I live in a Victorian semi and the house next door has been split into
flats. The upper flat has a new tenant who - although I've never met them -
I'm convinced smokes numerous cigars. The reason I know this is that every
evening my son's bedroom - one wall of which is the party-wall between us
and next door - stinks of cigar smoke. I believe the only way this could
happen is via the chimney, and that the smoke, or at the least the smell of
it, is travelling up next doors chimney and being sucked down the chimney in
my son's room. The chimney breasts in both houses are built onto the party
wall and the chimney stacks are very close together.
Any suggestions how to cure this one - what's the best way of blocking a
The chimney sounds probable - unless your son has discovered a secret love
of King Edwards! :o)
The expanding foam commonly available from DIY stores would work - but could
be a bugger to remove at a later date. What I'd suggest as an experiment
would be to fill a dustbin bag with small soft cloths (old rages etc) and
push it up the chimney - there should be a 'ledge' a little way up. The bag
should fill the gap and form a reasonable seal - at least it may help you
prove if it or isn't the source.
Also worth thinking about is the loftspace - is it open between the two
properties? The smell could be coming through the ceiling? You could check
that out by going up into the loftspace and seeing if the smell is up there
too. If so you could probably reduce the problem by better insulation
between the rafters.
Good luck - I hope you resolve the problem for your son.
On Wed, 14 Jan 2004 22:37:11 +0000 (UTC), "Steve H"
The thought crosses my mind here that a substantially built plastic
bag shoved up the orifice and then filled with expanding foam might
help with this. At least then you've got a plastic interface between
the brickwork and the foam, rather than the foam biting into the brick
Haven't tried this approach though, so use at your own risk - others
might suggest it's a no-goer.
Sending email to my published email address isn't
guaranteed to reach me.
Must be a different type of plastic used in bags. All I know is that when
it dripped on our laminate, it melted the top surface. *mutters about
stupid valve that broke and wouldn't turn off*
Thinking about it - I must have put it in a bag when it kept leaking and
I don't use polythene gloves - never seen a pair that didn't tear on
the seams as soon as the glue got a scent of you. I prefer the blue
vinyl sort - much less likely to tear.
I've packed poly bags with squirty foam to make bungs many times, and
I know at least one that has survived 8 years of daylight so far.
It doesn't need much moisture. It's a foam, so there's very little
mass of glue in there. I've had problems with PU glue failing to cure
through lack of moisture before, but never the foam.
Do whales have krillfiles ?
For smells to percolate through from a neighbouring property, especially
through a thick party wall with chimneys, is not possible and will probably
mean you have gaps in the brickwork under the floors or vents in the outside
walls, and they're allowing air to circulate passed the lath and plaster and
under the skirting boards. I'd check for cigar/cigarette stubs in your sons
There are very many ways for air to percolate between two adjoining
buildings. We have a cavity wall separating us from next door, but we
can often tell what they are cooking. It depends upon the wind
direction at the time and I would suggest it would be next to
impossible to completely seal an house from an adjoining property.
A better idea would be to go round, ask if someone smokes cigars and in
which room they smoke their cigars.
Srach this group for the last time we discussed this. Turned out to be
holes behind bath and under the flolor I think. Expanding foam is your
99% sure not chimney. I have tow back to back fires - no smoke comes
down the other when the one is in ise.
What's in the loft?
Some Victorian terraces and semis are completely separated between
buildings, others are not. Might depend upon the local fire bylaws for your
location at the time of building.
If you have an open loft or one with bricks missing, etc, then this might be
a path between the dwellings.
Google search this group - there was a discussion about this before (tho you
will have to ignore a lot of political chaff about the rights and wrongs of
smoking/smokers/non-smokers, etc). The situation was not identical because
the dwelling in question was a modern built house, but there may be useful
pointers in that.
email me at
richard at olifant d-ot co do-t uk
On Wed, 14 Jan 2004 21:25:14 -0000, a particular chimpanzee named
It may not have to travel all that way. It's more likely that the
'mid-feathers' of the chimney are loose. In many older properties,
the flues were separated by half-brick thick masonry, and the mortar
can fail forming gaps between one flue and the next.
You could get a sweep to check that there are no blockages in the
flue, which would indicate that a brick has come loose. If so, you
could line the chimney with a metal flue-liner.
"The fact that no-one on the internet wants a piece of this
Thanks for all the advice - will try the expanding foam thing and let you
all know how it goes.
BTW - my son's only five and he doesn't get enough pocket money to buy
randomly hit the keyboard and
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