Real World airflow problem: countering inflow of cigarette smoke

Jun 2017
Dear Ladies and Gentlemen!


I would like to ask about my real world problem. I live in an apartment house, first floor. My neighbor has his west side balcony 1.5 meters from mine. The balcony is cca 3 meters wide and 1.4 meters deep. My door is on the right part of the longer side. The left short side is a wall. The outside and right sides have an armholder and below it a 0,4 cm material grid cca 4x8 centimeters grid. At summertime when in the city warmth gets unbearable I open my balcony doors to make the air flow during night 22-6 hours to cool down the apartment the cheapest way (also no AC in my 97 square meters 3 meters high apartment). To make most of the airflow I also open the east side balcony door. both doors cca 1x2 meters.

This worked for me for 30 years. Now I have a new neighbor who is a chainsmoker and is smoking on his balcony between 22-03 hrs with 1/1,5/2/2,5 hr intervals. Iw ake up, swear, close the door as fast as possible. He is not willing to cooperate to agree on safe hours for me to vent out my flat. The executive legal options are too weak in my country however theoretically law should defend my 4 month old son from my neighbor doing what he is doing, but there are legal technical rules missing for its enforcement currently. For now I have to find some other way to prevent his smoke entering my flat.

As far as I know the heated up apartment air has lower pressure and the higher pressure outside night air is always flowing towards inside, however there usually is some crosswind involved between the two doors, which ones mechanics is off my chart. (would be nice to know what is expectedly happening there, was never interested to check for airflow directions and strength before but now I am almost fearing to open the balcony near the neighbor)

My ideas so far:
- use some automated feedback based on a movement sensor and a timer relay to trigger something that would prevent the smoke entering my flat; a different option woulld use a presence sensor; another option would be a smoke detector sensor

On Topic

The automated intervention method to prevent smoke originating from neighbor balcony:

- use some passive elements to deter the airflow originating from my neighbor, adding a plexiglass wall to my right side <- I am doubtful of this because I think my balcony door works like a cigarette smoke "vacuum cleaner" and sucking most of it into my apartment, I do not think that wall would do much to prevent this, but maybe there is some special form that would prevent the smoke coming from right entering my flat.. no idea

- use something that in case the sensor activates, breaks the flow
-- I have a 4 months old son, an automated door closing mechanism could be problematic with a small child
-- install a decent capacity fan that temporarily prevents air entering the apartment through the "hostile" balcony door
--- placing a fan inside room, targeting the balcony door, like firefighters are venting a room from smoke after a fire event (good question would be what air transfer capacity fan would enough for this given the height of the door, to prevent the smoke to enter... and how loud this would be to avert waking up those sleeping)
--- placing a fan to the left side of the balcony, practically targeting the smoker's balcony, forming an opposing airflow (how effective would this be against the smoke entering my flat, what air transfer capacity would be enough in this case?)
-- what else could work?

- a totally different approach would require some renovating, installing a multi split AC, reversible direction pipe ventilators into rooms, which could be automatically reversed in case during night there is someone on the balcony
-- installing the pipe vents is the easy pasrt, giving them power (leading cables there while living inside the flat), and also building out cables for automation is more heavy and less friendly to living inside. Also if I want my AC run on cheaper price per kwh I have to build a brand new separate wlwctric cabling to it, even more mess in the apartment
--hence this, installing an AC and pipe vents is incredibly more messy than another solution, but if we do not find any other good solution this will have to go. Although before spending that much money, I am looking for alternative smart solutions.

btw AFAIK filtering out cigarette smoke is hopeless.

Yes there are venting firms which all claim that their product will do the job I just should buy and install it, just sell-sell, but I am interested on a more theoretical feedback, on what could work here.

Requesting informative answers