Help with smoky condo sought

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Thrifty1
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Joined: Tue Nov 12, 2013 9:15 am

Help with smoky condo sought

Post by Thrifty1 »

We moved into a condo that reeks of cigarette smoke. Airing it out this spring has helped temporarily, but the smell returns once windows are closed. The condo does appear to have been painted and cleaned before we moved in. There is a lot of wall-to-wall carpeting that looks fairly clean but may be the source. Has anyone had experience with removal of cigarette odor?
Herekittykitty
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Re: Help with smoky condo sought

Post by Herekittykitty »

I would move out again as soon as I could.

I think I am too new here to be able to post a hyperlink - so here are directions to one: Google third hand smoke and the first link that comes up is to a Mayo Clinic article titled "What is thirdhand smoke, and why is it a concern?" by Lowell Dale, M.D.
I don't know anything.
Rich in Michigan
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Re: Help with smoky condo sought

Post by Rich in Michigan »

There are companies that deal with this sort of thing...cleaning up after floods or fires...and they might have some good suggestions for you on removal of smoke smell.

I would guess, at minimum, that all the carpeting and underlayment would have to be replaced and the walls painted again but you never know. The disaster cleanup guys might be able to get the smell out of the carpet.

Did you not notice the smell when you were looking at the condo or did open windows mask the problem?
rixer
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Re: Help with smoky condo sought

Post by rixer »

See if you can rent an ozone generator at a rental yard. I think you have to run it for a couple of days and you can't be in the unit while it's running. Maybe you could take a weekend trip somewhere while it's working. It burns up the smoke odor through oxidation. You'll probably want the fan circulating in your central air unit so it can get into the vents also.
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danwhite77
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Re: Help with smoky condo sought

Post by danwhite77 »

Thrifty1 wrote:We moved into a condo that reeks of cigarette smoke. Airing it out this spring has helped temporarily, but the smell returns once windows are closed. The condo does appear to have been painted and cleaned before we moved in. There is a lot of wall-to-wall carpeting that looks fairly clean but may be the source. Has anyone had experience with removal of cigarette odor?
I've been through this process twice. In fact, I'm currently rehabbing a home that the original owners smoked in for about 45 years. Airing things out is only a temporary solution. In my experience, you basically have to clean, coat, or replace all of the surfaces. For the walls, I would repaint them using Killz Max as the primer under the paint. This brand is specifically engineered to block odor. It works well. Also prime and paint the ceiling.

Cloth really absorbs odors. If there are any left over window treatments, replace them. Regarding carpet, if you clean the carpet multiple times that will help (we've cleaned ours three times). Eventually, you should replace it. Wipe down the cabinetry in the kitchen and any other surface using water. Some surfaces are tricky. For instance, we have a brick fireplace. The brick has absorbed a lot of smoke over the years to the point where I'm going to need to paint it to seal in the smell (normally I would never paint brick).

That's about it. It's a pain and takes awhile but it can be done.

http://www.kilz.com/primer/v/index.jsp? ... 6310acRCRD
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telemark
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Re: Help with smoky condo sought

Post by telemark »

I've had good results with an ozone generator, but I suspect my situation was less severe than yours. If you try this I'd suggest treating one room at a time. Run the generator on full for an hour or two and then let the room air out completely. Rinse and repeat as necessary...

Cigarette smoke produces tars that settle everywhere, walls, floors, ceilings, any exposed surface, so scrubbing everywhere is also advisable.
placeholder
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Re: Help with smoky condo sought

Post by placeholder »

Is this a rental or did you buy it?
Topic Author
Thrifty1
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Re: Help with smoky condo sought

Post by Thrifty1 »

Danwhite77: thanks for the advice. It makes a lot of sense. I had planned on eventually replacing the carpet with engineered wood. I guess I will be doing it sooner than I thought. I will prime the walls with the smell-killer paint.
danwhite77 wrote:
Thrifty1 wrote:We moved into a condo that reeks of cigarette smoke. Airing it out this spring has helped temporarily, but the smell returns once windows are closed. The condo does appear to have been painted and cleaned before we moved in. There is a lot of wall-to-wall carpeting that looks fairly clean but may be the source. Has anyone had experience with removal of cigarette odor?
I've been through this process twice. In fact, I'm currently rehabbing a home that the original owners smoked in for about 45 years. Airing things out is only a temporary solution. In my experience, you basically have to clean, coat, or replace all of the surfaces. For the walls, I would repaint them using Killz Max as the primer under the paint. This brand is specifically engineered to block odor. It works well. Also prime and paint the ceiling.

