Air ducts and vents can distribute secondhand smoke throughout a home and from one apartment to another in a building. Cigarette smoke is associated with many health problems, including lung cancer. It may produce an odor and leave behind yellow stains on walls and brownish residue on curtains and drapes. No matter how much deodorizer your spray or vacuuming and cleaning you do, it won’t reach everywhere. Continue reading to learn how to stop cigarette smoke from coming through vents in the first place.
To start, it helps to clean the nicotine residue off vents. You’ll need to remove each vent from its fitting and place it in a well-ventilated area. Choose your cleaning solution; mild dish soap will often do (if using a chemical cleaner, wear gloves and safety goggles). Avoid abrasive tools; instead, use a soft cloth or sponge to wipe down the vent. You can clean the slats with a narrow soft brush.
Filters with activated charcoal are designed to fit inside vents. Depending on the product, it can trap dirt, dust, and pollen as well as prevent objects from falling into air ducts. One type of vent filter uses a self-charging electrostatic material to attract pollutants. Smoke and other particles become trapped and only filtered, smoke-free air enters your home.
Cigarette smoke can also drift in through gaps around air vents, air conditioners, and heaters. This smoke often bypasses any filters. To use insulation padding, tuck it into any gaps and lay it over the surrounding surface; then secure it with painter’s tape. Placing padding and tape isn’t an infrastructure change so won’t violate your lease agreement. But first, talk to your landlord to see if they have a better way to seal gaps.
Cigarette smoke is most likely not limited to the vent surface. The chemicals in cigarette smoke can reach remote areas of air ducts. Air duct cleaning helps whether you have a persistent smoke problem, are a smoker, or moving into a home where there were smokers. An HVAC professional is equipped with equipment and cleaning products that can reach where other solutions can’t and effectively break down smoke molecules.
Various types of cleaners can work. But you don’t have to use a chemical cleaner. You can wipe the vent down with plain vinegar or a mix of 1 tablespoon of ammonia in 1 cup of water. If this doesn’t work, mix 1 part bleach into 4 parts warm water and soak the vent for a few hours before rinsing it. Let the vent cover dry and reinstall it.
Knowing how to stop cigarette smoke from coming through vents won’t always eliminate a smoke problem. Consider other sources as well, and take action to prevent smoke from continuing to get in. Here are some solutions:
NexGen can address air quality issues with a range of options. If cigarette smoke, mold, volatile organic compounds, carbon monoxide, or other pollutants are found in your home, we will help make air quality improvements. Air purification and filtration systems can be installed or we can help improve ventilation (duct cleaning, installing dehumidifiers, and furnace repair can help as well).
To learn more about our indoor air quality services in Southern California and request service, call 833-729-9735 today.