Hi everyone, this is my first post here. Please can anyone help suggest things I could do to stop or create a barrier to my neighbours incessant chemically fragranced products entering my home and blocking off my air flow, it’s constantly triggering my chest and pretty much ruined my everyday life. I cannot move else I would. I’ve tried explaining, talking, running hepa filtered vacuums, air purifiers, a fan, cleaning their product odours and smoke away, nothing is helping, they just won’t stop, I can’t get air into and out of my home, and they trigger my chest all the time when I try to have a window open. More than happy for even the “weird and wild” suggestions at this stage, anything to help. Thank you in advance!
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They must use excessive amounts of products etc that it impacts on your home.Usually I would suggest opening windows etc to let fresh air in to eliminate smells, but I dont know what to suggest
Thank you, that’s the thing we would have normally done, and always lived that way, but they’re spraying and doing things to stop our access to that deliberately.
Thats awful. Fingers crossed you can resolve it.
If they are deliberately spraying stuff outside to prevent you opening your window, that has gone beyond inconsiderate behaviour to actual harassment - I would contact Citizens Advice to see what steps you can take to protect yourself.
Thank you. Yes, it’s definitely harassment. I’ve contacted all the official bodies and nothing done so far at all. So been a bit desperate to find a way so that we can just be left alone in our home to get on with life without them having a way of affecting us. Thanks again
Have you tried contacting environmental health in your local council offices? The neighbours are spoiling your quality of life and in fact damaging your health with their actions. You could try the Citizens Advice Bureau and see what they can offer. I get trouble with neighbours cigarette smoke and smouldering bonfires but closing windows and running air filters deals with that. Does the pollution come in through your loft too?
Ahh you’ve experienced something similar too. I’ve sealed everything up, but we have brick vents. We don’t know when their behaviour issues will start up, and by which point it’s too late as it’s already inside our home, it’s what alerts us to it. I’ve contacted the council and necessaries, environmental health said they need to come and witness at the start of it occurring which is basically impossible as we do not know, though said under the environmental health act 1990 section 82 I think it is, it protects us from them not being able to make an immediate attendance to witness. I’m running a Blue Air 211, it’s a 360° air purifier but it doesn’t seem powerful enough to make an immediate barrier for us to not even notice the smell issues, if that makes sense. Would you mind if I ask what air filters you use please? No problem if you can’t. Thank you
Years ago I used to use an air purifier but it broke down and as I had humidity issues I got a dehumidifier with hepa air filter. It’s brilliant, I can feel the air quality improving within a very short time of switching it on. I don’t know if you need a dehumidifier, the one I use is a Meaco 12 litre, low energy model, the hepa filter is good. I really sympathise with your neighbour issues and I hope for your sake the situation improves soon.
Aww thank you so much, that’s so kind. It’s horrible when it happens, it’s unlike anything else. I’ve got an air purifier which I have forgotten the name of, which has light sensor on the front, maybe I need to invest in some more for all the main rooms. I’ll have a look at the brand you have mentioned. Thank you so much.
I’m sorry this is happening and you are poorly because of it. Your neighbours sound like they are incredibly inconsiderate. I would try Environmental Health as someone else suggested. You could always ask for help from you MP. They are very good at helping constituents with problems. You could also find out legally where you stand by speaking to a solicitor, I think you can speak to one through the CAB and get an idea of what’s possible.
Thank you, that’s so kind. I have contacted everyone! Mentioned about the environmental health bit and response from them in my reply above (if you have time to look), but am still in this position. A solicitor advised I can sue for personal injury, but as the immediate life and living it solve anything. Thank you
Your local Council may have a Neighbour mediation service which can provide help with disputes.
I live in a unit with multiple flats, and I have had this issue before. The council did not help (I did write to them): they told me they only help with cooking smells. I do not think speaking with the neighbors will help. Similar issues arise during the BBQ times in the summer.
I have solved the issue by
1- installing silicone and foam weather strips all around the main entrance door, and making sure the door fits well.
