I like the idea to buy him a charcoal starter and (tactfully) mention
the fumes are annoying. I use a propane torch to start my
I must confess... I did call the fire department on a neighbor. He
had a bon fire going with 30-foot flames that was a little too close
to some trees on my property. But I'd never think about calling the
FD about a smelly BBQ.
"But I'd never think about calling the FD about a smelly BBQ."
Good point. Didn't really even think of calling the FD until I wrote this
post. Plus, it wouldn't be a good idea as I may need to go onto their
property this fall. I have a few overhanging trees that need trimming.
I would go knock on his door tell him he is stinking up the whole
neigborhood. But I bet that leads nowhere, So call a layer and sue him it's
your only hope. Or maybe your feelings are hurt because he never invites you
over, oh I bet you can taste that stake right now . But then you could just
close your window. But then I can't believe how many people don't know
there neighbors', now if you new your neighbors you would not have to post
something like you did.
Getting to know one's neighbors in back of this house is not so easy. There
isn't a conduit to their properties. We get along with the neighbors
directly behind us. But, it's difficult to get to know them. The owner
doesn't speak English and isn't very sociable. The other properties are
even more difficult to talk with your neighbor. Fences and yards put
distance between us. We know all the neighbors in the front of the house
and get along well with them.
Call the fire department and tell them what? You don't like the smell
of your neighbor's barbecue? Is that a fire code violation?
Call the health department and tell them what? You don't like the smell
of your neighbor's barbecue? Is that a health code violation?
What exactly would you report him for, and what outcome do you expect?
Do you have any reason to believe he's doing anything illegal?
firstname.lastname@example.org is Joshua Putnam
A high powered rifle will solve the problem and if you can hit the
neighbor in the head and the grill as it exits his head, you will also
ignite the fluid in his grill as he dies. That takes practice....
Another obnoxious smell is the metallic odor of lawn weed killer. Just
as my garden's in spring bloom, the peonies and iris and lilacs are at
their fragrant peak, some neighbor is bound to spray weedkiller and
stink up the neighborhood.
Ah, well, I'll take bad smells any day over loud music or the sound of
:"Charlie S." wrote:
:> A couple times last year one of the neighbors prepared their charcoal BBQ:> using what 'I thought' was an excessive amount of lighter fluid.
:Another obnoxious smell is the metallic odor of lawn weed killer. Just
:as my garden's in spring bloom, the peonies and iris and lilacs are at
:their fragrant peak, some neighbor is bound to spray weedkiller and
:stink up the neighborhood.
Uh, huh. Agreed.
:Ah, well, I'll take bad smells any day over loud music or the sound of
Do you get to pick your poison? Probably not.
:Live in the city, where the houses are close, but not on top of each other.
:Everyone has a small yard.
: A couple times last year one of the neighbors prepared their charcoal BBQ
:using what 'I thought' was an excessive amount of lighter fluid. I say, 'I
:thought', only because the fumes from the pre-light were quite powerful.
:Didn't say anything about it and at this point I'm not sure who the culprit
:is. However, it started up again today and I'm not in the mood to put up
:with it for another summer.
: Outside of lighting my neighbor's house on fire, which approach might be
:1. Tell him/her to stop it all together as it poses a heath risk and is
:quite annoying? If he refuses call the fire department.
:2. Ask how much fluid he is using. If his response seems excessive, then
:tell him to cut back. Again, if the odors seem excessive, then call the
:fire or health department.
:I get the feeling he's using about a quarter of a can. I'm only judging by
:the strength of the fumes.
I'm on your side 100%. On the Memorial Day weekend, I went with family
to Angel Island in S.F. Bay and there was a party upwind from us who
were barbequing. The lighter fluid fumes were irritating me bigtime and
they lingered and lingered.
I've been annoyed many times in the past by lighter fluid fumes. I think
you should try either or both of the measures you indicate above. Pay no
attention to posters who suggest you should live with this.
