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 Post subject: second hand smoke in a condo
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 7:33 am 
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Loves Carrots (in the biblical sense)
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Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
It's getting really bad. I swear whoever smokes downstairs chain smokes all day and even gets up in the middle of the night to smoke. It comes in all my windows but the office and the bedroom are the worst. I wake up with a sore smoker throat daily and am constantly coughing and sputtering and feeling asthmatic when on my computer due to the smoke coming in my window every 15 minutes or so. It gets so bad that I just leave whatever I was doing on my computer and go sit in the kitchen - the only room not adjacent to a window. Closing my windows is not an option - even with the windows open it's too hot to comfortably sleep (we're not allowed in-window AC units in our condo due to board rules). Even in the winter I have to crack windows occasionally since we're top-floor and it gets really warm from everyone else's heat.

Do any of you have any ideas how I might be able to stop the smoke from coming into my condo? Or how to keep it cool without opening windows so I can keep the smoke out? My windows all open into the same area as we're on an inside corner so creating a cross-breeze from a non-smoky source is impossible (the living room is the least smoky but you can still smell it in there). We've complained to the board and they know about him and have received many complaints but can't do anything about it. Since summer came around my health is really suffering due to all the second-hand and I'm stuck here for at least another year while I save up a down payment for a house.


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 Post subject: Re: second hand smoke in a condo
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 7:43 am 
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ugh. that sounds awful. I can occasionally smell cigarette smoke from people smoking on the sidewalk downstairs and it's pretty gross. i'd probably try talking to the neighbor, if you know them at all. it might be that they have a window they could smoke near that won't fly up into your windows.

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 Post subject: Re: second hand smoke in a condo
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 7:47 am 
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Ugh, I totally feel you. My roommate and I had a similar situation. I think it wasn't as strong in my room as his and I'm less susceptible, because it bothered him as much as it does you. He eventually (accidentally) scared the crepe out of our downstairs neighbor at three am when he grouched at her for smoking in the open door of her apartment which lead to a lot of the smell going back through her apartment and up into hers as well as around to our windows. We'd previously asked that she smoke outside and she sort of did for a while and then just settled on the doorstep. We haven't had nearly as much issue since he asked her to stop smoking where it could come into our apartment at three am. Obviously there was an unintentional power dynamic going on, since he's a tall, slightly heavy set male who can be very grouchy, but I think talking to your neighbor is the best solution. He may try and smoke somewhere where its less likely to get into your apartment? Maybe?

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 Post subject: Re: second hand smoke in a condo
PostPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2012 6:23 pm 
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Has anyone actually spoken to him before going to the board? If not, perhaps give that a try?


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 Post subject: Re: second hand smoke in a condo
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2012 2:16 pm 
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I'm not sure who exactly it is as there are 4 floors and the column of condos on one side of mine could be the offending party as well. I've tried to run outside when I smell the smoke so I can see where it's coming from but I can never see anyone by the time it's in my condo. I'd also be wary of talking to them - depending who it was - because there are some real jerks in my building (some very nice people as well but definitely more than a few jerks) who I know would just smoke more to peas someone off if they were approached about it.

I suppose I'll continue to try to catch them in the act.


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 Post subject: Re: second hand smoke in a condo
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2012 3:02 pm 
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Lots of sympathy. I recommend picking up a few stand fans. We never open the windows during the summer because it's too hot. We recently picked up a tower fan for the bedroom and have been able to sleep with the thermostat at 80F, thanks to the wind chill from the fan. It cost about $10.


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 Post subject: Re: second hand smoke in a condo
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2012 3:56 pm 
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My friend was recently talking to me about getting a non-window air conditioner for her daughter who is staying at college for the summer. They hadn't gotten one yet, but apparently it's a free-standing thing, similar to a de-humidifier, with a hose that goes to a window?

I just did a quick search:

http://www.air-n-water.com/portable-air ... tm?size=-1

It might not completely solve the problem, but at least you wouldn't have to open windows.


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 Post subject: Re: second hand smoke in a condo
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:09 pm 
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I think you could benefit from a bunch of house plants. Google which ones are best for clearing the air. You could also stick a fan in the smoky window blowing out, if there is another window on the other side of the house where you don't get the smoke put another window there pointing in. Then you will get some cross ventalation. When it's hot you can point yet another fan at yourself and put somee ice in a bowl in front of that. Maybe with some mint too and then you will get cool refreshing air blowing on you.

