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Help~ Smell coming out of vents from my neighbor - Townhouse

  • Last Updated:
  • May 28th, 2019 12:58 pm
[OP]
Newbie
Sep 26, 2011
5 posts
NORTH YORK

Help~ Smell coming out of vents from my neighbor - Townhouse

Hi,

We live in a townhouse. Our new neighbor really likes using air diffusers that spread very very strong odor. Somehow and someway, the odor got into my house through vents. But not just vents, I think the smell also came out of the staircase and a cabinet in the bathroom that is near to the staircase. It doesn't happen all the time. What happened was that our vents could suddenly blow out the odor and kept having it for many hours but, sometimes, only lasted for 20, 30 mins. It was very random. It seems like it was because my neighbor turned on his exhaust fan, or something like that. It is really really annoying when my house is full of smell coming from somewhere else and totally out of my control.

I've tried to reach out to a few HVAC contractors but they said they wouldn't be able to do anything with it because they are just selling AC or heating system... Does anyone know what kind of experts can actually fix this problem?

Thank you so much!
17 replies
Member
User avatar
Oct 2, 2018
409 posts
274 upvotes
Toronto
Apart from sealing your townhouse there isn't much of anything you can do, perhaps some air fresheners.
Deal Fanatic
May 1, 2012
9687 posts
9157 upvotes
Markham
Well you have 3 options:

1. Talk to neighbour and see if they'll stop using whatever it is they're using.
2. Move to a detached.
3. Hire someone to completely airproof that party wall. This may be costly.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Feb 11, 2007
15695 posts
16857 upvotes
Oakville
Tell your neighbour that you or your kids have a chemical sensitivity and it's worse when they use those sprays.
Last edited by engineered on May 24th, 2019 4:33 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Sr. Member
Oct 3, 2011
583 posts
376 upvotes
OTTAWA
don't lie to them.... geez... they're probably not even aware it's leaking through. Just politely bring it up in conversation and say there's some smells leaking through the party wall and if they'll adjust whatever it is they're using. The only other option if both of you stay is to tear down the wall and completely air seal it.

Here's the concern though, the party wall is supposed to be a fire/vapor stop I thought? If smells get through so can smoke and fire.
Deal Addict
Nov 17, 2012
3172 posts
2139 upvotes
Toronto
They may have their exhaust fan blowing into attic space or disconnected somewhere. You're doing them a major favor by alerting them to this, as they're likely blowing moist air into walls and attics which will turn into mold.
Deal Expert
Feb 7, 2017
15515 posts
12723 upvotes
Eastern Ontario
Ah yes the joys of living in ATTACHED dwellings
(Townhouses, Condos, Apartment Buildings)
Would be hard for me to ever go back to all that

Honestly, short of moving to a detached house
I have learned there is little you can do about neighbours
Be it smells, noise, their junk, kids, or cars

Common walls, driveways, yards etc
Make for less than ideal living conditions

Ya want things 100% as you like them to be
Then you gotta get a place that is 100% your own
Last edited by PointsHubby on May 25th, 2019 7:56 am, edited 1 time in total.
Deal Guru
User avatar
Mar 9, 2007
13781 posts
8825 upvotes
Think of the Childre…
Buy Air Purifier.

WOULD SOMEBODY THINK OF THE CHILDREN!!!
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Oct 19, 2008
6581 posts
2152 upvotes
GTA
torontotim wrote: They may have their exhaust fan blowing into attic space or disconnected somewhere. You're doing them a major favor by alerting them to this, as they're likely blowing moist air into walls and attics which will turn into mold.
"It seems like it was because my neighbor turned on his exhaust fan, or something like that."

