Issue with bathroom exhaust fans & neighbor's cigarette smoke

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Old 02-16-10, 10:50 PM
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Issue with bathroom exhaust fans & neighbor's cigarette smoke

I live in a condo and my neighbor started smoking inside in November. I get a great deal of cigarette smoke through both of my bathroom exhaust fans. My upstairs bathroom mirrors hers. The other day I heard her having a phone conversation through the bathroom fan so loud and clear it was like she was in the same room. The smoke has gotten so bad I currently have trash bags over them and she refuses to smoke outside.

How can I rectify this on my end and why can I hear her talking so clearly? The fans are cheap builder grade. Do fans exist that will completely block out any incoming smells? I've already tried running the fans for extended periods of time - I still get the smell. I have asthma and this has been a nightmare situation for me as this is one of the many places smoke is entering my home. Thanks!
 
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Old 02-17-10, 03:25 AM
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Hi Sarah and welcome to the forum. It sounds like the fans may share a common vent or that they are venting into the attic. Your location will help as natural drafts go different directions depending upon the warm or cold climate.

Whether it is bathroom smells of smoke, both are not welcome visitors to adjacent condos. If any building function is common between residents, I would think it should be discussed through the condo association, since the solution might involve modifying that vent which serves both homes.

Can you access the attic or determine how/where the fans are venting? Could be attic, roof or end wall. For now, keep the plastic in place and let us know what you can see.

Once we isolate this obvious problem, we can also address the other smoke you smell. Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a common problem in today's homes and there are solutions. Just think, fresh, clean air 24/7 .

Bud
 
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Old 02-17-10, 07:56 PM
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Originally Posted by Bud9051 View Post
Hi Sarah and welcome to the forum. It sounds like the fans may share a common vent or that they are venting into the attic. Your location will help as natural drafts go different directions depending upon the warm or cold climate.

Whether it is bathroom smells of smoke, both are not welcome visitors to adjacent condos. If any building function is common between residents, I would think it should be discussed through the condo association, since the solution might involve modifying that vent which serves both homes.

Can you access the attic or determine how/where the fans are venting? Could be attic, roof or end wall. For now, keep the plastic in place and let us know what you can see.

Once we isolate this obvious problem, we can also address the other smoke you smell. Indoor air quality (IAQ) is a common problem in today's homes and there are solutions. Just think, fresh, clean air 24/7 .

Bud
Thanks for your help! Forgive me if I sound like an idiot and/or use the wrong terminology. This our 1st condo and we are learning as we go - usually when problems arise, unfortunately.

Can you tell me what I am looking for exactly?

When I looked into the attic I saw 3 PVC pipes, set a good distance apart, running from ceiling to roof. Next to the middle one, which seems to be in same location as my bathroom, there is a metal tube coming through the ceiling. It looks like the end is cut off and left open. Do you think this is the bathroom vent?

Also the entire attic reeks of cigarette smoke. I am the only condo in the quad with attic access and my closet smells so badly I had to move clothing to my guest room just to have something to wear that didn't smell. I would also love to believe the HOA would help but they have been no help whatsoever. They said it's not their problem so I am having to do everything I can on my end. Thanks again!
 
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Old 02-17-10, 09:40 PM
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The metal tube definitely sounds like the vent pipe. Ideally it should run to the exterior of the building and exhaust either through a wall or the roof. By dumping into the attic, you not only get your neighbors stink but the possibility of mold, due to exhausting the bathroom humidity into the attic.

Were it me, I would get a good handyman company to route my exhaust properly. Since your neighbor does not seem to be concerned, I would then seal the attic trap door so that no stink filters down into your closet.

In an ideal world, your neighbor's exhaust should also run to the outside - through it's own pipe.
 
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Old 02-17-10, 09:54 PM
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Originally Posted by goldstar View Post
The metal tube definitely sounds like the vent pipe. Ideally it should run to the exterior of the building and exhaust either through a wall or the roof. By dumping into the attic, you not only get your neighbors stink but the possibility of mold, due to exhausting the bathroom humidity into the attic.

Were it me, I would get a good handyman company to route my exhaust properly. Since your neighbor does not seem to be concerned, I would then seal the attic trap door so that no stink filters down into your closet.

In an ideal world, your neighbor's exhaust should also run to the outside - through it's own pipe.
How hard is it to separate it into 2 vents? Bringing it through the roof would help with the smell in the attic but it won't help with the smell coming through the vent in my bathroom, right?

Also, could 4 exhausts be venting through that one tube? I am getting smoke through the bathroom vent in my downstairs bathroom but that vent doesn't sit against the same wall as hers does.
 
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Old 01-05-11, 09:39 AM
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I feel ya...

I found this forum thread when I was searching for a solution to this exact problem. We just moved into a 3rd floor unit condo last week and we are having trouble blocking out the cigarette smell coming from the bathroom vent as well. I didn't notice this smell when I came to see this property and put in a contract in the fall. The neighbors must have been smoking outside in the balcony then, and now in winter they smoke inside in the bathroom and turn on the vent fan to let out the smoke.

For now, I put up a plastic window insulation over the vent opening to seal the vent and running Fabreeze True Air filter. I will post a follow up to let you know if this works or not...

I also called the condo association to address this issue, but they were only sympathetic to this problem -- it's not like they can stop the neighbors from smoking! LOL

Please post any other suggestions to block out the neighbor's smoke smell... anything will help!

Thank you~~~
 
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Old 01-06-11, 11:00 AM
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Originally Posted by hoosjunbe View Post
I found this forum thread when I was searching for a solution to this exact problem. We just moved into a 3rd floor unit condo last week and we are having trouble blocking out the cigarette smell coming from the bathroom vent as well. I didn't notice this smell when I came to see this property and put in a contract in the fall. The neighbors must have been smoking outside in the balcony then, and now in winter they smoke inside in the bathroom and turn on the vent fan to let out the smoke.

For now, I put up a plastic window insulation over the vent opening to seal the vent and running Fabreeze True Air filter. I will post a follow up to let you know if this works or not...

I also called the condo association to address this issue, but they were only sympathetic to this problem -- it's not like they can stop the neighbors from smoking! LOL

Please post any other suggestions to block out the neighbor's smoke smell... anything will help!

Thank you~~~
I'm sorry you're having to deal with this!! Unfortunately for us it's our entire condo that's filled with smoke. Like you she did not start smoking inside until 2 years after we moved in when it got really cold out side. $4,000 and a year later we are still dealing with the problem. We asked the HOA to create a rule making our quad no smoking because I have asthma which is considered a disability (breathing function). Other condo associations have done the same thing. Contrary to popular belief smoking is not a right and under FHA laws I have an equal right to a healthy home. The HOA has been horrible to us, lying, calling me names, etc., even after multiple asthma attacks and hundreds of dollars in medical bills. We ended up filing a FHA complaint against them and are still working with the investigator as of now.

We replaced the bathroom fan and made sure to seal as best as possible both before and after the installation. I also discovered that the roofing company hired by the HOA had cut both bathroom exhausts off (hers and ours) so they were sitting wide open exhausting into the attic, about 2 inches from each other. A smoke test revealed the cigarette smoke was exhausting out of her vent and being sucked right into mine. We hired a company to extend both exhausts out of opposite ends of the gables.

I would recommend replacing the bathroom fans and checking the attic to see if you see any other issues. On days with inclement weather when we know she will never go outside we run the bathroom fan all day. Good luck!!
 
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