I think I've referenced cleaning and cleaning and cleaning in this house. There's so much to scrape and scrub. Even the two rooms we've painted feel like they need more cleaning. I've seen evidence of the problem as I've worked and opening the door to a bedroom we aren't using when my friends came over confirmed my suspicion. The air smelled of smoke. I think the HVAC system is the issue.
I grew up in a house with smoking and I'm sure many people my age did. The smoker in my family got into the habit at a time when smoking was normal, cool, and maybe even marketed as a healthy habit. When more was known, an expensive mitigation system was installed in the den at my childhood home to clean the air.
Many of the rooms in the house we bought were painted before the house went on the market. The rooms with wallpaper in them weren't. Those rooms were where I started to see the little signs that anyone in a house with smoking would recognize.
Note: these are old pictures...this stuff is gone now.
I cleaned with diluted bleach when we moved in, but last night, I brought out the big guns. I used a TSP alternative to clean the faux wood paneling in the basement. As the liquid ran down the wall, it turned brown. I sprayed and wiped and rinsed until my sponge stayed clean and I worried about how we are being affected by what's surrounding us. This is the room where we slept when the ceilings were refinished several weeks ago. This is the room where Baxter sleeps during the day. And, please forgive a moment of materialism, this is where my wedding gown is laid out while I decide if I can part with it or if I want to keep it.
I would love to actually decorate this house, but much of our energy (and money) is being put towards fixing things. The next big projects:
- fix the roof, which was installed improperly
- get the gutter system back in order (it was reconfigured and is causing erosion around the house)
- bring in a landscape architect to help us figure out how to fix the backyard to runoff doesn't affect our neighbors (the company that replaced the septic tank just threw a few bales of hay at the bottom of the yard, which didn't fix the problem they created)
- add the missing pressure regulator to the hot water tank and get a pan under the tank
- consult with a contractor about fixing the construction of the carport