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Trying To Stop The Smoke!

Monday, November 18, 2013

I have the misfortune of getting my neighbour's cigarette smoke flooding my apartment. Unfortunately there is little the Housing Authority could do for me other than putting a heavy rubber strip on the bottom of my door. My Mom bought me one of those ionic filter air exchanger which did not touch it (even though it claimed to be able to take it out) My sister SABLE77 jumped into the fray with some ideas, one being taping up my kitchen cupboards, trying to seal them since the smoke comes in strongest there. Then she discovered large gaping holes between my cupboards that led up to my drop down ceiling I share with my neighbour and she thought that was it. So taking some foam I had and cutting it up she blocked all these holes. She also moved the fridge out to see if it was somehow coming in there but there was nothing. When I washed behind there my mop came away brownish yellow with the smoke residue on the walls:( She did not have enough tape for everything and also noted there were gapes between the ceiling and the cupboards. So we left it at what she could do and hoped that the blocking of the large holes would take a lot of it out. But when I came back later that day, it was as strong as ever :( We have no uptake fans in our suites, its a passive venting system that is supposed to take air up, but unfortunately, it does not. When the wind blows, even slightly, you can actually feel the air blowing down on you from these vents. I closed the kitchen one off long ago, but had to keep the bathroom open as there is no other way to air it out. The filter we stuck in the grate was totally black and furry to show how much crud comes down it. My sister is suggesting installing my own battery operated fan up there to push it back so the bad air won't come out. My sister's next plan of attack is to get a spray foam and just run it along every where there is a joint and crack. Not so sure the housing authority would approve of this as this stuff has a color and would be quite noticeable. We are not allowed to make any modifications to our suite, and if we do, should we leave, we have to put it back to the way it was at our own expense. They don't allow much anyway as I lobbied to put a shower only in there and get rid of the bath tub, but they wouldn't allow that.
I really appreciate my sister and Mom trying to help solve this problem, but I fear it may be hopeless. The only thing I can wish for is if the Housing Authority makes all its building smoke free someday. My caretakers thought they might be leaning this way as so many people have this same problem.
The temperatures have really dropped here after the snowfall, and there is a very real risk of freezing my hot water heating pipes under the window if I open it. We are given a written warning about this twice a year. The people above me ignored it last year and when they froze their pipes, I got the flood :P So I turn my heat up high, open the window and get my floor fan on high and that helps push the smoke away from my kitchen long enough to fix meals. Also suggested was wearing a mask which I may do as well.
With the windchill, it feels like -8F (-22C)
Stuffed up And Sleepless in Saskatoon :P
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
    My heart goes out to you. I have used a Honeywell Environcare Hepa filter for years, using a special A Plus charcoal filter to be sure it can filter out smoke and chemical smells. It did work for the most part, but the best result was the building going non-smoking recently with fines for smoking in the building.

    You might try contacting representatives to let them know how dangerous this smoke is to your health and to that of other tenants in the building. Smoke really does go everywhere. There have been warnings in D.C. that smoke can get in under the door but also all kinds of other ways for nearby tenants in apartment buildings. Many people have health conditions like asthma that make breathing in smoke nearly a life-threatening event. And the link between second-hand smoke and cancer is strong, too. So many places have banned smoking that it would be surprising if your housing authority took steps as well. I hope they do.
    1670 days ago
    Oh I am just too sorry to hear about this. I am afraid I would have to move. I can't stand smoke. It's awful. I am so glad here in the state even restaurants have made it illegal to smoke inside. Woo hoo.
    1671 days ago
  • C8TSON
    The thought of this just disgusts me. I think they should make the building smoke free. That is just not good for your health overall. Is there another apartment you could move into away from the smoke but in the same complex? I just hate that for you. Ever since I quit, I can't stand the smell at all. It literally gives me a headache. My inlaws still do it, so when we stay with them, I stock up on Tylenol. I so hope this gets better for you. emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1671 days ago
  • LINDA!
    I can just imagine how awful the smoke must be. Since I am not a smoker, I just hate to smell it. I am sorry it is so cold there. emoticon
    1672 days ago
    Hopefully they will soon make your building smoke free. Once that smell gets in, it is very hard to get rid of it. Prayers that this problem will soon be solved for you and for all who are having issues with it.
    I think they should be able to do something on their side since the smoke is coming from them.
    Prayers, blessings and hugs,
    1672 days ago
    Oh, that is terrible! I can't believe that there is nothing they can do for you. It's so unfair! emoticon
    1673 days ago
    hiLinda....I'm so sorry about your ongoing struggle. As an exsmoker I can say you are right...the smoker's addiction trumps every thing else.Smokers are not aware of how badly they smell and even if they did they feel quite powerless to address the problem. It is not fair that you should have to suffer....I hope some kind of resolution is devised for you
    1674 days ago
  • JUNEAU2010
    My complete sympathies, Linda! I hate the smoke and really have a problem with it.
    1674 days ago
  • SABLE77
    Well bummer, i had really hoped that it would have done something! I liked the idea about smoke free, maybe they could ban smoking in the rooms and set up a smoke room near a door. probably not, I will keep on thinking on it
    Have a Great Day!
    1675 days ago
    I have to do some more thinking on this but here's a couple of suggestions. If there are holes that need plugging, you might want to get someone to come in with some of the special spray foam to do a complete and neat job. That will seal absolutely everything. There are different types for different purposes.

