Odors from roof cavity
This is an unusual situation. I live in an old mid-rise brick building with a flat black rubber roof which was replaced 4 years ago. Ever since it was replaced we’ve had a strong adhesive-like chemical odor in part of our unit (top floor) during the warmer months, especially on hot sunny days but not exclusively. Bad enough that we avoid the room. Had the air tested and there are elevated VOC levels when the odor is present. We’ve gone through several rounds of trying to figure out the exact source of these fumes but without getting really invasive/destructive it’ll be all but impossible to find it. So, we’re going to try ventilating the roof just above our unit, in hopes of changing the air pressure so any nasty air goes out rather than in.
My question is: in order to be as sure as we can that this will be fixed, are we better off installing solar powered roof turbines, or passive ones? Do they still operate well enough passively on cloudy days? Or if we install the solar vents and it turns out they’re overkill, would they still work well passively if the fans were turned off? For red-tape reasons, it’s critically important that we fix this on the first try.
Also, I know powered vents can suck some air-conditioned air out of the interior and thus decrease efficiency: this is of FAR less concern to me than making sure the fumes aren’t getting into the interior.
I know there are other things to do – better insulation, vapor barriers, etc. – but for various reasons all other options have been decided against (too long to explain). Just want to find out whether we should spring for the powered vents or plain unpowered turbines.
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