Smoke Pencil Puffer Research

January/February 2010
A version of this article appears in the January/February 2010 issue of Home Energy Magazine.
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January 07, 2010
I am a manufacturer’s representative for Chimney Balloon USA. Since Chimney Balloons are air sealing devices for the fireplace, I use a smoke pencil to exhibit the effectiveness of this product. I conducted an informal evaluation of three common types of smoke pencil to select one to complement the Chimney Balloon product line. I hope the information I gathered is helpful to anyone involved in air sealing work, blower door and Duct Blaster testing, or just detecting drafts. I decided to test three common types of smoke pencils that do not require flame to ignite or maintain their smoke. I purchased two of them for the test and borrowed one from an insulation contractor customer. The smoke pencils were tested in a low-light fireplace flue application, in a bright-light window and door application, and in a medium-light garage application to see how visible the smoke was, how it reacted to air currents, how easy the pencil was to operate, and if the smoke was a sensory irritant in a closed in space. Acid-Based Smoke Puffers The most common acid-based smoke puffers are the Retrotec and TT Smoke Sticks. These operate on a mixture of acids that create the ...

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