I have read previous posts on the subject, but not this specific.
I am looking into purchasing a "fixer-upper" home. The current owners
are heavy smokers, and the house reeks of smoke. The house will need
new carpets, and paint. What are my chances of getting all of the
Will I also need to have the heating/air system cleaned out as well?
I just want to know how much additional work beyond carpet and paint
this will be to remove.
Once I bought a cheap, particle-board dresser from a heavy smoker, and I
washed the white melamine exterior, but it still stunk so bad I had to get
rid of it. Assume that every surface is contaminated. Let your offering
price reflect it.
If it has a hot air heating system the air distribution ducts,
vents and piping will probably have to be partially disassembled
and cleaned. Even if it has hot water radiators or even electric
heaters, they are probably filthy from the smoke laden air
circulating through them. I bet the windows are dirty; inside?
Personally I wouldn't touch it!
Cost of 'fixing up' the damage due to smoking? Say a minimum of
100 man-hours (maybe even 200?) at $20 per hour plus cost of
cleaning materials, rent/use of pressure washers etc. plus cost
of some new material that cannot be cleaned and must be replaced.
Say $3000 to $4000 plus a 25% eventuality cost. I'd offer a
reduction in price of say $6000-$7000 and see if they go for it.
Even then you may be into more expense than bargained for!
Two cents from a lifetime non smoker!
I didn't realize the woman I bought a house from smoked because the doors
and windows were open and scented candles burning when I looked at it.
Did not realize yellow walls and ceiling were supposed to be white until I
washed them. I rented a carpet cleaner, but also got a large area rug to
cover cigarette burns in the living room (until I replace carpet). After
trying to clean some of the blinds, I discovered they were only $3-4 each
at Mennards, so started replacing them. Fortunately I have steam heat, so
no gummy ducts.
I usually hate air fresheners, but Renuzit Super Odor Killers helped until
running a window fan for many summer nights aired it out.
I pitty the seller's brother who picked her up in his tractor/trailer to
drive her smoking from Illinois to California via Conneticut.
David Efflandt - All spam ignored http://www.de-srv.com /
http://www.autox.chicago.il.us/ http://www.berniesfloral.net /
Can be done. As others noted, thorough scrubbing of *everything*.
As for painting (after washing), *strongly* advise using a coat
of sealant, such as KILZ, before color coat to avoid bleed-thru
of nicotine stains and residual odors.
You might get some cost estimates from firms which do smoke-damage
I second that. We bought a beautiful house from a smoker about 1 year ago.
It took multiple cleanings of the carpet, walls, windows, blinds, inside and
outside of cupboards, ovens, every nook and cranny, bricks in the fireplace,
and only then we started sealing with KILZ on every painted surface, then
painted over that. I teflon sealed the bathroom tile and KILZed the walls
repeatedly (moisture from the shower really brought out the stink). I
replaced the ceiling fans in the bathrooms, which were entirely coated in a
dark tar, as was the insulation in the attic over the fans. All the windows
were cleaned repeatedly with 409 and still yield a brown gunk to this day.
All the blinds were professionally cleaned with an ultrasonic bath. I
thought they were originally yellow, but they were white underneath all the
nicotine tar. We are going to throw out the ovens and get new ones. The
refrigerator had brown goo all through the ice dispenser canals, so we are
throwing that out also (way too hard to get inside and clean). After a year,
we finally have the house non-smelly (unless we leave for a long time and
come back). I haven't cleaned the vent ducts yet, though I assume they are
entirely coated with tar as well. I'd replace them if I could, but can't get
inside the walls.
If I had it to do over again, I'd definitely pass on the smoke house,
despite its beauty. It cost us many thousands to get everything cleaned, and
months of work. We will probably still tear out the carpet and redo the
floors. Cleaning all that goo is a good thing for a smoker to do to show
them firsthand what their lungs look like inside.
One friend of mine says that pine cleaner like Pine Sol (R) is great for
removing cig film. Hot water and a mop. Mop the walls, ceiling, and so on.
I've also found Amway (R) brand Zoom (their blue window cleaner) did a great
job getting the film off my grand mother's TV which she left me. I used to
work on window air conditioners, and found that non acid coil cleaner
removes cig film from air conditioners.
As far as the heating and air system....
The ONLY proper way, period, to remove the odor is to have the airhandler,
or furnace cleaned top to bottom.
The evap coil will need to be cleaned, and this in some cases will require
IF the duct is fiberboard, its toast...as in gone. It will need to be
removed and replaced.
IF its metal, and is fiber lined, its toast...it will need to be removed and
IF its flex, its toast, it will need to be removed and replaced.
IF its metal, with external duct insulation, it can be cleaned, but you may
find its cheaper to have it replaced with a new duct system.
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