Our family owns a small piece of property next to the lake just north of the city.
- It’s about a 50 minute drive from our house.
This cottage has been in the family for three generations, and has been used as a trip spot for the relatives. Even though it is really close, we don’t go out there more than once or twice a year. During the COVID pandemic, it wound up sitting empty for almost 20 months. At least we thought it had been sitting empty. When we finally went back out there, we found that it had not been empty during that time. Squatters had moved in. They were long gone by this point, but the impression they left on the air quality was hard to miss. They made use of the fireplace, and never cleaned out any of the ashes. This made the cottage smell awful. On top of that, they had obviously been smoking cigarettes, too, which further depleted the indoor air quality. We opened the cottage up to get the maximum amount of natural ventilation but that wasn’t nearly enough. We had to drive back into town and buy 5 media air cleaners to leave in odd rooms. While those machines were toiling on cleaning the air, we set to work cleaning out the brick fireplace, which was in ruins. It turns out these people had also cooked food in the fireplace, leaving rotten food scraps buried under the ashes. We hope we can rectify the situation, and make our cottage livable once again.