2- regularly opening windows in common areas (shared between flats).
3- installing a carbon filtration system in my flat which blows the air into a confined space where I sleep. This way I am at least protected during my sleep.
4- having charcoal-equipped FFP3 masks around the house on standby.
No1 and 2 solved most issues. 4 is a given anyway (I always have masks in my backpack with me)
Ahh some solutions I have not tried before! Thank you so much for this and sorry you have experienced something similar too, it’s miserable isn’t it!?!?1. I have sealed everywhere but maybe I should do it again. Would you be able to recommend any brand of silicone and foam weather strips, please?
2. I absolutely try that all the time and they just go and shut it literally within minutes of it being open or if they see it open at all, just shut it. It was meant to have a window lock fitted to it to stop it being closed, but that never happened. So it has been a never ending pathetic tussle which who has time in their life for. They are not affected by the window in their home, I did ask.
3. Carbon filtration system - this is very interesting, and I was only thinking of carbon filters as a possible options yesterday. Are you able to give me any more info on this or possibly a link to a company or place where these are fitted or installed please, or pieces and parts?
4. I must admit I wear a mask every time I go out, but don’t at home, I must improve myself with this. Thank you
Thank you so much for your advice and tips!
For the entrance door -- you need two types of gaskets. For the perimeter of the door (not the floor) -- where the door presses against the frame -- you use a D-shaped gasket which you stick to the frame. Here is the amazon one I used (it's a very common item)amazon.co.uk/dp/B07D6NZYSD
For the floor-door gap (in my door this was like 1/2" wide....) I used this:
I have hardwood floor in the hallway, and this thing presses down against the floor. After 6 mo of use, it seems to be holding up well. Make sure to wipe the door with some solvent (wear the mask for the odor -- haha), then it sticks pretty well.
For the carbon filtration -- if you want a self-contained purifier, I use this thing by IQAir which has both HEPA and carbon-permanganate filters.
This is enough to control the air in a small bedroom, for example. Ideally, you want to suck the air from one place in the house, and blow it into the bedroom. This way you create a positive pressure, and even if one opens the door temporarily, the odours are pushed out.
IQAir has issues though. In their units, the HEPA filter is placed downstream from the carbon, and the HEPA filter itself emits an odour (the silicone they use to glue the membrane and to make the membrane hydrophobic has an odour... it's quite ironic). The odor dissipates after several weeks of air blowing. The company does not admit there is an issue, but they do accept returns if it's a deal-breaker. Since I like other aspects of IQAir (their units easy to rig to blow the air into a 200mm flexible duct), I put another self-contained carbon cartridge downstream from their HEPA box, and it solves the odor issue.
Self-contained carbon filters are available in different sizes from companies that sell greenhouse supplies. They are usually barrel-shaped. One wraps a carbon filter with a sleeve foam (most carbon filters come with a sleeve); this ensures that carbon particles are not shed into the air flow. I tested the air downstream from carbon filters usinga particle counter , and there were zero detectable particles shed.
Here is a good brand of carbon filters. One lasts for up to a year.
Airflow above 250m3 per hr is sufficient, if you only want to control a confined space, like a small bedroom (the air filter consumes about 100W). If you want to control an entire house-flat it gets more difficult (energy wise etc).
Sorry for the long response
Don’t apologise, that was great! Thank you so much, I’ll have a look at everything and see what’s what about more I can do my end. Thank you again
Hi, I sympathise as I have an intolerance/ react to perfumes scent etc. Our neighbour, who is lovely, caring and kind, uses scented washing powder and 'dryer freshners' which wash over our fence a few feet away.
All I can do is stay out of the garden when they are used, close windows and use hepa filters indoors. Some are better at removing fragrances than others.
Deliberately using sprays seems to be very passive aggressive.
As far as environmental health concerns all I know is that you need to keep a diary when you know of events. Canada have a good fragrance environmental policy, but it doesn't seem to be recognised in the UK.