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 Post subject: Re: second hand smoke in a condo
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:52 pm 
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I live in 2nd floor apt and sounds like we might have the same neighbors. We turn fans so they blow the inside air out, thus avoiding bringing in the smoke. Tower fans, like someone else suggested, work really well for us too.

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 Post subject: Re: second hand smoke in a condo
PostPosted: Sat Jun 30, 2012 9:24 pm 
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I second the use of fans, only place them so the air is blowing outward. That may prevent the smoke from coming in. I'm fortunate to have central A/C but even in nice weather I don't open my living room window because people let their dogs crepe in the dirt right in front of it. I haven't been able to catch the culprit in the act, so I've no clue who is allowing their dog to do this.

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 Post subject: Re: second hand smoke in a condo
PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:14 am 
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We have a cat with asthma, so a few years ago we bought a couple of Honeywell? air purifiers. They aren't cheap, for sure, but it really helped with air quality. So worth it. We have run them 24 hours a day for years and it's been great. Plus, I love the white noise. I DESPISE smoke, so I feel for you. That just sucks. I like the house plant idea too -- Get a bunch of plants, get a couple of air purifiers, and you'll probably feel so much better.


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 Post subject: Re: second hand smoke in a condo
PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:40 am 
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iamnotapottedplant wrote:
We have a cat with asthma, so a few years ago we bought a couple of Honeywell? air purifiers. They aren't cheap, for sure, but it really helped with air quality. So worth it. We have run them 24 hours a day for years and it's been great. Plus, I love the white noise. I DESPISE smoke, so I feel for you. That just sucks. I like the house plant idea too -- Get a bunch of plants, get a couple of air purifiers, and you'll probably feel so much better.

Yeah, when I was married and my husband had allergy-induced asthma, a couple of Honeywell HEPA filters worked wonders. We had one big one running out in the main area of the house and a smaller one running in the bedroom. I don't have personal experience with them and smoke but they're supposed to work for that too.

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 Post subject: Re: second hand smoke in a condo
PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 11:25 am 
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yeah, get the air conditioner with the hose that attaches to the window. the bulk of the machine sits on the floor inside. nobody except someone across the way will be able to see the exhaust thing (and those people would most likely understand, because they are probably dealing with the same smoke.)

if you're reported, send the association all your doctor's bills, and give them the option to pay for your lung health for the rest of your life or allow this one small window blemish.

(is there seriously no central air? how can they legally forbid window units if they don't have central air installed?)

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 Post subject: Re: second hand smoke in a condo
PostPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 12:48 pm 
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Loves Carrots (in the biblical sense)
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Location: Calgary, AB, Canada
I live in Calgary so most places don't have central air here. It's odd for a home to have AC since you really only need it for comfort a few weeks of the year and it still cools off nicely at night (it's always sweater weather once the sun goes down here). There are a few reasons my place gets uncomfortably warm (we're top floor and my boyfriend runs over 7 computers in the office being the main ones). It's really quite pleasant if we can keep our windows open with our one fan placed so we get a cross-breeze but if it rains and we have to close the windows it gets REALLY hot quickly - probably over 30 Celsius (86F) since my coconut oil completely liquifies at 25 Celsius (77F) or so and I still find that moderately livable. It gets much hotter inside than it is outside.

We have an air purifier in the bedroom that one of the neighbors sold us since he doesn't use it but it's quite loud so we can't use it while we sleep (well, I could sleep through anything but he wakes up to a pin drop). The boyfriend is out looking at fans today and my thought is if we get the breeze coming in through the window farthest from where we are then the smoke should dissipate by the time it reaches the room we're in. If that doesn't work I'll look at AC units... or just steal a couple particulate ventilator masks from the hospital and throw them on when the smoke starts to come in hahaha. (jk I hate wearing those - they make breathing difficult)

Plants would be an awesome idea but we don't really get much light coming in and when I've tried to grow plants in the past they've always died from lack of sun (I now have a hydroponic set with a grow light so I've got some herbs but it's not a solution for larger house plants.)

Worst-case scenario I guess is 3 more months of needing to have windows open, then we should be looking to move around the time it gets hot outside again.


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 Post subject: Re: second hand smoke in a condo
PostPosted: Tue Jul 03, 2012 10:55 pm 
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This sounds terrible! I would def try the box fan in the window blowing out instead of in. Do you have a ceiling fan? That might help move the air around and keep it flowing down and out the windows. Did you try bamboo? It gets pretty big over time and doesn't need much of anything.

This might be a stretch but you could try taking furnace filter screens and putting them in the windows somehow. It won't be pretty but it might help catch a good deal of smoke before it comes in the room.

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