My family owns a small piece of property next to the lake just north of the city.
It’s about a 45 minute drive from our house. This place has been in the family for three generations, and has always been used as a vacation spot for the relatives. Even though it is very close, I don’t go out there more than once or twice a year. During the COVID pandemic it wound up sitting empty for almost 18 months! At least we thought it had been sitting empty. When I finally went back out there I found that it had not been empty during that time, and squatters had moved in! They were long gone by this point, but the impression they left on the air quality was very strong. They made use of the fireplace, and not cleaned out any of the ashes, either, which made the cabin smell very foul. On top of that they had obviously been smoking cigarettes, too, which further depleted the indoor air quality. I opened the place up to get the maximum amount of natural ventilation but that wasn’t nearly enough. I had to drive back into town and buy two different air purifiers to leave in different rooms. While those machines were working on cleaning the air, I 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. I hope I can rectify the situation and make my cabin livable once again.