I would add ditto to problems of smoke - cigarette and bonfires - plus BBQ's and wood burners. Air pollution in this country needs better controls, especially with increase of people with asthma.
Sorry you are experiencing it as well. Your neighbours are just as frightful as mine it seems. I find it really odd when someone knows something is harming someone else that they carry on doing it regardless without any agreement to adjustments. It’s horrifying these things are sold when a large number of people are actually affected by them anyway. What a world we live in.
The problem I have is not getting enough air exchange inside my home already because of them, and it’s really putting a strain on my body so need to air. We used to live fully ventilated with no issues at all, and because of them and just not knowing when they’re going to act. For us it’s not just laundry products, they do spray outside deliberately to affect our home with anything from deodorants to air fresheners, pouring out cleaning chemicals, cigarette smoke, cannabis, smoke from whatever they’re burning, overt food smells (not normal cooking). It’s all really disgusting behaviour actually. Would you mind recommended what Hepa filters, please? No problem if you can’t. Thank you so much.
It sounds like you need a decent size charcoal filter (bigger than what I suggested). I would allocate one small room (if you have one?) as an "intake/ante room" (ante is the term they use in cleanroom design for nanofabrication, like a buffer room I guess). That room should have a small window to the outside which can be cracked open to let in "fresh" outside air (with all the odors, if any). The room should also have a radiator to warm up the incoming air. The window does not have to be wide open, it's just to allow the air to be sucked in. You place the air filter (HEPA and charcoal) in that ante/buffer room and run the duct with the filtered air through the door (or a hole in the wall if you own the place). The door to the buffer room does not have to have gaskets, since the filter blower creates negative pressure in it. The filter is always on, but you can adjust the flow if it's too cold outside (so that your radiator can keep up). I also place a standalone AC in the buffer room in case it's hot outdoors (not an issue in the UK though), and a humidifier for the winter months.
I can post pictures if you want; the design I described is what I have.
Ohh, that makes sense. I do have a small room I can do that with. Happy to see pics if you’re able to, just so that what I am picturing in my mind from what you have described is correct. I think I need to make two. As I have to isolate all rooms off currently, and we have a really long hallway inside our place with rooms off it, so it divides the place in half. If I do that to each half, so to speak, I just need to think of a suitable small space for my front door end, which is the trickiest bit. Thank you
Owning the place helps (easier to make changes). I rent my flat, so had to implement the ducting and door bypasses w/o drilling any new holes and w/o removing any doors. I will take pix when I am at home tonight, and post here.
Having false ceilings to hide all the duct work (or having tall ceilings) would greatly help, but somehow it's not common in residential housing. I guess people do not deserve clean fresh air at home... only at work (sometimes).
I know, I find it really weird. We never had this issue here before and lived fully ventilated. We could smell all the seasons, the wet and dry earth and grass immediately outside our windows, the odd waft of onion or waft of food but it was gone in seconds, right now, I can’t even have my window or vents open with a 1mm gap for the product odour.
Here are some pictures I took. A good supplier of ventilation products (ducts, adapters, clamps etc) is i-sells.co.uk. They also sell through amazon. Their web site looks a bit random, but they are really good.
The idea is that you create positive pressure in your flat by sucking it the air through the window in the ante room and passing it through the filters. This way even if there are 1 mm gaps elsewhere, the unwanted air will be pushed out. This is how clean room microfabrication laboratories work (well, these labs look much more professional, but also cost £1 mln per room). If you can have a false ceiling, you can make it look quite professional, with grills etc, but this of course will cost a lot.
Thank you so much for the pics. It makes sense seeing it. Literally isolating a room, letting in “normal” air, filter, and direct the flow for where you need the “purified” air to go. I have seen similar window board(plastic) coverings for air con for open windows - triangular plastic covering with designated hole for a hose/duct, which connects to air machine and then clean air in the home.