Cloth really absorbs odors. If there are any left over window treatments, replace them. Regarding carpet, if you clean the carpet multiple times that will help (we've cleaned ours three times). Eventually, you should replace it. Wipe down the cabinetry in the kitchen and any other surface using water. Some surfaces are tricky. For instance, we have a brick fireplace. The brick has absorbed a lot of smoke over the years to the point where I'm going to need to paint it to seal in the smell (normally I would never paint brick).

That's about it. It's a pain and takes awhile but it can be done.

http://www.kilz.com/primer/v/index.jsp? ... 6310acRCRD
texasdiver
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Re: Help with smoky condo sought

Post by texasdiver »

placeholder wrote:Is this a rental or did you buy it?
I recently bought one of these ozone generators.

http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0083UIXLW

The price is reasonable and it works well. For someone in your extreme situation I would think buying one is the way to go. You can use them anywhere. They work well to deodorize cars as well.

But it isn't a magic bullet. You'll still have to deal with all the smoke saturated surfaces. I would think at a minimum you are looking at repainting and new carpets plus tossing out any other cloth surfaces (curtains, furniture, etc.). Also change all the filters in the air conditioning and heating if your unit has central air.
Curlyq
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Ged
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Re: Help with smoky condo sought

Post by Ged »

I once had a home that was previously owned by smokers. It was definitely in need of updating which I kind of like because I could fix it up to my taste rather than someone else's.

After new carpet and a coat of paint it was free of smoke odor as far as I could detect. I used regular latex.
Mudpuppy
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Re: Help with smoky condo sought

Post by Mudpuppy »

Another potential issue is if a neighboring condo dweller is still a smoker and there is air movement between units. I had this issue at one place I rented. You could tell when they lit up by the strength of smoke smell in the bathrooms (the bathrooms were along the shared wall). The owner/landlord didn't care and just kept saying how the carpeting was new and rooms were freshly painted when I moved in. That doesn't help when new smells are creeping in every day through a poorly sealed shared wall.
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telemark
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Re: Help with smoky condo sought

Post by telemark »

Mudpuppy wrote:Another potential issue is if a neighboring condo dweller is still a smoker and there is air movement between units. I had this issue at one place I rented. You could tell when they lit up by the strength of smoke smell in the bathrooms (the bathrooms were along the shared wall). The owner/landlord didn't care and just kept saying how the carpeting was new and rooms were freshly painted when I moved in. That doesn't help when new smells are creeping in every day through a poorly sealed shared wall.
Ozone works for that, too :wink:
bnes
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Re: Help with smoky condo sought

Post by bnes »

For anyone with a chance to get there first:

Scrub the walls mechanically before painting. Do not seal the smoke layers under paint!
ww340
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Re: Help with smoky condo sought

Post by ww340 »

I had great luck with an ozone generator for this problem. It is definitely worth the price to try it before going to the expense to repaint and replace flooring.
lululu
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Re: Help with smoky condo sought

Post by lululu »

bnes wrote:For anyone with a chance to get there first:

Scrub the walls mechanically before painting. Do not seal the smoke layers under paint!
Kilz itself doesn't work? I always heard it was the thing to do.

I would never buy a home lived in by smokers. The amount of work to clean it up and the amount of things that have to be thrown out, the mind boggles.

By the way, I used Kilz to cover a water stain on a ceiling after a roof leak was repaired. It took quite awhile to dry (days?), and when I painted over it, at first I thought there was going to be a problem, because the new paint looked oddly shiny. But it was just taking longer to dry.
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