Remove Second Hand Cigarette Smoke From Neighbor’s Apartment


– [Jeff] Hello everyone, Jeff here again. I wanted to talk to you
about a common problem that we find once in a while. Now this is a condominium in a 55 and older development here. So what we see a lot
is, you’ll buy a condo at the foreclosure auction
and you move into it, and this wall right
here, we can just smell a whole bunch of cigarette smoke coming through from
the neighbor next door. She smokes like a chimney,
I mean this lady’s just… I swear she uses one cigarette
to light the next one. She’s that bad. So common problem we have is that smoke from somebody
else’s unit next door will always find its way in to your unit. So what do you do, how
do you seal up your place to prevent all of that
smoke from coming over? ♪ You’re Mr. Right ♪ ♪ My Mr. Right ♪ ♪ Too good to be true ♪ ♪ You’re Mr. Right ♪ ♪ My Mr. Right ♪ – Hey everybody, Jeff here, and welcome back to our channel. If this is your first time visiting us this is a great time for you to take a look at the
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other videos that we put out to help you. So this is all for you, my friends. And at the same time when you subscribe, make sure you click on that
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any sense if you subscribe without being alerted to every
time we put up a new video. And then if you have any questions at all, leave them down in the comments and we’ll answer them for you. So let’s get started with today’s project. As it turns out we’re going to be doing a major remodel in here. We’re going to remove the
carpet and take these baseboards off and we’re going to
put much better baseboards and wood flooring in here. But while we’re in here doing this is when we have to take care of that. So I’ll show you some of the quick steps that we use to do this. So what happens is is the cigarette smoke can come in through the
bottom of the baseboards. Even though you don’t really see anything, there’s often about a quarter
of an inch crack down there. So we need to fill that void, and what we do is we will go
ahead and remove the baseboards and once we do you’ll
reveal a much bigger void, it’s usually about, the drywall stops typically
about a half inch off the floor. So you can fill it with the
foam and I’ll show you this foam that we like to use here. So this is an expanding foam
that’ll fill small gaps, stuff like that. We often will also use caulk. So sometimes we’ll run thick beads of this down at the bottom of the drywall. Sometimes we use the silicone as well, I like the silicone because
it doesn’t crack and dry, and it will never fail on you. Also, other places that
it can sneak in here are on these electrical outlets. So we’re going to be popping
this off and changing this to a more modern looking
electrical outlet anyway. But, when you look at the electrical boxes behind your outlet, sometimes those boxes
have extra holes on them for either other screws
or or other entry points for more Romex cable to
come up through the bottom. So those all have to be plugged. Every single opening you find, and every crack has to be plugged. Also, the cutout in the
drywall around the outlet box behind this plate has a
seam, there’s space there, and the smoke can come
in through there too. That all has to be caulked,
so that’s a lot of work, it’s very labor-intensive
to get all of this done. OK, here’s another
product we use a lot too. This is called an outlet sealer. And you can see you can detach it to make it any shape you want, in this case I’m using
a Decora shape here. And that’s a foam rubber gasket
about an eighth of an inch, and you really should be using these on every one of your outlet plates anyway to seal your plate, to
keep air conditioning from seeping out and going
into the wall anyhow. These are always recommended
by environmentalists. So this would go on the
other side of the plate if we were using the Decora switch here. It would go on the
other side of the plate. And you simply screw it into place there, behind the outlet plate there. And that will help seal
things as well too. Because you also want
to seal this area here around the switch. The things you wouldn’t
think you have to seal you have to seal them up really good. Now here we are in front
of the medicine cabinet, and you can see there’s a space there. We’re gonna have to,
when we take this out, and I’ll show you in a second here, but we’ll pull this guy
out and you have to seal in all of the cracks and spaces
that are in there too. So here we’ve removed
the medicine cabinet, and you can see all these seams here. All that’s got to get sealed up all the way around on that side. All the way along the top. And I can actually feel a
draft coming from in there. Ugh, and let me tell you what
I put my nose up to here, right here, I get like a
headache ’cause it’s so bad, it’s so pungent. And you can see, wherever
you see that black gap there, and even along the front. Any unused nail holes, those all got to be sealed up, everything. We had to do an electrical panel one time, and it was all sorts of
little nooks and crannies to fill in on the back, and unused portholes along the bottom. It was terrible, lot of work. So this is something
you’ll have to do here too. And also, behind the
light there’s the box, the outlet box behind the light there. And where that outlet
box meets the drywall there’s cutouts and you
have to seal all of that up, seal any holes in there. You have an outlet over here, you’re going to have to do
the same thing with this, seal that guy up real good. And, as we look under the cabinet here, I’ll have to see, we’re gonna
