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“has anyone used positive pressure to keep cigarette smoke out of a rowhouse?”

by Prince Of Petworth February 1, 2017 at 12:30 pm 5 Comments

Photo by PoPville flickr user John Cochran

“Dear PoPville,

I was wondering if any of your readers have used positive pressure to keep cigarette smoke from neighbors out of their rowhouse. I know you have discussed neighbors’ smoke seeping into adjacent rowhouses before, and I have tried many of the suggestions from your readers, like plugging outlets, caulking, and using HEPA filters, but there is often still cigarette smoke coming into my house from the neighboring rowhouse. I do not have an HVAC system (I have window units and radiators), but I was thinking of installing one to create positive pressure in my house, which I’ve read about online as a possible solution to smoke coming through walls. Has anyone actually tried this and had success?”

  • AdmoDan

    No experience personally, but unless you’re in new construction or have had serious insulation/energy audit work done, you’ll be looking at having to do major weather sealing before you have any chance of success.

    • textdoc

      Maybe an energy audit would be a good step for the OP, if the auditor can determine where the specific “leak spots” are in the party wall?
      I suspect major weather-sealing would come out a LOT cheaper than an installing an HVAC system, especially if the OP is otherwise content with the window units/radiators status quo.

  • ANON

    I have done just this. Before my son was born i could smell pot smoke in the room we designated as the nursery, from my next door neighbor (a guy i like, but don’t appreciate the pot smoke of course).

    After installing a window unit and caulking the baseboards I haven’t smelled it a single time in the baby’s room. It could be the baby crying next to his bedroom wall caused him to smoke elsewhere, :) but I believe the positive pressure created by his window unit was what was causing it in the first place. Counteracting that with my own window unit has worked so far (1 year) for me.

    • urbanengineer

      Typical window units do not bring in outdoor air. They just recirculate air in the space. This doesn’t positively pressurize the space.

  • Thought

    You can buy a thermal leak detector on Amazon for $30… Great place to start. It will pay for it itself with all the leaks you find around the house.


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