smoke from neighboring condo coming in on AC

A number of weeks ago, a new tenant moved into the condo directly next to my mother's condo, at which time the strong odor of cigarette smoke began to waft in whenever the air conditioning comes on. It doesn't appear to be coming through the walls, as the odor very distinctly comes in through the ducts.
My mother, who has asthma, had someone look at her unit (on the roof) on a preliminary basis. The guy went up on the roof and said that everything looks "normal" and that her uptake of air is at least 15 feet away from that of the neighboring unit. He said he couldn't see any reason why it would be happening. I'm assuming the ventilation system and ducts of each unit are completely independent, though I'm not sure. (the property management contracted by the Homeowner's Association was no help).
Is it possible for there to be a leak in the ducts of my Mom's system that could draw smoke from the ducts of, or directly from, the neighboring unit? How difficult is it to determine whether this is what's happening?
Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated by someone who's a complete novice when it comes to this stuff! Thanks!
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1. I thought you said the "guy" didn't see any reason why it would be happening?
2. He could see it better than we can.
3. Why would you want a "complete novice" to give you help and advice? Why are you opposed to hiring a professional to inspect the system and make recommendations and repairs? (Do you hate Mom that much?)
4. Mom needs to call one of the other kids--preferably one who loves her and cares about her well-being and problems.
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15 feet is nothing compared to cigarette smoke. I can smell em at 100 feet on a calm day. Obviously, the management isn't treating this seriously. So, you're going to have to be more creative, or more insistent on getting the problem resolved.
I have a lot of sympathy, I've suffered allergies all my life.
Yes, a duct leak is possible. Someone would have to actually be there to trace the various ducts. But it is very possible. Either that, or a duct that is run to the wrong side of the wall. The once or twice I've tried to trace ducts, I've used two men, walkie talkies, and gone around yelling into or banging on ducts to see if they could be heard at the other end. It isn't dignified, but it works.
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Christopher A. Young
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Thanks, I really appreciate your response! My Mom's first instinct is to just move, but I'm hoping a less burdensome solution is possible, with moving as a last resort.
Best Wishes, SerenaK
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I lived one time in a place where the neighbors ducts went through my bathroom. Not a bad thing, cause even when my heat was off, the bathroom was nice and comfortable. But, they were smokers. And I am not. So, it was an issue. fairly minor one, but still.....
I'm not sure why an AC has an air intake, unless it's designed to keep fresh air coming in. The condensing unit should have air flow, but that's only to blow off the heat.
Very possible a duct goes to the wrong side of the wall. But that will take some tracing and some labor. Which the management doesn't want to pay for.
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Christopher A. Young
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Residential systems typically recirculate the same conditioned air and do not draw in any fresh air at all.
Replacing the filter with one of the specialized types may help.
Check for air leaks. Something like a supply air leaking to the outside would cause unconditioned air to be drawn in to replace it from somewhere.
Something like exhaust fan air leaking or venting into a common attic maybe. If you stick your head up in the attic space and the air smells smokey or is humid for instance.
GL Dan
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not draw in

maybe.
Thank you for your response! We are going to be looking into the status of exhaust fans, hopefully for both units.
Best Wishes, SerenaK
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SerenaK posted for all of us... I don't top post - see either inline or at bottom.

Advise her to get some cigars. If that doesn't work pipe tobacco: I prefer the cherry...
--
Tekkie

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Further to the cigarette smoke coming in through the AC system (possibly through leaking ducts), does anyone have any thoughts on whether duct sealing using an aerosol sealant would be of any help?
Thanks!

my
that
be
unit?
complete
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