be replacing the vanity, but let’s say even if you
weren’t replacing the vanity you’d want to get some
foam into those holes there around the pipes, and make sure that there’s nothing. See? You want to make sure it can’t come in through there as well. Another good spot for it to sneak in, it wouldn’t happen here
because there’s caulking, but let’s say you put in a new toilet and you haven’t caulked it yet, we found that one time I remember. In a bathroom that we knew
we sealed up completely. We couldn’t figure out
where it was coming from and then we realized that hey, it’s coming through the
bottom of the toilet. This was coming from a downstairs unit, going up into our unit. But once we had caulked around the toilet that took care of it. In this case that’s not an issue because the problem is
coming through the wall. So you have a switch in here that you’re gonna have to take care of. You’ve got that pipe coming
out of the wall there and behind that where the, you can see there’s a
little bit of a hole there, that’s going to be filled in. And this is probably the
worst offender right here, is the ceiling vent fan there. Because up inside that vent
fan there’s lots of holes that have to get filled in and stuff and you know that nobody
ever mates these properly to the existing holes that are up there. So remember, from their unit next door, their smoke is coming in the wall and probably up into this little
lower part of the ceiling. Once it gets over to here we’re fine, it can’t really get
past corners and stuff, so we’re pretty much
only concerning ourselves with this wall here. Maybe this wall here. We may cut a hole in this wall here and just see if we smell anything. Because remember there’s
studs in these walls. So a lot of times with these walls here, if there’re studs, you’ve got
a stud right here in the wall the drywall is up against the stud so it’s pretty well pinched up against it and there’s not much getting past it. So once you have that first
stud coming off the corner it’s not going to get past it. But we will cut a hole here
and smell it just to make sure. And then coming back
out here by the window, this is an exterior brick wall right here. Cement block. And they have furring strips
that are attached to them and then the drywall attaches
to the furring strips. So in theory the smoke
shouldn’t be able to get past the first set of furring strips. So we’ll probably cut
a pilot hole over here and another one over here and make sure we don’t smell anything. But that’s pretty much it, because this is a cement slab up top. There’s no other ceiling or anything for smoke to come in from next door. So it’s just a matter of us
taking care of everything we need to do on this side. So let me peel off some of this baseboard and let’s see what it
looks like behind it. So if you look here at the
bottom of the floor you can see that that’s about a half
inch, there’s a gap there where the drywall doesn’t come all the way down on the floor. So once we get this carpet out we’re gonna decide whether or
not we want to use the foam or if we’re better off using the caulk. Now the problem with using the caulk is, each tube of caulk is only good for about a 30-foot stripe at best, and that’s if you’re going
between an eighth of an inch and a quarter of an inch. But with this half inch right
here I can guarantee you this will take two or three
tubes to go all the way across. And because of the size of this gap you’d have a hard time with
a caulk filling that gap, even on the first try. So that’s probably
gonna be done with foam. It’s a lot quicker, you
can do it in one pass, right down the wall. As you can see here we’ve already caulked this whole cavity here
for the medicine cabinet with silicone caulk, and it’s
pretty difficult to do it, like right around this dry part
where it meets the drywall. But we got it in there,
this whole thing here will take about 20
minutes to do it properly. Because you got to make sure
every little thing is sealed. Every little screw hole there, we got up underneath
the overlapping metal. And you can see along the
seam here of the drywall too. You’ve got to seal all of that in. So just from that little bit
in this little area right here we don’t smell it as bad, of course three feet over it
still smells pretty gnarly. All right, so I usually
just take the foam here. You have the can upside down, you shake it well first of course. And you just start back
in the corner there. Start foaming it up in there. I try not to let it overdo it because it does expand a little bit. You’re just trying to seal
up the space under there. And any of the excess you
can go back and cut later. And this stuff cuts, once
it dries it cuts really easy with a utility knife. So you just want to make sure it’s all evenly filling up the space up in there. Get all of that void filled in. And you want to stop every once in a while and shake your can. And come back and find any gaps there and get those filled in.. That’s pretty much all there is to it. OK, now turning our attention
here towards the fan. So I pulled this thing off here. And we come back up and we
look in here, in the cavity, so you can see all of
these got to get covered up with silicone caulk here. So that’s why you have
to pull this thing down so that you can get at all of them too. ‘Cause they’re everywhere around here, every one of those little
openings you see there. Anywhere where air can
get into from the outside. And then see how there’s this gap here, leading up into the
little attic space there. So that’s all got to get filled in. And then we’re gonna
take the fan body out. I want to make sure that this thing is connected to the vent to the outside. Because if it’s not then that means that you’re getting