    My mother in law wanted a fan so she bought a ceiling light and fan and my dh installed it for her so it included the light and fan and it moves a lot of air… she actually put 2 in, one in the entry and one in the dining area.

    Another possibility is an exhaust fan installed in a window, which would move air out, but if all the air coming in is still smoky….. not sure if that's an answer.

    Here's another thought. If you're apt has gaps and holes, her's likely does too. Instead of trying to keep her smoke out… can you talk to someone who handles the building maintenance and have them try to keep her smoke IN her apt by stopping any leaks from her end? If everyone's leaks are minimized it might be better.

    Lastly, I'm wondering if there isn't anything that health or environment can do? There's just something that tells me air quality in an apt building has to be handled by someone!

    I'm going to ask my dh if he has any other ideas…. I keep thinking if her bad air is coming in, there should be away to reverse the flow somehow. I'm in a solution mode today. I gotta be able to fix someone's problem! Gotta be easier than trying to deal with my own. emoticon (and actually on that note we're doing pretty well.)

    Good luck. Glad you've got family who care enough to try to help make it better. Hopefully someone will find the magic solution soon. Have a great week. CJ
    1675 days ago
    Bummer - is there any possibility you could move in the building? So glad your family tried to help you solve the problem.
    1675 days ago
    So hope your building goes smoke-free soon.
    1675 days ago
  • KANOE10
    I am sorry about that smoke. I hope they make your building smoke free..Your sister is trying her hardest to help. Would an air filter help?

    Thinking of you in the cold. Hugs.

    1675 days ago
    Could they relocate you away from the smoker? If your doctor provided a note about the smoke being determental maybe they might approve the other solutions.
    Sounds horrible. emoticon
    1675 days ago
    I totally understand and sympathize. I hope you can appeal to some health authority for relief especially if you have a group of residents who can testify to the problem.

    Sadly, I've found that appeals to smokers are generally ineffective. Their addiction trumps any concern about my ability to breathe. Such is the nature of addiction.

    Good luck.
    1675 days ago
    ugh. The smoke would drive me bonkers. I hate that smell. Hugs.

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon
    1675 days ago
    Totally outrageous that you should have to deal with this. Is there no local health authority which would take up your cause since the housing authority is so passive? How about your local legal aid clinic? Your present misery is serious enough, but what if you acquire more serious smoking related illness?

    And: so happy that your sister is doing all she can to assist.

    1675 days ago
    Sorry about the smoke Linda. I live in a duplex
    and my neighbours all smoke and stand outside
    my garage door and leave all the butts there.
    The smoke drifts into my place and I start coughing.
    It is always worse after the rain. I have told them, but
    to no avail. I hope you can fix your problem soon. Your
    sister is very innovative. I wish her success so that you
    don't have theis prpblem.
    1675 days ago
    Sorry Linda about that smoke. They should make the building smoke free, since so many are having that problem with the vents. Fire hazard anyway. Stay warm. Hugs.
    1675 days ago
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