My neighbor stinks - literally.
November 6, 2011 2:54 PM Subscribe
Bad smells filter through the heating system in my building, meaning that my apartment - and by extension, me - smell like these bad smells (cigarette smoke + other). Help us both to smell like something more pleasant?
posted by AthenaPolias to Home & Garden (12 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I moved into a new apartment in September, and within a few weeks I noticed that cigarette smoke was occasionally wafting through the ventilation system. I complained to my landlord who said he'd "look into it" - whatever that means, though I have noticed my neighbors immediately below me going outside to smoke, so he may have spoken to them. I stopped noticing concentrated bursts of smoke coming in, so I figured the problem was mostly eradicated.
Unfortunately, it's not. We're just now hitting the time of the year when the heat is on all the time and the windows can't be open overnight (3rd floor, so it's warm enough up here that some fresh air is still necessary at times). Though the concentrated bursts of smoke are still gone, I've noticed that all of my clothes smell like smoke - even those laundered recently - and that the smoke is simply just more subtle and constant, so it's a slightly different type of problem. BUT: this is not all. Other smells come in with the heat, and I've noticed - and this is the really unfortunate part - that this smells just like my first-floor neighbor, who is.... unhygienic, shall we say. She smokes (cigarettes and otherwise), has a dog who I'm pretty sure is not housebroken, and when you walk into the house there's definitely a general mustiness and a slightly sickly sweet smell that is what is now drifting into my apartment. How I didn't smell this when I viewed the apartment (twice!) last spring, I have no idea.
One other detail: I'm personally really disgusted by cigarette smoke. I grew up with a chain-smoking father and the feeling of smelling like smoke just makes me want to throw things. So, there's that.
I will complain to my landlord again, but I'm not sure realistically what he can do, short of evicting her and doing a major cleaning purge of the houses's ventilation system - i.e. not gonna happen. Also, I may be a shorter-term tenant (1-2 years), whereas the others who live here have done so for a long time. So I figure I should suck it up as much as possible (pun not intended, but... ew).
This is all to say: what in the world can I do? I'm concerned primarily for my respiratory health (I've been sick twice since I moved in, which is double my usual record for an entire year) and for the smell stuck in my clothing, since this is part of the impression I make to the outside world. Can I put anything in front of the vents to soak up smells? Store my clothes in a certain way? Will an air purifier do enough? Any suggestions at all are more than absolutely welcome.
Potentially useful details: forced-air heat, I don't pay for utilities (I've been using the 'fan' option on my a/c at night a lot), limited budget on my end, but high priority placed on my health.