smoke in from right there where the port is. Well as we were able to ascertain, they did indeed connect it up to the hose that goes up to the top there, the exhaust vent tube. However they did do one thing stupid here. So, you can see they put
screws on this side here right? But what they did was they screwed it right into the edge of the drywall, so it really compromised everything here. That was just really dumb. There is a stud back in here, so we have to run a three
inch screw through here to reach that stud. Because you don’t want
this thing bouncing around. But see all these gaps here, we’re gonna fill this all up with foam. I’m gonna come and get all
these little nooks and crannies up in here too. And we’re still gonna caulk too, just to make sure we
get everything covered. OK, so here you can see we’ve put caulk in a lot of the holes and
some of the corners up there. And you could even see how the white foam oozed in through some of the
holes already in the bottom just because I put it on the
backside of it inside the gap. So it just shows you how
much air there is up in there in that cabinet that can come up here and deliver smoke to your nose. So we got all these covered up. So, see this is how we just
slice through the stuff the next day after it’s dried. And you can see it filled
the void pretty nicely there. And actually we don’t even really smell any cigarette smoke right now. When I used to walk into this room and get a headache within 10 seconds. What we’ve done so far has probably been the biggest effect and
also what we just did on that fan there in the ceiling. And that took, it was probably
about an hour’s worth of work in there, getting all of
those things all plugged up. But we just have to go and
cut the rest of this off. And don’t forget we still
need to do these outlets and the switch plates, and we
still need to do that light above the vanity as well. OK, so we have this electrical
outlet here in the bathroom, you can see how close it is to the sink. And we were gonna take
this outlet out of here, we’re gonna put a new one in anyway. Our plan was to put in a GFI outlet, because it’s required by code anyway anytime you have an outlet
within six feet of a sink or water that you have
to have it as a GFI. It’s got to be GFI protected. But we discovered something here when we pulled this outlet out. So if you look at what they did here, see they looped the white
wire there, the common, and they also looped the black wire, and that’s not a problem here. Does anybody here see what the problem is, do you guys see what’s missing here? If you look closely at these wires here, you see a black wire, see a white wire. And what’s missing here? Well there’s no ground,
that means this outlet was never grounded, that’s
extremely dangerous to do that. And on top of that they probably thought, oh I’ll just screw it to
the front of this outlet box and I’ll be grounded,
well that’s not true. Probably for a couple of reasons, because it’s painted on
the front, first of all. Second of all, the box
itself is not bonded. That means, you can see that in the back there, they got paint all over it,
these are the ground wires here coming up and through there,
they’re feeding through the box but no where are they wrapped
around a ground screw. So we’re gonna see if we
can’t fix that right now by putting a ground screw in there. You can see there’s a
hole in the back there, right there where my finger is pointing. That is where we could potentially put in a green ground screw and try to wrap some of
this ground wire around it. I don’t know how, whether
we’ll really be able to. We’re gonna try our best,
we’ll have to sand off some of that paint, get it
nice and shiny and coppery, and twist another piece of
ground wire around that. Wrap it to the post and then
have another pigtail ground come off of our ground
post, our ground screw. And that pigtail will then
come and feed the outlet. But the way the previous
electricians had implemented it, they totally blew it, drop the ball, in probably three different ways here. But we see this kind of stuff all the time and we’re always ready to deal
with it when we do see it. So let’s get busy fixing it. Well you can see here we
were pretty successful at finding a good ground here. So what we did was we
found the ground wire that was coming through
the box, it was coming in from one Romex connector here, and it was going in and coming out, just passing through the
box and going up and out through that other one
that you see up there. So, what we had to do is, first had to sand this wire down, and I did that with this emery paper here, this is like a little sandpaper. And that got all the paint off, it made it nice and shiny
and copper and nice and bare. And you form a loop out of the wire and then we stuck it through our screw, we stuck the screw through it and into the screw boss into the box. And then this is our pigtail, this pigtail is gonna go to the outlet. So now this is the way the
electrician should have done it in the first place. Don’t ask me why they
didn’t do it that way, I just have no idea how builders
get away with this stuff, but it still blows my mind
how they overcharge you and overcharge you and overcharge
you way above market value for a new house, and then
this is how they treat you. It’s just terrible,
there’s no excuse for this. And so this is the
proper way to ground it, so you can see what happens is, any ground that came through this box is now attached to the
metal body of the box. And the electrical code,
National Electrical Code, requires a metal outlet
box, whether it be a switch or an outlet, has to be