Talk with your neighbour about the issue, he should be willing to work with you to identify the cause. On a day with no odor present have him use air diffusers for a few hours....then run kitchen exhaust fan for 15 minutes.
Don't rush this....wait a few hours before he tries washroom exhaust fan, another washroom exhaust fan or whole home/HVR etc
Probably a disconnected exhaust duct, if the neighbour has upgraded anything look at that first.
Deal Addict
Jan 19, 2008
1316 posts
906 upvotes
Etobicoke
TTACT has one post in 8 years..... suspicious. Also the wording "smells coming out of vents"...do you mean your own HVAC vents? then it may be coming from your unit. Now if it is coming from the wall separation your two units, then get a contractor to isolate it, take the drywall down, inspect the wall, look for cracks and repair. if outside air is coming in from your neighbours, then you might have a air pressurization issue. Do you have exhaust fan on all the time? then you home would be sucking air in from your neighbours. Get it fixed, it will still be cheaper than moving.
Deal Fanatic
User avatar
Oct 15, 2007
5154 posts
2576 upvotes
xxxray wrote: TTACT has one post in 8 years..... suspicious. Also the wording "smells coming out of vents"...do you mean your own HVAC vents? then it may be coming from your unit. Now if it is coming from the wall separation your two units, then get a contractor to isolate it, take the drywall down, inspect the wall, look for cracks and repair. if outside air is coming in from your neighbours, then you might have a air pressurization issue. Do you have exhaust fan on all the time? then you home would be sucking air in from your neighbours. Get it fixed, it will still be cheaper than moving.
Lol very suspicious. Waited 8 years to troll
Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again. - Andre Gide
[OP]
Newbie
Sep 26, 2011
5 posts
NORTH YORK
I did talk to him but he literally just used those plugin air refreshener. I didn't ask him not to use it since I feel this is his right to do so in his own property...Because the odor came out of my vents so I am just afraid that the smell will be still exchanged inside the walls and sneaking into my duct even if I seal the wall completely in my house...
[OP]
Newbie
Sep 26, 2011
5 posts
NORTH YORK
xxxray wrote: TTACT has one post in 8 years..... suspicious. Also the wording "smells coming out of vents"...do you mean your own HVAC vents? then it may be coming from your unit. Now if it is coming from the wall separation your two units, then get a contractor to isolate it, take the drywall down, inspect the wall, look for cracks and repair. if outside air is coming in from your neighbours, then you might have a air pressurization issue. Do you have exhaust fan on all the time? then you home would be sucking air in from your neighbours. Get it fixed, it will still be cheaper than moving.
Lol, I thought this was a common thing that ppl just surf without posting anything.

I think it is partially due to air pressurization issue..The wall vents in my bedroom blew out the smell, which supposed to only intake airs, in my bedroom last night while my heating/AC were completely off. So I turned on the fans trying to balance the air pressure.. and, it actually worked so the smell was gone after.

I don't know how the smell got into my duct since I know the duct or ventilation system should be completely separated between the two houses...If the air was exchanged inside the wall, will fixing the cracks on the wall resolve the issue?
Deal Addict
Jan 19, 2008
1316 posts
906 upvotes
Etobicoke
TTACCT wrote: Lol, I thought this was a common thing that ppl just surf without posting anything.

It is called a forum....an exchange of ideas and opinions , back and forth
Deal Addict
Feb 4, 2010
4177 posts
2957 upvotes
PointsHubby wrote: Ah yes the joys of living in ATTACHED dwellings
(Townhouses, Condos, Apartment Buildings)
Would be hard for me to ever go back to all that

Honestly, short of moving to a detached house
I have learned there is little you can do about neighbours
Be it smells, noise, their junk, kids, or cars

Common walls, driveways, yards etc
Make for less than ideal living conditions

Ya want things 100% as you like them to be
Then you gotta get a place that is 100% your own
Even then that's not always the case though lol....you can hear, see and smell plenty in detached homes too...all depends on the individual neighbour.
Sr. Member
Oct 3, 2011
583 posts
376 upvotes
OTTAWA
hierophant wrote: Even then that's not always the case though lol....you can hear, see and smell plenty in detached homes too...all depends on the individual neighbour.
Oh so true. My house is so close to my neighbor's that I can heard their kids stomping around. I think there's only 5 or 6 feet separating the houses on our street. Whatever the minimum is, it's probably riding it.

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