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Ash Bridges

Cigar room advice

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Hey FOH people,

I'm looking at turning a pretty big room (~30'x15') into a smoking room. It's unfinished basement now so everything is on the table. I've read mixed reviews on the forum about air purifiers and so am thinking about doing an Energy Recovery Ventilator with maybe an additional exhaust fan or two. Does anyone have experience with something like this? Would you recommend it? I plan on spray-foaming the ceiling to keep my wife happy and would love thoughts on that as well.

Any thoughts or advice are very much appreciated! And obviously I'll host a Baltimore herf once it's done.

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There was a thread where a member converted a room into a smoking room/office including a humidor built into a closet.   Hopefully someone can post a link to it.   He set up an air system to deal with smoke I am fairly sure.

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When I was in college, I was a janitor at a local high school.  One of the rooms I had to clean was the teachers’ break room, which (in the before days) was code for a smoking lounge.  They had pretty big air purifier, about the size of a small fridge. I think it was one of those devices that electrostatically grabs airborne particles like dust, pollen, and of course smoke.  I think it also produced ozone (again, in the before days).  It worked OK, but walking into the lounge was like walking into a dive bar at 2am...except the teachers looked more haggard than bar patrons.

Keep us posted on what you decide.  I’m guessing that moving a lot of air outside, combined with whatever the best air filtration/purifier is allowed these days will be your best bet.  And whatever you can do to keep the room airtight?  Smoke is a sneaky bastard...

Good luck!
Wheezy

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I'd go heavy a barrier to keep smoke and smell getting out of the basement into the house & exhausts to move the smoke out on demand.  When done, you can circulate the air from outside.  I would avoid ozone and if you move the enough air through the room after it'll be fine in no time.

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On 10/16/2020 at 8:08 PM, BrightonCorgi said:

I'd go heavy a barrier to keep smoke and smell getting out of the basement into the house & exhausts to move the smoke out on demand.  When done, you can circulate the air from outside.  I would avoid ozone and if you move the enough air through the room after it'll be fine in no time.

@BrightonCorgi - yeah I think the purifiers that generate ozone are illegal now (or at least in Washington). 
 

Moving air...out with the bad, in with the good...is a pretty good strategy.

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Definitely want to foam the ceiling and walls, but that is best left to the pros.

Seal around the door and seal off or remove any hvac vents in the room.  Just use a portable space heater.

Might want to consider a negative pressure room as well

Just my opinion 

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Thanks all, great advice. Definitely sealing the room is priority 1. If I hotbox myself in cigar smoke, so be it. No one will yell at me if the basement alone is full of smoke all day every day.

It's amazing what talking to a few different contractors will yield. Some say a few exhaust fans and spray foam and it'll be no problem, some give detailed math and engineering to say I need a certain amount of negative pressure and that alone will prevent seepage. Some come in with both. 

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Use clothed cell phone in both the ceilings and the walls. I would only use a fresh air intake with exhaust system. if you were in a cold climate you will need a heater inside the fresh air intake. I live in the Midwest of the US and do not need A/C in my basement, I’m also outside in the summer months enjoying a cigar. I did heated floors in my lounge. A exterior sealed door with threshold. Carefully select the placement of your air intakes above the smokers heads. You want to vent the “dirty” air as soon as it leaves the smokers mouth(s). 

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14 hours ago, Ash Bridges said:

Thanks all, great advice. Definitely sealing the room is priority 1. If I hotbox myself in cigar smoke, so be it. No one will yell at me if the basement alone is full of smoke all day every day.

It's amazing what talking to a few different contractors will yield. Some say a few exhaust fans and spray foam and it'll be no problem, some give detailed math and engineering to say I need a certain amount of negative pressure and that alone will prevent seepage. Some come in with both. 

You do need negative pressure, I've noticed. What you need to be mindful of is the noise that creating this pressure will create. I have a large basement hooked up with two inline duct fans throwing 950 cam out of the basement. It's plenty of airflow but when cranked to full blast the damn thing is loud. I wish I walled off a smaller room to smoke in as I generally smoke in the same area of the basement anyway and rarely have more than one or two guests over making the massive system unnecessary. My wife and I are building a new home in a few years and my biggest takeaway is not to ventilate such a large space but instead do a study or library instead. If you plan on having a bunch of guys over frequently the. The larger space will be necessary but if it's just you and maybe one or two mates I'd say wa off a smaller section. 

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1 hour ago, dominattorney said:

You do need negative pressure, I've noticed. What you need to be mindful of is the noise that creating this pressure will create. I have a large basement hooked up with two inline duct fans throwing 950 cam out of the basement. It's plenty of airflow but when cranked to full blast the damn thing is loud. I wish I walled off a smaller room to smoke in as I generally smoke in the same area of the basement anyway and rarely have more than one or two guests over making the massive system unnecessary. My wife and I are building a new home in a few years and my biggest takeaway is not to ventilate such a large space but instead do a study or library instead. If you plan on having a bunch of guys over frequently the. The larger space will be necessary but if it's just you and maybe one or two mates I'd say wa off a smaller section. 