bonded to the system ground. And this is how you do it. So now we’re ready to go ahead
and install the GFI outlet. OK, so we’ve got our little
outlet tester in here and we’ve turned the power back on on the panel in the kitchen there. And now we’re ready to turn this guy on. So now remember, we have to
push in that red reset button, and as soon as we do you’ll see the green light come on here. And let’s try it here. There you go. So there is the green light. And you can see we got
both of our LEDs are lit, which is correct, if you
look at the chart on the top it tells you that you’re fully wired and we are now GFI protected. OK, so here we are,
this is one other outlet here in the bathroom. And we’re still smelling a
little smoke coming through there so you see those two little
holes there on the left, back in the back of the box? We have to fill those in
and I’m sure we’ll find out when we pull this outlet out that there’s going to
be a couple more holes back there as well. I put my nose up to it, I can smell it, so that’s why you have
to make sure you fill in every possible nook and cranny when you’re doing these
kind of things here. So we’ll do that now. Now as we pulled out the
outlet you can see here, we noticed something
here, see this right here? They took the ground wire, didn’t even leave any decent
parts of it that was copper, and they just wrapped
it around a painted part of this screw boss here. That is a lesson, folks, on
how not to ground an outlet. This outlet is not protected,
it is not grounded. So anyway we’re going to be
putting in a new outlet switch. And remember this is a metal box, so we need to make sure that
this metal box is grounded and bonded to the system ground. We’re going to put a green
sprout screw right there, see that hole right there? That’s meant to house
a green ground screw. We’re going to wrap this
copper wire around it and connect it up properly
to the new switch. OK, so now let’s show you the proper way to ground one of these boxes. So we’re going to have
to clean this off first. So I usually use this blue
emery sandpaper-type here, this is what the plumbers use for doing a little abrasive
sanding on the pipes before they solder. So see how this is nice
and shiny copper now? That’s how you make a
nice, good conductor. Just like that. So you can see what we’ve
done is we’ve wrapped the wire around a ground screw now. So now this metal box is gonna be, it’s already bonded to the system ground. Then if you look here real close, see how the way they ran those wires into the back of the switch there? That’s a big no-no, look how much, he’s left almost a quarter
of an inch of bare, exposed conductor, that’s
a major major no-no. And this is what we find a lot
down here with the builders. Like I said before in our other videos, the builders overcharge you big time, and this is the kind of
quality work they gave you. They just hire the the lowest
paid, dumbest guy in the world to do all their work and this
is what you’re left with. So we’re going to put a
better switch in anyway, we’re going to be putting this switch in. And you can see it has its
own ground screw on there that we’re going to connect it up to. So let’s fix this problem right now. OK, so there you can see we
finally got it connected up. We added a pigtail wire because
the amount of ground wire that they gave you was too short here. Seeing where their black and
the white wires were too short, I mean these guys are so dumb, it’s like, any chance they get to violate
the National Electric Code, they will. You’re supposed to have six inches of wire coming out of a box. So because of that, because
of their foolish mistake, what we did was we had, you’ll see back in the corner there, we stuck in one of these Wago wiring nuts, and this is what they look like. So you put the two wires in there and then you snap the
doors down like this. And it holds the wires
together nice and tight so you have a nice tight connection. Then you run the other end
of this pigtail over here to the outlet, so now
you’re perfectly fine. And it’s OK if the ground here has a little bit of
insulation peeled away. That’s not a problem because
there’s no conductor there, it’s not carrying current. So now I’m just gonna see if I can’t get a piece of
black tape, green tape, electrical tape wrapped
around the outlet there, because I always like
to cover the terminals to protect anybody who comes
in later to do any work and maybe they leave the
power on or something. And before I do I wanted
to show you how I wired it, see how we put it so that
the wire comes right up so that the insulation
just touches the outside of the screw down plate there. You don’t want the insulation
to go behind the plate because the plate has to push against the metal part of the wire, so you only stop it right at the edge of the metal plate there. Looks a lot better than the way
the original builder did it. That leaves you with a
nice clean bundle there, so if anybody ever touches
that they won’t get shocked. Now if you focus your
attention on the back you’ll see I plugged up
those two holes there. Plus we went ahead and smoothed
down with some silicone here around these cracks here. So the cigarette smoke won’t come in from the next-door neighbor’s condo. So I think the smell is
pretty much gone now, so we’ve successfully at least kept it coming in from this spot. So you get two repairs in one here today. OK, so there we are, the Decora
switch is all screwed in. And always remember
before you screw it in, always remember to look
and make sure it says top. Now you probably can’t see
it there, maybe you can. But engraved in the metal
