Yes your house will smell like Famous Daves or your favorite BBQ smoked food place. I'm not sure why this is a "bad" thing. I cook soup, house smells like soup, bread, house smells like bread, steak.. well you get the idea.. thats what happens when you cook.
TIP: Make sure to wash everything as soon as it cools, then put a coffee mug or bowl of white vinegar on the counter overnight and it absorbs most of the "odor".. if you dont desire the smell.
And about that cleaning, I have used mine a 20+ times and no paint has come off yet, however if it does, it is a smoker and withstands a lot of heat, so I won't be too disappointed. It states in the instructions to line the drip pan with foil; however, I don't think that it specifies the bottom. WRAP FOIL AROUND THE BOTTOM OF THE DRIP PAN! If you don't, it will be difficult to clean. As far as I am concerned, this is as close to an indoor BBQ device as can be, and I'm not going to scrub all the little black dots off the inside of my outdoor grill.. Clean it yes, make it look brand new every time.. hardly. I use an SOS pad on the bottom of the drip pan and the inside of the kettle cooker (NOT ON THE FOOD TRAY!!!!) and it works just fine in cleaning. This IS a smoker and much of that residue on the inside is treasured "flavor" much like you would season a cast iron skillet. In fact the more I use mine the easier and better it gets. Most smoker's require you to "season" it anyway.
It is easier to use on gas than electric. I took mine to a friend's house to BBQ ribs and she has electric. My drip pan did scorch very badly (beyond repair). If you use electric MAKE SURE to not turn the heat more than medium, and babysit it well the first couple of uses until you "learn" the cooker and settings. I went to the Nordic Ware website and emailed the company requesting to purchase an additional drip pan due to the damage I caused to it. They responded very quickly and are sending me a replacement drip pan for FREE!!! Whooooo KUDOS to Nordic Ware for that.
I will say that I took a star away for the fact that removing the food tray is difficult if you need to remove it during cooking for anything. In fact, it is difficult to remove period, hot or cold.
I have read many comments about the wood chips burning up too quickly and the smoker only giving a mild smoke flavor. The chips are only needed to burn out once, you don't have to keep adding more. The instructions say to use a small amount; too small of an amount in my opinion. I use more chips than they recommend, about a 1/4 cup. This is really just going to depend on how "strong" you want the smoke flavor to be, as well as, what you are cooking. You also should close the vents completely for dry smoking and most of the way for wet smoking to retain the smoke inside the smoker so that it is in the meat/food and not the house. The most important thing is to not open it for at least the first 30-45 minutes, or until the chips have burned and the meat has absorbed all of the smoke.
When cooking with this smoker, use the recipe book as a guideline, not literally. Most everything I have made so far cooks in significantly less time than that listed in the recipe book that comes with it. As with most things, you have to learn how to use it and what you like by trial and error. So far, even when I have made mistakes (when I scorched my drip pan), the meat still comes out juicy, tender, and tasty. I don't recommend "wet" smoking anything. I have tried this several times and have not appreciated the results much at all. The meat tastes just like it sounds like it would... like "wet" smoke which isn't very appealing to my pallet. It is still tender and juicy either way.
Thanks for reading.. It's a great smoker, I have fallen in love and I have a feeling my outdoor grill will be somewhat neglected this summer.