Apartment vent sharing

Help Support House Repair Talk:

whoisthis

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2021
Messages
6
Reaction score
0
Location
michigan
Hi
i've been having a problem with secondhand smoking in 3 stories apartment.
I'm curious if the air vents are shared with the adjacent neighbors?
If so, i'm thinking installing charcoal filters inside of each vent would prevent the smell from coming in to my rooms.

What do you guys think?
 

Sparky617

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2014
Messages
1,597
Reaction score
570
Location
Cary NC
Do you have your own HVAC unit for your apartment? That is typically the way it is done. Smoke will find a way to your apartment, and is one of the joys of townhouse, condo, and apartment living.

One suggested solution is an Ozone generator. My real estate wife and her managing broker will often use these to clear up unpleasant odors in homes before they go on the market. Of course you need to clean the offending items or the smell will return right after you turn off the machine. They certainly have mixed reviews here is the EPA on the subject: Ozone Generators that are Sold as Air Cleaners | US EPA


.

Air Circulation & Purification
If weather permits, keep windows and doors open for as long as is practical. Use fans to encourage air circulation – have one fan blowing air from outside on one side of the room, and put another fan across the room to exhaust the air outside. An air purifier with a HEPA filter can help remove odor-causing molecules. If the odor remains after you air out your home, place activated charcoal or bowls of white vinegar (or even apple cider vinegar) around the rooms to absorb odors. Replace the charcoal or vinegar every few days. Be wary of scented “odor removal” products, which may just mask the smell instead of removing it.

Homeowners should also replace HVAC air filters. Your home’s air filters help remove odor-causing molecules, and they work best if they’re replaced every two to three months. Consult with the furnace or AC unit manufacturer to find a filter that may help with odor removal (e.g., charcoal or HEPA filters). You should also inspect your ducts for any dust or debris that may contain smoke molecules; this may be contaminating the fresh air in your home as it travels down your ducts. If you see buildup, hire a professional to clean your ducts.

Ozone Generator
If smoke odor still lingers after you complete all these steps, an ozone generator is your next best option. Ozone is a powerful cleanser and is very effective at eliminating odors. Ozone generators create activated oxygen. By oxidizing the smoke molecules, they can eliminate the smoke smell entirely (if used properly). Homeowners can rent or purchase ozone generators from their local hardware store. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations, which usually involve leaving the machine running in a closed room for a specific period of time.
 

whoisthis

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2021
Messages
6
Reaction score
0
Location
michigan
i've been running my HEPA air purifier for a while but it is not removing the strong cigarette smell. My throat is getting stuffy from this. FML.
So Ozone generator is suppose to destroy the smell not just covering up the smell?
 

Sparky617

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2014
Messages
1,597
Reaction score
570
Location
Cary NC
I'd read the EPA link and weigh that as you look at other information. The EPA isn't trying to sell you something.
 

Hal201

Active Member
Joined
Mar 25, 2021
Messages
25
Reaction score
2
Location
USA
Talk to your landlord about the problem, your landlord might be able to help you with it.
 

kok328

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2007
Messages
3,131
Reaction score
354
My understanding on the Ozone machines is that you can not be present when they are running.
Also my understanding per fire code you should not have shared vents.
 

Jeff Handy

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 20, 2019
Messages
892
Reaction score
314
Location
Chicago suburbs
It is common for multi-story apartments to have roof mounted ventilators, that ventilate the bathrooms on several floors.
Through a system of shared ductwork.

So there is no exhaust fan in each bathroom, just a grill, and they are all connected by ducting to the roof ventilator.

And yes, cigarette smoke or cooking odors can travel through these shared ducts and escape.

Keep the bathroom doors cracked or open, so the ventilator is able to pull air from your apartment.

And ask building maintenance to check the operation of the fan motor on the roof.

Also, the ducts often need a yearly cleaning by professional, because they clog with dust.
 

kok328

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2007
Messages
3,131
Reaction score
354
It is common for multi-story apartments to have roof mounted ventilators, that ventilate the bathrooms on several floors.
Through a system of shared ductwork.

So there is no exhaust fan in each bathroom, just a grill, and they are all connected by ducting to the roof ventilator.

And yes, cigarette smoke or cooking odors can travel through these shared ducts and escape.

Keep the bathroom doors cracked or open, so the ventilator is able to pull air from your apartment.

And ask building maintenance to check the operation of the fan motor on the roof.

Also, the ducts often need a yearly cleaning by professional, because they clog with dust.
I deal with this frequently, often find fans that have tripped the motor starter or breaker, broken belts, bad motors and fan blades so caked with dirt that they no longer move air. I change them out for direct drive units with adjustable ECM motors, whenever possible.
 

whoisthis

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2021
Messages
6
Reaction score
0
Location
michigan
It is common for multi-story apartments to have roof mounted ventilators, that ventilate the bathrooms on several floors.
Through a system of shared ductwork.

So there is no exhaust fan in each bathroom, just a grill, and they are all connected by ducting to the roof ventilator.

And yes, cigarette smoke or cooking odors can travel through these shared ducts and escape.

Keep the bathroom doors cracked or open, so the ventilator is able to pull air from your apartment.

And ask building maintenance to check the operation of the fan motor on the roof.

