Where should fresh or return/makeup air come from?
I own a rental condo in a 1960's building. It has a gas forced air furnace/air handler in a closet in the unit with outside a/c. The gas furnace vents up through my condo, the condo above mine and through the roof. There is a big return air grill inside my condo directly below the closet. There is no specific exterior opening from which the air handler would get fresh exterior air when heating or cooling. As far as I can tell, it just recirculates the same air.
Now the condo association is encouraging people to install new weather tight doors and windows, and to seal up all gaps between units and the exterior.
I have done all I can to seal off my unit from the adjacent unit with unpleasant smells (seal around outlets & pipes). However, four units share a common kitchen exhaust duct. My fear is making the condo more airtight from the exterior will exacerbate a problem of unpleasant smells coming from an adjacent unit because any return or makeup air currently being drawn from the exterior may now get drawn from the adjacent unit instead, primarily through the common kitchen exhaust duct.
Getting the condo association to install a constantly on low power fan at the roof for the kitchen exhaust duct (such as is done in new buildings) is highly unlikely.
1. Is there a preferred method to introduce fresh outside air? I would think it would need to be conditioned, but not sure. What would I tell an HVAC company that I want? Due to the age of the furnace & ac, I might replace it soon anyway, so that may be an opportunity to install components to counteract this.
2. Is there a way to make sure the air system in my condo is positive, so does not try to pull through the common exhaust duct?
3. Should I just seal off my condo from the common kitchen range exhaust duct and install a recirculating kitchen vent hood, and then move forward with all the other sealing and new doors & windows.
The condo association has been notified many times of the unpleasant smell by several unit owners, and it's lawyers say there is nothing they can do. It seems an easy solution would be do make the owner of the unpleasant smell have negative air pressure in their unit, to keep it from migrating to any other unit, but that is not possible. Suggestions welcome.
Last edited by c-a-l; 08-03-2014 at 04:38 PM.