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  1. #14
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    Dec 2011
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    17
    No, I think they frown upon knocking on neighbor's doors.

    yeah, I wanted to go to management with some knowledge so they wouldn't brush me off.

    btw, here condo means highrise that you own your unit. I guess it could be lowrise, but most of them are this size. I'm sensing in the states it different?

  2. #15
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    So. NH
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    745
    Quote Originally Posted by torontoq View Post
    No, I think they frown upon knocking on neighbor's doors.

    yeah, I wanted to go to management with some knowledge so they wouldn't brush me off.

    btw, here condo means highrise that you own your unit. I guess it could be lowrise, but most of them are this size. I'm sensing in the states it different?
    It is always best to have as much info as you can when conveying any problem to those fixing it whether it be your HVAC, car, washing machine, or anything. It may not be a big deal at all so just tell them what you know. Part of that process is gathering information. Regarding the cold floor, is the floor below occupied? just thinking since it's new maybe not and unheated?

    Here [NH], condo also means you own unit but you are correct, most are not high rise. Not that we live in the woods but most 20 story buildings here are office buildings. Biggest residential I can think of in Manchester is 10, maybe 12.

  3. #16
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
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    Over Here
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    Quote Originally Posted by torontoq View Post
    Also we keep the place pretty warm, around 80 degrees and outside is around 40ish.

    and there is a big temp difference from floor to ceiling. like, you can't get the floor warm no matter how high you set the fan coil.
    Been reading this, but refraining to post until I saw this. 80°F for heating? This is causing stack effect. You noticed it when the weather got cold.

    General idea to solve your problem.... Your living area's envelope needs positive pressurization in relation to the adjoining common area. The common area needs to be negatively pressurized in relation to your living area. How much air for each will need to be defined by testing the 'tightness' of each space by qualified professional. If the 'intake' vent for your space's ERV is in the hall, or near the 'exhaust' of the common area, it will short circuit, and have negative influence on the quality of the air entering your living space.

    There is a lot going on with this building that cannot be solved by my keyboard over the internet. ERV's / HRV's are balanced machines, and are not designed for positive or negative pressure applications. Manufacturer's data on most don't recommend any deviation beyond 10%. If any exhaust fans are run continuously, you may be adding to your odor problem without realizing it.

    If you have the ability to 'crack' a window on a side of your space not adjacent to the hall, your entering air will naturally ventilate your unit with fresh air. The entering air has to be below the neutral column, as low as you can get to be effective. If you can allow a small amount of air to escape on the hall side of your unit, up high, you will effectively create a passive convective path that will positively ventilate your unit with fresh air using stack effect.

    You may also need to monitor your indoor RH, as it may make it very dry with colder northern temperatures.

  4. #17
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
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    11,296
    Bottom line is that the condo where the cooking odors originate is positively pressurized to the corridor, and the corridor in some aspect is positive to your condo. You stated that improvising some form of seal around the entry door checks the odors. This would indicate the door is the point of entry into your condo, not some other path such as cavities or voids in walls or ceilings.

    Are there exhaust hoods over the cooking appliances in the condos?

    ERVs can be adjusted for keeping a structure pressurized. But it could be something as simple as encouraging the owners of the the unit where the cooking odors originate to have their entry door seals checked.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  5. #18
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    17
    Thank you all.

    yes, there are exhaust hoods over the stoves. They assured me all the exhaust goes out of the balcony, although, sometimes it feels like theirs opens to the hallway. (they are on the other side of the building so their exhaust vent is nowhere near my input vent which is on my balcony as well.)

    The entry door seals on these units aren't very good. I had to add several more layers, at the bottom there was almost a pinky finger thick gap. still there is a small breeze at the bottom.

    if the erv is on even minimum, the bathroom fan turns on as well. There doesn't seem to be a way to have it on and not have the fan on at the same time. I never put it on high because you get the nextdoor neighbor's exhaust pulled in but it's still much better than the corridor odor!

    yes, when I open the balcony door the airflow at the front door goes the other way. But in winter we would freeze to death also within minutes but I'll try it with the smaller window and see what happens.

    Yes, there are people right bellow me. Should I try to decrease this internal stack by lowering the temperature? is it contributing to the problem? I tried at 75 degrees and the flow from the corridor to my home is
    slightly less.

  6. #19
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    Apr 2001
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    Quote Originally Posted by Canadaq View Post

    yes, there are exhaust hoods over the stoves. They assured me all the exhaust goes out of the balcony, although, sometimes it feels like theirs opens to the hallway. (they are on the other side of the building so their exhaust vent is nowhere near my input vent which is on my balcony as well.)

    The entry door seals on these units aren't very good. I had to add several more layers, at the bottom there was almost a pinky finger thick gap. still there is a small breeze at the bottom.

    if the erv is on even minimum, the bathroom fan turns on as well. There doesn't seem to be a way to have it on and not have the fan on at the same time. I never put it on high because you get the nextdoor neighbor's exhaust pulled in but it's still much better than the corridor odor!

    yes, when I open the balcony door the airflow at the front door goes the other way. But in winter we would freeze to death also within minutes but I'll try it with the smaller window and see what happens.

