You can be absolutely certain that every building leaks air (Check out this Video). What’s less clear cut is where those leaks are. So what’s our approach? As we make buildings airtight, we often go through them with a smoker in order to root out the largest air leaks.

How The Smoker Works

To use the smoker we first set up a blower door and put positive pressure on the building, forcing air out of all of the gaps, cracks, and holes. Then the fun starts. As we go around with the smoker, the smoke gets sucked into each problem area and disappears into the wall or ceiling cavity.

So why do we do this? How does it help us make a building airtight?

Using the smoker helps take the guesswork out of sealing a building. Once we know where all of the major air leaks are in a building, we know exactly what we’re sealing and how effective our approach will be.



Sealing Pesky Leaks

AeroBarrier can seal openings up to 1/2″ wide, so we have to ensure that there aren’t any large, gaping holes in the building’s envelope. If we find some (and we do, all the time), then those holes need to be addressed in order for AeroBarrier to be most effective–especially if we are making the building really airtight.

We’ve smoked every type of building, from tiny apartments to large commercial spaces, and these are the most common problem areas that we’ve found:

  • Drywall cutouts, usually from electrical and plumbing penetrations
  • Can lights
  • Where the rim joists meet the exterior wall
  • Door & window trim
  • Floor trim (where the drywall meets the bottom plate)
  • Stairs over a garage (these are really common in townhouses)
  • Party walls / shared walls (like walls shared with garages or between units)


One of AeroBarrier’s ‘magical’ qualities is that it self-seeks all of the air leaks. Just like the smoke is drawn to the air leaks in this video, the AeroBarrier sealant also gets sucked out by the leaks. As it does, the sealant accumulates and eventually plugs the hole.

The smoker is one of the tools that helps take the guesswork out of air sealing, and allows us to seal buildings so quickly.

If you’ve got a project that you’d like to talk about, feel free to call or email us at (800) 693.2376 or [email protected].