View Full Version : Smoke trails

Frank Bombardiere
06-18-2007, 01:27 PM
I know someone on here had a good explaination of why there are sometimes smoke trails above outlets and smoke detectors. It is almost always on flat paint. Sometimes you can see where the rafters or ceiling joists are too, as black particles will accumilate there.

Michael Thomas
06-18-2007, 03:05 PM
Ghosting. Follow this link:

Welcome To Home Energy Magazine Online (http://www.homeenergy.org/archive/hem.dis.anl.gov/eehem/98/980109.html)

Jerry Peck
06-19-2007, 05:48 AM
That one looks like something in the smoke detector burned out.

Notice that the black burn mark is 'on the plastic' and is 'wider and more concentrated' at the smoke detector, fading out as it gets higher and further away from the smoke detector.

I think that smoke detector is toast (or tried to be, anyway).

Frank Bombardiere
06-19-2007, 06:33 PM
They were all that way and they worked. There were the same ind of streaks above all the outlets too. I have seen this many times and it only shows up if the room was painted with flat latex paint. I haven't had time to read the linked info yet but it appears to be interesting.

Caoimhín P. Connell
06-23-2007, 06:08 AM
Hello Frank:

The answer is usually due to the over use of poor quality candles (even expensive candles may be poor quality candles).

The trails are soot particles and they selectively “plate-out” on surfaces due to a process known as “thermophoresis” which is a complex mechanism that includes capacitance and temperature differentials.

By the way, that is ME in the photos on Home Energy Magazine and I’m still a little miffed about Vigil using one of my reports as the basis of his article (and the changes he made were technically incorrect to boot!) When he was watching me perform that investigation that is feature in his article, he should have at least checked with me to verify a few facts – and he should had at least informed me he was publishing the article.

Caoimh*n P. Connell
Forensic Industrial Hygienist
Forensic Industrial Hygiene (http://www.forensic-applications.com)

<SMALL> (The opinions expressed here are exclusively my personal opinions and do not necessarily reflect my professional opinion, opinion of my employer, agency, peers, or professional affiliates. The above post is for information only and does not reflect professional advice and is not intended to supercede the professional advice of others.)


Eric Barker
06-24-2007, 06:52 PM
I betcha these people could tell you all kinds of stuff about smoke. This was next door to Friday's inspection. Fire was two weeks ago.