of life of many people," Jay Lukasko said. "I want my kids to be able to play outside."

Bryan Brown agreed. "A lot of times you don't see the smoke, but you smell the smoke," he said. He said the smoke triggered off migraines for his wife and asthma attacks for his daughter.

Tod Wise said regulations aren't enough. "We all know that people will do stuff and get away with it. The police department has better things to do" than check what people are burning in exterior furnaces, he said.

Kelly Beck, who has an exterior furnace, said the problem with the Henry Street furnace was that the owner burned green wood and didn't have a tall enough stack to get the smoke high enough into the air. He suggested council consider regulations about stack heights and what can be burned in exterior furnaces.

Beck also said the size of his lot would make possible setback requirements impossible.

Greg Dauch, another exterior furnace owner, said he has extended his stack by four feet since council first considered the issue and he will extend it further if his neighbors say the smoke is a problem.

Mike Hemenway, who sells exterior furnaces, urged council to consider the technological advances that have been made in the units.

Council members aren't ready to make a decision. "We're going to have to take some more time," Steve Euton said. "We're going to have to do some research."

Robert Carleton urged his fellow council members to consider a grandfather clause that would allow people with exterior furnaces to keep them. "We can't tell these people to take their investment and shove it," he said.

Mayor Sue Lesch said council should make residents their top priority. "I have great concerns about the health of the neighbors," she said. "Our first responsibility is to err on the side of caution. This isn't just a nuisance it's affecting people's quality of life and, perhaps, their health."

In other business:

Council approved the purchase of new playground equipment for Bishman Park. Thanks to a special deal from the company, the city will pay only $23,000 for a unit worth twice that amount.

Council approved a community reinvestment zone in the uptown area. Any businesses or residences in the approved area will be given tax abatements for remodeling, additions and new construction. Bethany Dentler, economic development director, estimated that the program will spur up to $500,000 worth of improvements in the area.


smoke guzzler (...

swiss you like smoke because you're always blowing it out your a$$. good day.

BPB (Anonymous)

look at all the restaurant and bar owners the goverment told them no smoking amd look at all the money they are losing - - you can't have people breathing second hand smoke - -

RE BPB: (Anonymous)

Completely different smoke, therefore completely different subject.

Smoke (Anonymous)

is smoke any kind is not good for you.

Next (Anonymous)

Hoe about next we ban Chrysler Automobiles...They suck. They make noise and stink and pollute the atmosphere. And then, when we get rid of all these nasty things, we can ban asian people. They stink too, always smell like raw chicken. Then we can get rid of any house in this town that is not worth more than 200K because god knows that those houses have black mold in them and they are detrimental to the owners of the houses next door to them.

swiss family......

whats the difference between these furnaces, and a fireplace, as far as smoke and exhaust are concerned?? i, personally like it when i smell one of my neighbors burning wood in their fireplace, when i am walking from my car to my home.. i don't see what the big deal is all about???

ahh (Anonymous)

I get to relax in my small house. My little children happily playing on the floor . It took my wife & I time to save for it, but now we have ALL the HOT water & HEAT that WE want. Thank GOD for "little" joys like this. We don't dread the cold like we used to.

smalltowner (An...

to Ahh... I know they feeling .WONDERFUL isn't it!!!!!!!!

Girl Wonder (An...

It is no wonder the world is the way it is....reading these comments is disheartening. It is too bad people can't communicate without calling names, misspelling words, and/or swearing.

to girl wounder...

yeah, too bad ain't it.

Dave Rimmer.......

Dont wish to interfere in American politics...but can someone explain to me what has stack height got to do with it. I am no expert but doesnt a higher stack just distribute the pollution over a wider area (lets dump our rubbish on someone else). My experience of councils in the UK are that they will do anything they can gat away with to save money especially if that means polluting a next door county. Well said Mayor Sue Lesch "make residents their TOP priority" . A pity more politicians dont take the same attitude. Good luck with your fight to ban these nasty pieces of equipment or at least get their emissions cleaned up.
You might be wondering why I have posted on this story, well I have a very good American friend residing in Norwalk and I am concerned about his future health

Re: Dave (Anonymous)

Well if you are concerned for your friends health then we should def. ban all cars, factories, camp fires, fireplaces, cows (they emmit fumes), farm equipment, and anything else that can damage health. I don't like the smell of fish cooking either. As a matter of fact I am sick of those little old lady offending my nose at the store with their perfume, so let's ban them too! The sun causes cancer so no one should be allowed outside either. Who needs freedom? Our men are dying for it, but every day a little bit more is dictated to us. Wood burning is far from nasty and I would like someone to point me in the direction of of hardcore proof that this is a health hazzard.