there it’ll say top. And that’s how you know your
switch is right-side up, otherwise you’ll plug it in, screw all the plates in and everything and you’re gonna find out that
your switch was upside down. OK, now this step is the, is what differentiates what we’re doing with what everybody else does. We’re putting this little gasket in here. And that also helps seal, it
keeps your air conditioning from escaping out through
your outlet and into the wall. And it also would seal in case there was any cigarette smoke in there from the next-door neighbor. So when we put the plate on here it’s gonna squeeze this
gasket up against the wall and cut everything off, no air is gonna get in or out of here. And I always use these
metal plates, I like these, these are super wide. They’re wide on the side
and taller on the top. So that’ll help you in case
you ever have any holes that we’re cut in the drywall too big. And these metal plates are
good because you can see there’s a little bit of
curvature to the wall here. So I can screw this better to
the wall then a plastic plate, the plastic ones will crack. And there is your finished product. And I normally like to
leave both of my screws pointing straight up. It looks aesthetically better. You can see it’s nice and snug here. There’s no more cigarette smoke coming in from the next-door neighbor’s unit. All right, so now we’re
going to take this off, this vanity light. We need to see what’s behind it, see what kind of cigarette smoke
might be coming from there. This is gonna get changed out anyway to a different type of vanity
light, this is ancient. We don’t do this kind of stuff, you don’t give this to humans. All right, so this can here
is the biggest offender, look how many holes you see
there that are in this thing. They’ve all got to be filled
up with the silicone there. Because all the cigarette
smoke is seeping in there, I can smell it right now and I my face is about two feet away. And then we’re gonna fill
in all of these cracks along the bottom here
as well with the caulk. OK, so here you can
see a few minutes later we’ve gone ahead and put all
of the silicone in there, we’ve covered up all of the
black holes that you see that were there, the openings. And we put some around the edge of the can where it mates up to the drywall so now it’s completely sealed. And we can no longer
smell the cigarette smoke. Well we decided to go
ahead and pull the vanity. It was gonna come out
anyway, but as you can see, we’ll have to go and foam along here, because that’s part of that same wall where the cigarette smoke is coming in. And then we’re going to have
to seal up those openings right there where those pipes are. And then we should be fine. If you look at all the
sawdust that’s down here, this is what came out of the
bottom of the vanity here. This is why I tell people,
folks never, ever, ever, ever, ever buy any cabinets made
out of particle board. If it’s not solid wood, don’t buy it. I don’t care if it’s
cheaper, don’t buy it. Because the stuff is just useless, this is what the builders give you, they sell you this garbage junk at the same time that
they’re overcharging you for your slice of paradise. And that’s what happens, they all just disintegrate in place. But you should have seen the mess, these things make a mess
when you’re taking them out and they leave trails of bread crumbs all the way up the road there. And a couple of minutes later I’ve got some of my drywall tape there, covering that area there. We’re going to smooth that out. And same with on this side here. We’re gonna smooth that out
too with some drywall mud. And you can see I already started to seal these openings here with silicone. This one here’s a little big
so he’s gonna require some foam which we’re gonna use in
a minute down here anyway. And while I’m at it I’m
gonna take these goops of black adhesive off here
from where the mirror was on the wall and we’re
gonna skim coat this. And here you can see we put
the first layer of drywall mud over here over these little patches here. So we’ll sand those down when it dries and we’ll put a second layer on. Well, just our luck, we smelt a little bit
more smoke in the bathroom although it wasn’t as
bad as it was before, we are getting almost all of it. But here again we found another one, it was behind the light switch. And this was one that we’d
forgotten about but look, see? This is in the water
closet area, the toilet. And you can see that gap
right there, all of this has to get filled and
there’s a hole there. There’s several holes in
the back of that outlet that also have to get filled as well. I am going to put a ground screw on there on that tiny screw opening right there? We have to put a ground screw there because this is a metal box
and they never bonded it. Goofballs. You can see the copper’s right there, their ground line. So they brought the
copper line into the box but they never grounded it. They never bonded the box to the ground. So we have to do that to keep
it up to the current code. And we also have to caulk
around all of these seams here. So it’s like never ending. When you think about the
amount of hours of labor that you spend on trying to fix this stupid cigarette-smoke problem, it’s like you should sue
your next-door neighbor. Let them pay for it. So that concludes pretty
much all of the areas that we had to block up. You also might want to
check down under your sink where the pipes come
out of the wall as well. But if you have any questions leave them down in the comments. And also let us know
what tricks you’ve used to get rid of cigarette smoke. And if you like us you can
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