Also, the ducts often need a yearly cleaning by professional, because they clog with dust.
i do have an exhaust fan that i can turn on in the bathroom. It doesn't do a good job in removing the odor(not cigarette). my apartment is 3 floors and i do'nt think we have a fan motor on the roof.
cigarette smell is mostly coming into my room and it stays.
I talked to the landlord and they say smoking indoor is legal and they can't stop them. All they can do is leave them a note.
Today i sent an email to the headquarter that owns this apartment, Lautrec. I hope they have a better solution
 

Sparky617

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2014
Messages
1,597
Reaction score
570
Location
Cary NC
On our cul de sac of 12 single family homes there aren't any smokers these days. It is funny, if some one fires up a cigarette nearby I can usually smell it without ever seeing the person smoking. Smoking neighbors is one of the big downsides to living in townhomes, condos, and apartments. Anything with shared walls. Noise is the other drawback. It is legal for someone to smoke in their own home, many will smoke outdoors these days to keep their own indoor air quality better, that of course makes it probably a bit worse for the neighbors. Back when a much higher percentage of the US adults smoked I guess we just go used to the smell, as it has become a much smaller percentage of the population I'm not around it as much any more. We were in France and Germany 3 years ago and it is much more prevalent there than here. Good for us.
 

kok328

Well-Known Member
Joined
Nov 19, 2007
Messages
3,131
Reaction score
354
Not even sure why someone would want to smoke inside their home. :(
 

Sparky617

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2014
Messages
1,597
Reaction score
570
Location
Cary NC
Not even sure why someone would want to smoke.. :(
FIFY - my parents smoked. I couldn't stand it then, and it killed my dad years before it should have and played a key role in my mom's youngish death. Dad got emphysema, a nasty way to go.
 

whoisthis

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2021
Messages
6
Reaction score
0
Location
michigan
i wouldn't wanna die from second hand smoking. The office sent out couple of maintenance guys to fill all the holes in the cracks from frame/edge trims, and window seals. They also filled a hole? or something in every sink drainage pipe. i'm not 100%sure what they did
 

Sparky617

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2014
Messages
1,597
Reaction score
570
Location
Cary NC
i wouldn't wanna die from second hand smoking. The office sent out couple of maintenance guys to fill all the holes in the cracks from frame/edge trims, and window seals. They also filled a hole? or something in every sink drainage pipe. i'm not 100%sure what they did
Probably sealed around the pipe and drywall. There is typical just an slide on cover to hide the hole around the pipe. Sealing that up could help contain smoke from the apartment next door, or above or below. I doubt the second hand smoke would be a health factor unless they were smoking in your apartment. I can be pretty annoying to a non-smokers sense of smell though. The stuff is nasty and finds its way through every nook and cranny.
 

whoisthis

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2021
Messages
6
Reaction score
0
Location
michigan
Probably sealed around the pipe and drywall. There is typical just an slide on cover to hide the hole around the pipe. Sealing that up could help contain smoke from the apartment next door, or above or below. I doubt the second hand smoke would be a health factor unless they were smoking in your apartment. I can be pretty annoying to a non-smokers sense of smell though. The stuff is nasty and finds its way through every nook and cranny.
why wasn't it hiding that hole around the pipe in the first place lol. I think the air quality improved after sealing up all the cracks near wall trims. So the smell is definitely coming through cracks. can the smell come from at the edge where the carpet meets the dry wall trim on the floor? The carpet is glued on the floor but some edges, i lifted up the carpet to hide the cables there.
 

Sparky617

Member
Joined
Nov 3, 2014
Messages
1,597
Reaction score
570
Location
Cary NC
why wasn't it hiding that hole around the pipe in the first place lol. I think the air quality improved after sealing up all the cracks near wall trims. So the smell is definitely coming through cracks. can the smell come from at the edge where the carpet meets the dry wall trim on the floor? The carpet is glued on the floor but some edges, i lifted up the carpet to hide the cables there.
The simple answer is: The code doesn't require it. Builders of apartments aren't going to go out of their way to exceed the code.

You could add these to your outlets and switches, especially on any common and exterior walls.


If this was a condo that you owned I might look at a blower door test to find all the leaks in your common and exterior walls. Not sure I'd go through the expense on an apartment where I won't be living long term. The gap between the wall and the subfloor could certainly allow air infiltration. With glued carpet fixing it won't be clean or easy. A bead of caulk between the baseboard and the sub floor would help. Unless the code required it, and it may in an apartment they probably didn't seal the gaps between plumbing pipes and electrical wires and the framing. If the apartment is fairly new, they may have had to do it with firestop caulking. I know we had to do it on a project at church a few years ago.

Blower door test:
 

whoisthis

Member
Joined
Apr 6, 2021
Messages
6
Reaction score
0
Location
michigan
The simple answer is: The code doesn't require it. Builders of apartments aren't going to go out of their way to exceed the code.

You could add these to your outlets and switches, especially on any common and exterior walls.


If this was a condo that you owned I might look at a blower door test to find all the leaks in your common and exterior walls. Not sure I'd go through the expense on an apartment where I won't be living long term. The gap between the wall and the subfloor could certainly allow air infiltration. With glued carpet fixing it won't be clean or easy. A bead of caulk between the baseboard and the sub floor would help. Unless the code required it, and it may in an apartment they probably didn't seal the gaps between plumbing pipes and electrical wires and the framing. If the apartment is fairly new, they may have had to do it with firestop caulking. I know we had to do it on a project at church a few years ago.

Blower door test:
i was actually thinking if the smell could come from the outlet so i taped around it haha. last night i felt wind coming in through the window so i bought a tube of sealant and sealed the window frame too. I have a strong feeling that this might fix the problem. if not then i don't know what else could be
 

Latest posts

Top