Dave Rimmer UK ...

Yes I couldnt agree more on all the other items you describe as pollutants but here in the UK the government is eventually tightening up legislation on vehicle emissions, especially gas guzzling 4 x 4`s and I personally am doing my bit by running my 1700cc diesel on home made bio diesel. Open household fires in this country have all but disappeared due to "smokeless zone" legislation, as a result we do not get "smog" anymore. As far as cows fish cooking and perfume goes I think that to bring that into the equasion is a little over the top. I guess from your tone that you are sick and tired of the "big brother, nanny state" antics of your government. Well America is not alone, you havent had Blair and Brown for 11 years. How would you feel about this one. A public toilet near me was regularly frequented by gays. So the council and police between them installed CCTV. They eventually after 3 months caught over 2 hundred people (including a police sergent) engaging in illegal activity in a public place . Where do we draw the line. I do not under any circumstance want to be filmed taking a leak in a public toilet, this activity is big brother gone mad.

swiss family......

oh, i should have know that it was a size issue... why is it that people always think that bigger is better????

swiss family......

..... why, yes... that is my CHRISTIAN side showing.. i did't imply anything dirty.. it is you who have you mind in the gutter.. did you ever hear of bigger cars, bigger houses, bigger boats....etc...

swiss family T$...

go ask the wizard for a bigger brain!

furnace guzzler...

hey swiss, learn to s-p-e-l-l and try to put a setence toghther c-o-r-r-e-c-t-l-y! "i did't imply anything dirty.. it is you who have you mind in the gutter.. "

Dave Rimmer, Li...

Thanks for the info on the "exterior furnaces" and the difference in cost between gas and electric. I can now understand the financial implications and the obvious popularity of such equipment. Only been contributing on your site for a couple of days but already am getting a picture of the differences between life in the USA compared to the UK. Thanks for having me on this site and I am enjoying communicating with our American Cousins...
Catch U L8ER
Ta TA for now
Beware of exterior furnaces, they could catch fire!

Curious (Anonymous)

To Dave Rimmer, what brings you to the Reflector site? Do you have relatives here?

Dave Rimmer (An...

Curious... I hope you dont mind me contributing to your local newspapers site as it gives me an insight to life at grass roots level in the USA and hopefully gives similar knowledge to you guys and gals over there about life over here (if you are interested). I chose Norwak in particular as I have a very good pal living there who I met over the net. I personally would love some of you there to contribute to our local newspapers site, if anyone is interested the site is This particular thread is of great interest to me being somewhat of an environmentalist as the UK is a bit of a dump, tip, dirty hole to live in especially in the big cities and towns.
Hope to catch you again L8ER

Next (Anonymous)

Add british people to the banned list in Norwalk too. They have bad teeth and fish and chips gives me diarhea.

Dave Rimmer, Li...

To Next...yes I am sure you have been eating fish and chips as you seem to have a dose of the "verbal" variety of diarrhoea. Hope you recover soon.
Catch U L8ER
Beware of fish & chip eaters...they spew verbal diarrhoea
and for the benefit of through their backsides

Deer Dave, (Ano...

my sister went to London a few years back. she sent some pictures from her camera phone of a dessert she eating at the time called spotted dick. Is that real, or did she make that up? Is there really such a thing? One of my favorite movies is A Fish Called Wanda. And when I write Deer Dave, please rest assured I am not Dave. It's a term of enDEERment towards you, Dave. Did you ever meet Simon Cowell?

Dave Rimmer, Li...

To Deer Dave, Yep there really is a dessert called "spotted dick". Its actually a very simple dish of
Suet pastry or sponge mixed with currants and lashings of hot of my favourites. Never met Simon Cowell but he is the sort of bloke I would like to give a bunch of fives to. I noted your comment on the film Caveman
with Ringo Starr but have never seen it. I will get round to downloading it sometime. Dave, I sense that you have a sense of humour. Look up the "youtube" web site and search for "four candles" Its a short comedy sketch written and performed by Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker, two of the UK`s most loved commedians. In my opinion it is one of the funniest comedy sketches ever written, have a look at it and let me know your opinion. I cry with laughter every time I watch it. To give you a clue, if i went into a shop and asked for four candles what would I be given? Going for lunch now, its 1.30 pm over here so catch U L8ER
Beware of Spotted Dick, although it does taste wonderful

Deer Dave, (Ano...

hahahahahahaha, Fork handles...that was very amusing indeed! thanks for sharing. We're big fans of Monte Python's flying circus. Ever been to one of them flying circus' Dave? We have them yearly at the larger airports, (Cleveland, Burke Lakefront) quite a good time. So, my sister actually ate spotted dick. How about that. I assumed she made it up. Caveman is a great movie, so is 'Wanda'. Very fond of John Cleese. We don't have too many great actors here anymore. They're all too busy opening their mouth and inserting foot talking politics. Just shut up and act already. Do you know Mr. Bean?

