Neighbors Smell Coming Through Vent: Causes & Fixes

Neighbors Smell Coming Through Vent: Causes & Fixes

Living close to your neighbors can indeed have its advantages, i.e., great social interaction, support, and more security. However, it also comes with disadvantages.

One of the disadvantages is that you may have to deal with unpleasant smells coming in through your vent from your neighbor’s apartment.

Although this isn’t a frequent topic to discuss, a lot of people are in this situation and unfortunately are unaware of what to do. Does this sound like a situation you’re in? In this article, we’ll be discussing causes and how you can get rid of this unwanted smell coming from your neighbor’s place. Stay with us!

Are Apartment Vents Connected? 

Before finding out how to get rid of this smell, you must understand why you can perceive an unpleasant smell from your neighbors in your apartment. Yes, most complex apartments have connected air vents as they are all connected to the same ventilation system or shaft.

However, it is often recommended that the air vents be separated using dampers so that the air from the different apartments does not enter into one another. But, not all houses use dampers. 

Causes Of Neighbor’s Smells Coming Through Vent 

Causes Of Neighbor’s Smells Coming Through Vent 
Image: @pronovaproducts // Instagram

Here are some of the causes of the smell coming from your neighbor’s vent.

1. Connected Ventilation System

This is one of the primary reasons smells come into your apartment from your neighbor’s vents. In some buildings, mostly complex apartments or condominiums, the ventilation system is often connected or in other cases may not be properly insulated.

As a result, the airflow from your neighbor’s apartment may come into yours, this will permit odors from one unit or apartment to another.

2. Pet Odors

Pet’s smell can move from one place to another. If your neighbors have pets, especially ones with furs and distinctive body odor, you may perceive this smell in your apartment more often because this smell can get into the ventilation system and then into your home.

The danders and fur of these pets may also be the reason you can perceive them in your home. 

3. Tobacco Smoke

Tobacco or cigarette smell can travel through apartments. If your neighbor smokes any of these, then there may be a chance that these seep through the ventilation ducts, cracks, or any opening between your home and come into your apartment.

4. Plumbing Problems

In some scenarios, unpleasant smells may not come directly from your neighbor’s vent but from a shared plumbing pipe. The unwanted smell coming into your apartment may result from a sewer gas leakage or a faulty plumbing system.  

5. Cooking Odors

Cooking with certain ingredients or spices can lead to an unpleasant smell in a neighbor’s apartment. Strong cooking ingredients such as onion, garlic, or even fried food can move from one apartment to another and linger on there. This may happen if the house lacks proper ventilation. 

Fixes For Neighbor’s Smell Coming Through Vents

1. Inform Your Neighbor

Communication is the first step we suggest you take, especially considering that this relates to another human. Ensure you politely discuss the matter with your neighbor and together, see if you can get a lasting solution to it.

In some cases, they may not be aware of the problem and may be willing to take steps to stop the unpleasant smell. You can also together agree to notify the house management to inform them of the problem. 

2. Check The HVAC System

While some HVAC systems have fresh air intakes, some others have provisions to replace exhausted air. You may want to find out if your HVAC system brings in air, how it does so, and if the air that comes in is filtered this information will help you decide on what to do next.

If you are unaware of how to check the HVAC system, then we recommend that you hire a professional who can give you the information you need. 

3. Use Air Purifier

An air purifier is such a great way to get rid of unpleasant odors and enjoy a pleasant smell in your home. We recommend that you invest in an excellent air purifier to improve the air quality in your home.

You should look for models that come with activated carbon filters, as this is specifically designed to get rid of odors and volatile organic compounds. 

4. Air seal Your Home

You should take out time to inspect your vent and other parts of your home to check for leaks, gaps, and spaces where these odors can come in from. You may consider using weatherstripping or sealants to close the openings.

Other areas of the home you should air seal may include baseboards, openings on shared or exterior walls, holes around electrical appliances, holes in dry walls, doors, windows, etc. 

5. Install Vent Filters

If you are certain the smell only comes in from your vent, installing a vent filter is an excellent way to prevent this odor. They can effectively capture and neutralize odors thereby preventing them from coming into your apartment. You may consider purchasing activated carbon or HEPA filters as these can be easily installed in the vents. 

6. Give More Room For Ventilation

While this may not completely guarantee the removal of the odors coming into your space, it can help reduce its impact. Ensure that all openings i.e., windows and doors are adequately sealed, you may also consider using an exhaust fan in your bathroom and kitchen, this will redirect the odor outside.

7. Seek Professional Help

Having tried all the possible solutions, if this problem persists, we recommend that you consult with a professional i.e., an HVAC technician, or call the attention of the building manager. They can access and give more knowledgeable information on where the problem is and what you can do to eliminate the odor. 

Final Thoughts 

Although dealing with odors from neighbors’ apartments/units/houses can be annoying, it is not unsolvable. You can still get back control over the air quality in your home. You can do this by identifying the factors that may have led to the odors coming into your home, and solving them by putting the recommended solutions above into practice.

Remember that you first thing you should do is speak to the said neighbor, this can also make them take action to stop the smell from coming into your home. 

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