As winter kicks into high gear here in Wisconsin, it’s time for us to change the filter on our heater.

We didn’t want to turn on our heat until the filter had been changed. We knew it would burn the dust buildup — as it does every year when we turn it on for the first time — but the current filter also had three months’ worth of secondhand smoke.

When we first moved in, it was made clear to us that smoking is allowed. Despite this, we were assured that no two apartments share air ducts; we would never be constantly exposed to another tenant’s secondhand smoke.

For the majority of the time we’ve lived in our apartment, we have indeed been able to smell our immediate neighbor’s cigarette smoke. The apartment manager told us that should be impossible. She was herself a smoker, and so did not notice the smell in our apartment.

The manager, I’m happy to say, has since given up smoking. After being several months free of cigarettes, she came into our apartment to take a look at something unrelated to the secondhand smoke… and immediately commented on it, wrinkling her nose at the smell. “It smells like cigarettes in here!” she said.

Our reaction.

Our chain-smoking neighbor has since moved out. The new neighbor is not a smoker. (They do yell a lot, but that’s a different rant.) In point of fact, our complex has recently updated its policy, stating that new tenants may not smoke inside the building. (Current tenants are grandfathered in, being permitted to continue smoking until their leases are renewed.)

We recently replaced the florescent bulbs in our two living room lamps with LED bulbs, and added a third LED lamp as well. (Fun side note: that lamp is a repurposed smart plug that we can control either by voice or phone app.)

The three LED lamps make the living room brighter, giving it a more natural light. Unfortunately, they also make plain the years’ exposure to secondhand smoke. The florescent bulbs gave a yellower light, hiding the yellowing upon the walls from cigarette smoke. The LED bulbs expose it.

Husband. Daddy. Programmer. Artist. I'm not an expert, I just play one in real life.