Dave Rimmer, Li...

Deer Dave.....glad you enjoyed "four candles" what a brilliant play on words! Mr Bean (Rowan Atkinson) is similarly very funny but another series of TV programmes he did was called Black Adder. In each series he played out a historical character progressing through English histoty. John Clease as you probably know being a Monty Python fan started his career in that series but Michael Palin has made some fantastic travel documentaries. Have never been to a "flying circus" but as an aircraft buff have been to many air shows over the years. One of my favourite aircraft, you guys built...the Lockheed SR71 Blackbird and another impressive machine was our own Vulcan Bomber. Any how thats enough waffle from me, now you have reminded me of spotted dick im going home to make some. Just finally though I couldnt agree more about the acting fraternity getting involved in politics.
Catch U L8ER

Beware of flying spotted dick

Hurry Hurry (An...

Get your burning permit today!!We need money to buy the G.E store for a fire dept. Or we could add extra taxs to everyone.

Deer Dave, (Ano...

The Lockheed SR-71 is an advanced, long-range, Mach 3 strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed from the Lockheed YF-12A and A-12 aircraft by the Lockheed Skunk Works. The SR-71 was unofficially named the Blackbird, and called the Habu ("snake") by its crews. Clarence "Kelly" Johnson was responsible for many of the design's advanced concepts, with the SR-71 being one of the first aircraft shaped to reduce its radar cross section, although its radar signature could be tracked by contemporary systems unlike later "stealth" aircraft. A defensive feature of the aircraft is its high speed and operating altitude; whereby if a surface-to-air missile launch was detected, standard evasive action was simply to accelerate. The SR-71 line was in service from 1964 to 1998, with 12 of the 32 aircraft being destroyed in accidents, though none were lost to enemy action. Bummer!

Dave Rimmer, Li...

Below a quote from New Englands own Environmental Services Department. Dont you think its prety damning evidence. Its you health guys or dont you care.

Fact Sheet

ARD-36 2006

Wood Stoves and Air Pollution
Clean Burning Wood Stoves Minimize Health Risks


Many New England households use wood as a primary heating fuel, while other households use wood stoves and fireplaces as supplementary heating sources. The New Hampshire Office of Energy and Planning estimates that up to 25 percent of New Hampshire homes have wood stoves. For many people, the sight and smell of wood smoke curling out of a chimney brings back fond memories of hearth and home. Wood is a renewable resource, unlike fossil fuels such as oil, coal and gas, which are non-renewable. In fact, if firewood is harvested in a sustainable way, woodlots can provide an abundant source of fuel for years to come.

Unfortunately, smoke from wood burning stoves and fireplaces can be a significant source of air pollution, negatively impacting public health and the environment. People can reduce the amount of smoke from their wood stoves by choosing low-emissions certified stoves, operating them properly, and using good quality firewood. This will improve combustion efficiency, reduce emissions, help protect public health and the environment, and save fuel costs.

The Problem: Smoke from Wood Stoves is a Public Health Risk

The smoke produced from woodstoves and fireplaces contains over 100 different chemical compounds, many of which are harmful and potentially carcinogenic. Wood smoke pollutants include fine particulates, nitrogen oxides, sulfur oxides, carbon monoxide, volatile organic compounds, dioxins, and furans. Breathing air containing wood smoke can cause a number of serious respiratory and cardiovascular health problems. Those at greatest health risk from wood smoke include infants, children, pregnant women, the elderly, and those suffering from allergies, asthma, bronchitis, emphysema, pneumonia, or any other heart or lung disease.

Deer Dave, (Ano...

In American English, the term furnace on its own is generally used to describe household heating systems based on a central furnace (known either as a boiler or a heater in British English), and sometimes as a synonym for kiln, a device used to fire clay to produce ceramics. In British English the term furnace is used exclusively to mean industrial furnaces which are used for many things, such as the extraction of metal from ore (smelting) or in oil refineries and other chemical plants, for example as the heat source for fractional distillation columns.