I’ve got the advantage/disadvantage of what are called gas vents (small round slatted vents) already installed in my windows, could I duct from window vent to purifier air in, directly, and then free flow through the purifier that way? The room I was thinking won’t work as it has a brick vent which I can’t access internally as it is behind a cavity wall and feeding in somewhere behind inaccessible bits. My second thought, in the mean time, which I’ve had for a while, literally sealing a hepa/charcoal filter directly over the open window vent (we have naturally fast flowing air flow here) to see how much that will filter - crazy or worth a try?
>>>could I duct from window vent to purifier air in
I was initially considering it (and this is what biotech and chemistry plants do), but later realized that this would require a separate heating system which is quite energy-hungry (heating air at 350 m3 per hr in the winter, or cooling it in the summer is quite costly). In reality, you do not need air exchanges in the flat at that rate (humans breathe at <10 m3 per hr). Thus, the vents can let air in at a "natural" ventilation rate due to the negative pressure from the filter, and the rest is sucked back in from the rest of the flat. This way you can heat the air with the radiators in the room. I know it's a bit confusing, I only realized this by trial and error.
No, it’s great, thank you. From the system you’ve designed I am trying to visually work out how that could be replicated in my home and the problem is not having that useable small space, as the room I thought would work, won’t, unfortunately. I’m going to keep thinking the idea through until I can visualise a working plan from your design, to keep the principals, but that will work in my home layout. It will come to me in time. Thank you for your help.
Just remembered -- one can put a heat-recovery vent to preserve the heat, if you want to suck the air directly from the outside w/o the buffer room. I haven't tried this yet though.
Ohh, interesting! I googled more on the positive pressure room last night looking at plans/layout images. I could create it for a bedroom(s) alone, but I am really looking for something to cover the whole internal property for which work will need to be done on the property to achieve the desired outcome, which isn’t viable at the moment. I’ll have a look at the heat recovery vent. Thank you
even if you manage to control the bedroom, alone it's already 8+ hrs per day. There is a good chance it may help, and then you can expand further.
Hi Tubie22, I am afraid I have nothing to add to what is already suggested in different posts above. But I must say I was annoyed the other day when I received an email about campaigning by Asthma+Lung against air pollution, with only focus on traffic I think. As I have far more issues with indoor air pollution than I generally have outside, I felt this was really poor. Your situation is a case in point. MUCH more information to the general public is needed about this. While I do find all sorts of chemical smells often unbpleasant and sometimes difficult, I am not as sensitive as you, but I do react on cooking smells and candles, both non-scented ones and scented.For me it is generally anything that burns. That can include someone making toast. Reading your post encourages to follow trough with what I already want to do, that is to contact somehow the campaign team to say they need to widen their criteria of pollution. So thank you for that.
Oh, I’m sorry you are affected by the pollutants too, you’re so welcome. Any and very story shared goes to show how big the problem actually is. I think they focus on traffic pollution as it is quantifiable and not the same level of work has gone in to indoor aerosol pollution, yet, though the research is happening and data coming out all the time, but it’s a new area they are looking in to, a bit too slow, stupidly. york.ac.uk/news-and-events/...
I’m with a chemical sensitivity group online elsewhere and there are a vast array of people who are suffering, with no answers, and or left to find out what works for them. If only we were listened to and left to fix the whole world, we might have a descent planet and liveable life! Unfortunately, the top 5/6 global corporations like Procter and Gamble etc… want to line the pockets of their shareholders using petrochemical substances, which does not come without harm, so we are left suffering on the ground, so to speak. Do raise your concerns. The more of us that shout about it, hopefully, the more help we will get or at least draw attention to what needs to change. As I always say, we share the air! We have a right to breathe without harm as much as the person(s) causing it. Thank you so much for your input though, and sorry again you suffer too, it’s horrible.
Hi Tubie! I don’t know if it has been suggested elsewhere but it occurred to me that possibly switching your cooker hood on to maximum, when the pollution occurs, might help with the problem - they usually have a carbon filter. Hopefully it might be a simple answer.
Ohh, I hadn’t thought to try that to add in to help. It will barely touch the issues alone, but as something to the mix of things to do, that is something I can try. Thank you so much for the suggestion!