    Should I try to decrease this internal stack by lowering the temperature? is it contributing to the problem? I tried at 75 degrees and the flow from the corridor to my home is
    slightly less.

    Everything in bold indicates to me your unit has the ability to achieve a negative state created by a combination of mechanical operating exhaust devices. ERV, bathroom fan, kitchen exhaust, and I suspect your air handling unit are all factors.

    I tried at 75 degrees and the flow from the corridor to my home is
    slightly less.
    So when you turn the unit down from 80° to 75°, you notice the air from outside to in less, meaning less negative pressure when the heating system turns off?

    How many square feet is the heated space?

    You indicated earlier that it is cold at your feet and warm up high. Are your return (intake for unit) grille, and supply grilles all in the ceiling?

    My real gut feeling of your problem, though, points to the prevailing wind as the culprit, IMHO. I'm getting the impression that the wind is blowing through your neighbors unit, carrying the aroma through the corridor, and continuing right through your unit, and out through the rear on the balcony. This is not related to stack effect, but another force that affects the conditions of the living space in a major way.

    I would recommend sealing around exterior cracks and crevices around your unit as best as you can to stop the 'flood' of air. Anything beyond that will require a professional with qualifications in building envelope analysis. House maintenance most likely would be in the dark for a real solution. It would be interesting to see the results, as there is a lot going on here.

  7. #20
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    17
    Thank you.

    the wind theory seems interesting (not very good for me though! ). I should follow wind patterns and how bad the smell gets.

    also I thought maybe the exhaust ducts in the corridor have a leak.

    yes, everything is in the ceiling and it's a small apartment. seven hundred or so. At 75 degrees there isn't much temp difference, but at 80 degrees it's too cold at the floor and a sauna at head level.

    I'll do some more experimentation later.

    the management was very accommodating and said they are checking things out. I hope it's something simple that can be resolved without bothering the neighbors. meanwhile, off to get more weatherstripping! the choices seem to be either so thick I have to wrestle with the door to get it closed, or so thin there still is a draft

  8. #21
    Join Date
    Oct 2006
    Location
    So. NH
    Posts
    745
    Quote Originally Posted by Canadaq View Post
    At 75 degrees there isn't much temp difference, but at 80 degrees it's too cold at the floor and a sauna at head level.
    A small difference is to be expected but this sounds extreme. Could you measure actual temp at floor, ceiling and hallway with a reasonably accurate handheld thermometer? Try it with hvac on and off and perhaps different locations in your unit. Something seems odd to me about this extreme difference.

  9. #22
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    17
    I'd have to get a thermometer. My guess is that it kept sucking in cold air from the corridor . Because since I sealed around the door the temp difference has gotten a lot less. also it blows hot air from near the ceiling , and the thermostat is also up high, and hot air doesn't come down, so it's kind of like a two story building without the dividing floor I'm guessing a combination of these.

  10. #23
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    Apr 2001
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    Canadaq,

    Have you made any progress or found out anything new relating to your problem?

  11. #24
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Location
    Fort Worth, TX
    Posts
    11,296
    Hmm...just occurred to me that if the OP's condo has an ERV, and it is exhausting more air than it takes in from outdoors, AND the hallway is positive to the condo (and that hallway is cold or only marginally heated), this might 'splain a few things.
    • Electricity makes refrigeration happen.
    • Refrigeration makes the HVAC psychrometric process happen.
    • HVAC pyschrometrics is what makes indoor human comfort happen...IF the ducts AND the building envelope cooperate.


    A building is NOT beautiful unless it is also comfortable.

  12. #25
    Join Date
    Apr 2001
    Location
    Over Here
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    1,105
    Quote Originally Posted by Shophound View Post
    Hmm...just occurred to me that if the OP's condo has an ERV, and it is exhausting more air than it takes in from outdoors, AND the hallway is positive to the condo (and that hallway is cold or only marginally heated), this might 'splain a few things.
    My thoughts, too. The imbalance created by all the exhaust equipment, including erv, is quite a strain on a 700 square foot space.

    Include a steady prevailing wind around poorly installed or worn out weatherstripping, and the wind pushes and sucks the air out of the space. As many exhaust penetrations there are in the living space, I'm wondering if the forces of wind create a venturi effect, allowing uncontrolled infiltration/exfiltration as well.

    Finally with the return and supply at the ceiling of the conditioned space, there would be obvious temperature difference in just 8 feet of column if the wind is moving through the space.

  13. #26
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Posts
    17
    Hi all,

    No, no more info. waiting to hear from management. Do you guys have any band aid recommendations? extra weatherstripping somewhat improved the situation, but I still get some smells coming from the fresh air vent (although it's hard to say, it is pretty close to the front door). Whoever thought of putting fresh and exhaust vents both in the balconies of tiny apartments was a real genius.

    btw, if the fans are off, does wind blow in air through the exhaust vents?

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