Thanks, that's really helpful. Do you bring fresh air into the room or just take air out?

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6 hours ago, Ash Bridges said:

Thanks, that's really helpful. Do you bring fresh air into the room or just take air out?

I currently crack a sliding door about an eigth of an inch. Fwiw I don't think that's necessary because of the way modern homes are ventilated with HVAC though I am no expert. If I had to do it all over and build from scratch with money as no object id probably bring air in to help with negative pressure. I'd also be sure to seal off any intake or cold air return vents in the smoking space. 

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I considered a similar project and although my budget wasn't infinite, I was willing to make a sizeable investment towards the indoor cigar room.  After talking with contractors and hearing different methodologies I determined that I couldn't be convinced that cigar smoke odor wouldn't reach the rest of the house.  And the whole project would have been worthless if I ever heard from my wife that she could smell cigar smoke.  The basement is tricky because the entire house sits above it and smoke tends to rise.  Maybe with an unlimited budget, it's possible to keep the smell out; I don't know.  If I had a bonus room or decent sized attic over my garage, I'd be much more inclined to carve out space there for a cigar room instead since it would be easier to ventilate and have limited exposure to the rest of the house.

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A friend has a cigar room with two 80CFM fans and a big key to keeping the smells from coming out is if the rest of the house has positive pressure going into that room.  Given the large size of your room, maybe put up another wall with an entrance into the actual smoking room?  That way on one side is the area to the stairs and beyond the wall is the cigar room.  Won't be 100% perfect but its a good start.  Maybe install a Rabbit Air unit in the common room to grab any smoke that escapes and "clean" it up.

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This set up works, but change based on budget, material availability, and need:

Negative air pressure room, vapor barrier and insulate the door, walls, floors, and ceilings. Remove all hvac ducts to the room, put in a separate hvac unit, panasonic 375-400cfm? exhaust fan in the room (overkill this-you might need a larger unit-some shit is good, more is always better), rabbit air on the wall near the door to prevent smoke odor leaving the room (overkill probably also, but again some shit is good, more is always better) vapor and insulated cedar lined closet with cedar shelves (bob staebel helped here), cellarpro cooling unit, and active humidification unit in the closet. Dont forget to line both the closet door and room door with insulation and vapor barrier. Vapor barrier floor inside closet as well. Run the temp in the closet at 60° because you can keep some wine in there as well. Lower temp for aging was better, but ymmv based on smoking/aging preference. Low 60s for RH was preferred as well. Leather furniture so it doesn’t absorb smell. 
 

Then have some kids after building the room and never be allowed to smoke inside anyways because you built it like 10 years ago. Other than that, best of luck and have fun. One other suggestion-have custom wallpaper printed with graphics of your choice. Didn’t do this back then and now too lazy to bother. Origin Design in NJ-have them ship the wallpaper to you and have your own guys install. 

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5 hours ago, Yellot00tr said:

Then have some kids after building the room and never be allowed to smoke inside anyways because you built it like 10 years ago. 

Yep....I know this story

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Not currently a home owner - but wouldn’t the most sensible, affordable and probably most effective solution be to build something entirely separate from the house?

You could build something elaborate or simply repurpose a prefab shed into a prefab smoking room.

All the privacy and quiet you could want and none of the smell in the rest of the house?


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33 minutes ago, Gorangutang said:

Not currently a home owner - but wouldn’t the most sensible, affordable and probably most effective solution be to build something entirely separate from the house?

You could build something elaborate or simply repurpose a prefab shed into a prefab smoking room.

All the privacy and quiet you could want and none of the smell in the rest of the house?


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At least where I am there is a definite and rather small (for these purposes) limit on the size of shed or structure you can build in your yard. If you want full comforts like TV and couches, it's probably not an option. Other options along these lines would be cover your deck or use the garage.

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At least where I am there is a definite and rather small (for these purposes) limit on the size of shed or structure you can build in your yard. If you want full comforts like TV and couches, it's probably not an option. Other options along these lines would be cover your deck or use the garage.

That’s a good point - hasn’t considered building regs.


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7 hours ago, Bijan said:

At least where I am there is a definite and rather small (for these purposes) limit on the size of shed or structure you can build in your yard. If you want full comforts like TV and couches, it's probably not an option. Other options along these lines would be cover your deck or use the garage.

This is a big part of why I can't really go this route. I don't have a garage and building one (which would be awesome) would require a long permitting process, totally redoing the driveway, doing at least 30k of site work, and that's before anything gets built. 

14 hours ago, Yellot00tr said:

Then have some kids after building the room and never be allowed to smoke inside anyways because you built it like 10 years ago.

Crossing my fingers this won't be an issue... we've got a three year old already and my wife still seems onboard. For now at least.

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