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Old 05-25-2009, 03:40 PM   #1
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Cigarette Smoke


Hello - I live a twin home and my neighbors smoke. During the winter the smell mostly comes through the air return registers. Even if the heater isn't on we can smell the smoke through the registers. Our laundry room is mostly unfisished and the entire room stinks but is typically contained to this room. This summer, though, after we turned on the A/C the smell is horrible as it comes through the registers. I'm wanting to put active carbon filters (cut to fit) in the registers. I have a few questions regarding this and would appreciate feedback

1. How thick should the filter be? I've been looking at 1/4" and 1/8" thick.

2. Concerned about removing the registers that are screwed to the wall. If I change the filters too often, I might wallow out the screws in the wall. Anyone have any retrofit ideas? I've attached pictures of the registers.

I think that's it for now. Thanks in advance!
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Old 05-25-2009, 08:45 PM   #2
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Cigarette Smoke


What do you mean by a "twin" home. Duplex/side by side, common basement? Most homes have separate HVAC systems and ductwork so without seeing it, it is hard to imagine how their smoke gets into your system.

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Old 05-25-2009, 09:09 PM   #3
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Cigarette Smoke


Twin Home as in Duplex. I agree, HVAC is separate and this is what's driving me crazy. I haven't been able to figure out how the smoke enters our home. BUT, I know that the smoke smell comes from the air return when the HVAC is off AND the smell comes from the vents when the A/C comes on. I spoke with an environmental company and they indicated that I would have to increase the air presser on our side to get the smoke to stay on their side OR I put air filters on the registers and air returns.

My questions:

1. 1/4" or 1/8" filters.
2. Ideas to attach filters on registers that are attached by screws to walls and ceilings (reference the pics).
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Old 05-25-2009, 10:22 PM   #4
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Cigarette Smoke


I would suggest non-smoking tenants next time around..

That's a nasty friging habit. Not many of my customers smoke. But most of those who do go outside. I don't know, may be it's it's just a Northern thing to take the those noxious fumes out side.

I would put the carbon filter in the hvac system's filter rack.

Being right next door I don't know how effective the filters will be.

If your renting raise hell with the land lord. I f you own the place tell them to go out side or lose the lease.

Pretty sure most states have laws governing the rights of non smokers in a situation such as yours.
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Old 05-25-2009, 10:52 PM   #5
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Cigarette Smoke


Don't rent, own. So do they. We really didn't have a choice. The people that lived there when we moved in were a quiet family with two small children. When they moved out, they sold their home to smokers. There should be a law. What do you mean by System's Filter Rack? Is that where the normal HVAC filter goes? The air returns are not sealed. They go between the wall and utilize the floor joists back to the HVAC. I would think that if they were sealed (ducted(?)), then there wouldn't be a problem. We've only a couple of years to pay this thing off...this all quite literally STINKS!
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Old 05-25-2009, 11:05 PM   #6
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Originally Posted by digitap View Post
Don't rent, own. So do they. We really didn't have a choice. The people that lived there when we moved in were a quiet family with two small children. When they moved out, they sold their home to smokers. There should be a law. What do you mean by System's Filter Rack? Is that where the normal HVAC filter goes? The air returns are not sealed. They go between the wall and utilize the floor joists back to the HVAC. I would think that if they were sealed (ducted(?)), then there wouldn't be a problem. We've only a couple of years to pay this thing off...this all quite literally STINKS!
Yes, where the filter usually goes is what i was referring to.

You have my sympathy. Since you have adjoining residential spaces i would ask the local building authority about your situation. Also don't be afraid to call the state attorney general's office. They can put you in ouch with the state office that handles your kind of problem

I don't begrudge a person his right to smoke cause I can move away if I am in a public place. YOU are a captive in your own home, so I gotta think there has to be some remedy available to you from local government.
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Old 05-25-2009, 11:14 PM   #7
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Cigarette Smoke


My wife has a home-based business so the following applies: September 4, 2008, prohibited in places of business where minors under 18 are allowed, incluing restaurants, retail stores, office buildings, medical facilities, daycares, theaters, banks, bars, manufacturing plants, vehicle repair shops, public areas of hotels and motels, wholesale business services, warehouses and home-based businesses; businesses may allow smoking if they have smoking rooms enclosed on all sides by solid, impermeable walls or windows extending from the floor to ceiling and must have self-closing doors and maintain a negative air pressure (meaning more air is exhausted from the room than is directly supplied by the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system) and cannot be returned to the HVAC system, and no person under 18 can be allowed in such smoking rooms.

I'd rather try the filters. My wife and I were at the zoo today with our son and I saw this on someone's T-shirt, "If you don't like something change it. If you can't change it, change your attitude. Don't complain." -Maya Angelou We don't have much time here before we'll move...sigh.
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Old 05-25-2009, 11:15 PM   #8
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But, I did get sidetracked...what do you think about my two questions?
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Old 05-26-2009, 07:48 AM   #9
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Cigarette Smoke


Like I said, use a full size carbon filter with your regular filter.

Good luck.
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Old 05-26-2009, 08:57 AM   #10
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Cigarette Smoke


I agree the only way to keep all the smoke is to increase the air pressure in you home but this would be very expensive to maintain. Since you indicate the odor is comming from the returns you probably have some common walls that share return space or it just leaks from one stud bay to another.

I would install a good electronic air cleaner on your HVAC and run the circulating fan (and filter) all the time. This would cost about $1.00 a day where I live but would be much less expensive than running a system that increases the pressure.

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