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Old 04-12-2011, 02:31 PM
 
2,882 posts, read 2,868,554 times
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Default How to get smoke smell out of central air/heat ducts?

I'm moving into a rental house that has an unbelievable smell of smoke inside. Walls stained, the whole deal. They are replacing the carpets, and I'm going to prime the interior myself with the BIN primer (that they allowed me to do it myself is the only reason I decided to take the house). But - I don't know how to make sure the smoke smell doesn't shoot back out whenever I have the AC or heat on. Neither was on when I went to look at it.

I'll change the filter and clean the vents...stick the swifter duster in there...but I'm worried that the smoke smell is within the unit itself (I read something about it collecting on coils?). As this is a rental, I'd rather not pay for a professional cleaning, and I'm not sure I can convince the owner to do this if it costs a lot. Whatever I can do myself I'd like to do!

Anything I can spray in the intake vent that will really do it? Thanks! Worried about my dog breathing that in (not so much me...I'm a smoker, lol, but NEVER inside and am trying to quit...)
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Old 04-12-2011, 07:04 PM
 
Location: Boston Suburb
1,238 posts, read 1,623,189 times
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I live in an in-law unit of my landlord's house so the HVAC serves the entire house. He burnt something bad once and the horrid smell spread throughout the house. He didn't turn off the heat when it happened. All I could do was run my tiny exhaust fan and kept windows open. Still, the smell only lasted 2-3 days.

If you're talking about someone having smoked (cigarettes) in the house for a long time, then good luck.... you never know where the smoke smell will come from as it has penetrated everything imaginable.
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Old 04-13-2011, 08:07 AM
 
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Yup, cigarettes...I'm just concerned it's in the mechanism of the unit - the rest I can handle!
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Old 04-13-2011, 09:33 AM
 
Location: Johns Creek, GA
6,321 posts, read 18,881,290 times
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An ozone emitter
or these plants-
TOP 10 plants most effective in removing:
Formaldehyde, Benzene, and Carbon Monoxide from the air
■Bamboo Palm – Chamaedorea Seifritzii
■Chinese Evergreen - Aglaonema Modestum
■English Ivy Hedera Helix
■Gerbera Daisy Gerbera Jamesonii
■Janet Craig - Dracaena “Janet Craig”
■Marginata - Dracaena Marginata
■Mass cane/Corn Plant - Dracaena Massangeana
■Mother-in-Law’s Tongue Sansevieria Laurentii
■Pot Mum – Chrysantheium morifolium
■Peace Lily - Spathiphyllum
■Warneckii - Dracaena “Warneckii”
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Old 04-13-2011, 02:07 PM
QIS
 
Location: Redlands, CA
597 posts, read 1,436,902 times
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Right NorasMom,
It's in the AC evaporator coil( if present), in the windings of the blower fan, on the blower fan, all around the heat exchanger, the plenums, the grille boots, and of course, the ducts. The components you are rightly concerned about can be removed and clean and the ducts can be replaced. Where it is not possible to replace, they can clean as best they can and treat. Insurance restoration companies do this all the time. I'm sorry for the trouble and expense though...please let us know what happens!
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Old 04-15-2011, 08:31 PM
 
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Thanks - ugh, I'm so worried about this. I hope I didn't make a huge mistake in taking this rental. Thanks so much for your advice!
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Old 04-16-2011, 07:36 PM
 
Location: Floribama
8,555 posts, read 14,819,764 times
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I agree with Kledge on the ozone generator, I bought one off eBay for around $140. Set the ac blower to 'on', then turn on the ozone machine for about 1.5 hours. Stay out while it's on, and remove pets and houseplants. The whole place will smell fresh like outdoor dried linen when you return.
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Old 05-01-2011, 07:45 AM
 
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Just wanted to update this thread - so far, so good! I used Zissner BIN shellac primer in the living room and dining room - that stuff seals in EVERYTHING. Did the ceilings too. The fumes are not fun. I changed the air filter to a pricey yet effective one, lasts 3 months so not all that much more expensive. The carpets in most rooms were changed. Opened windows to allow air circulation. I still have 1/2 the house to paint (am unpacking) but it's significantly better, and I think when I prime/paint the rest it'll be completely gone.

I wanted to post again in case this helps anyone. The air filter worked so fast that within hours I noticed a difference. I'd still like to have that AC unit cleaned but I don't see the property owner paying for it, so I'm going to try everything else first.
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Old 05-01-2011, 08:40 AM
 
Location: Seaford, Delaware
3,338 posts, read 9,456,429 times
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Thanks for the update. It helps to know something worked.
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Old 11-30-2011, 04:08 PM
 
2,882 posts, read 2,868,554 times
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Another update - smoke smell completely removed from the inside of the house, to my shock. I ended up having a mold issue that will probably cause me to leave when it gets hot again ... the smoke smell was so bad at first I didn't smell any mold/mildew...but regardless, it really is possible to eliminate it!
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