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Home Improvement Project & PV=nRT

  1. Mar 6, 2015 #1
    I live in an attic apartment and have been suffering a problem lately. Convection seems to be pushing (nasty kitchen smelling) air up to my apartment from my neighbors who live below me in the same building. This nasty air current primarily seems to be coming from a specific crawl space inside my closet.

    Here's what I think might solve my problem & I am interested in alternate suggestions based on physics:

    My thinking is that if I increase the temperature in the closet and crawl space with a space heater and humidifier, I might be able to change the direction of the air current. PV=nRT suggests that pressure is proportional to temperature so by increasing the temperature, I think I can get the air to flow downward. I'm in the process of safely testing this theory.

    As someone who enjoys physics, I find this problem interesting, and figured others might as well.
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 6, 2015 #2


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    Without knowing details of the situation I'd guess heating the space will increase the problem. More heat means more buoyant forces and more upward flow, drawing even more air from below. I'd work on blocking the flow.
  4. Mar 6, 2015 #3
    I agree about the blocking the flow part. I went in there with Great Stuff, which is that spray-on expanding foam sold in hardware stores and sealed every substantial crevice I could find. Somehow, a draft still comes up! Not as bad as it was though.
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