When I barbeque (it's rare nowadays, but I used to not uncommonly) I'm
very frugal with the lighter fluid. I put my briquettes in a bottle and
squirt in a little fluid, cap the bottle and jostle things around to get
the briquettes wet and I let them sit a while to absorb the fluid. Then
I put them on my barbeque inside of a large coffee can that has both
ends cut out. This facilitates the lighting of the briquettes. Then
remove the can and spread things out and in a few minutes you are ready
Anyway, the point is it's important to not use excessive lighter fluid,
and it is an imposition on your city dwelling neighbors, no matter how
little you use, in my opinion.
What you are experiencing is the work of an amateur. I went
to a barbeque last Saturday and sat less than 10 feet from
the grill. There were no lighter fluid odors. The guy
running the grill knew what he was doing.
Contact your local health department. Ask about regs on
noxious fumes and ask if they have officers working on the
Or maybe the smell is coming from Kingsford Match Light, which smells
suspiciously like lighter fluid to me. And because it's burning, the
smell travels far and lasts a while.
But really, and I'm trying to say the nice version of what some others
have already said, if this is the only problem you have with your
neighbors, I'd just deal with it. I recently moved to a suburb of NYC
where the houses are pretty close (about 10 feet on either side, but
with decent sized back yards suitable for parties), and there's all
sorts of stuff that goes on that I could get myself worked into a tizzy
about if I really wanted to be a jerk. The guy next to me blasts WKTU
whenever he's outside, for one thing, including the entire time he's
barbecuing. The neighbor in back of him encourages it; he says to turn
it up whenever he's out there. On the other side of my house, I seem
to find at least a couple of new empty Dunkin Donuts bags on my lawn
every day, and when a new fence went up over there, they trampled down
a whole bunch of my trees in back. And behind me, where I've just got
a chain link fence, my neighbor's got about five dachsunds that act
like I'm burglarizing their house every time I water my grass.
If your biggest issue with your neighbors is that you smell some Match
Light every once in a while, for god's sake, just close your windows
for a while and turn on your air conditioning. I'm sure you do some
things that could be considered just as, if not more annoying to them.
Honestly, if somebody came over and gave me a chimney starter as a
gift, I'd see right through it and think they were even more of a jerk
than if they'd just come right out and told me to quit stinking up the
place so much. I think the only options are to either be totally
honest or do nothing. And the best option is to do nothing and just
See right through what. I told him to tell the neighbor the smell
bothers him, and to present a way to avoid the fumes. Telling the
neighbor not to stink up the place so much and expecting them to limit
their grilling (and therefore enjoyment of their own property) is just
asking for a feud.
What would you do if your neighbor came by and told you to stop
stinking up the place so much by grilling? Tell him to jump in a lake,
I guess. So how is your suggestion at all useful?
See right through their "gift" to what they were really trying to say.
Do you have some different definition of gift-giving than the rest of
the world? Most people give gifts when they're trying to make the
recipient happy. You're suggesting giving a gift in order to make the
gift *giver* happy. If it were me receiving that gift, I'd say "thank
you", close my door and tell my wife what an asshole that guy is. Then
I'd go right on doing what I always did.
What you suggested is classic passive-aggressive behavior. NOBODY
responds well to that.
If I got along with my neighbors as the OP says he does, I'd ask what
about my grilling stinks so much and if he convinced me I was doing
something different than anybody else who grills, I'd change it. Note
that doesn't mean he *could* convince me, but if he can't convince me
by being honest then he's not going to convince me by giving me a
chimney starter as a "gift" either.
The point is there are two people involved here, the one doing the
grilling and the one who's annoyed by it. One of them is being
reasonable and one of them isn't. If these are two normal adults, they
can work out between them which one is the reasonable one - it may be
the griller, it may be the neighbor smelling it. Giving
passive-aggressive gifts is not being "neighborly", it's just being
Hear hear. On any reasonable person's list of Important Things, lighter fluid
smell has got to be way down there. There's only so much "political capital"
one has with one's neighbors, and time and fortitude is much better spent
building up the capital (getting to know one's neighbors) and spending
judicously on more important things, like safety issues and things which may
involve property damage. (And, no, I'm not convinced there'd be a safety issue
in every vapor that may waft past one's nose).
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