Whether you’re looking to build out a man-cave or you want to enjoy a quiet moment in your study, cigars can produce significant smoke and residual odours. This might bother you or your loved ones so you’ll need to find a solution for ventilating the room or filtering the air.
In this particular guide, you will learn about the different ways to ventilate a room for cigar smoke:
- Choosing Your Cigar Room
- What Are Air Purifiers?
- Air Purifiers Vs. Smoke Eaters
- Exhaust Fans For Smoke
- HVAC Systems For Smoke
- Open Windows
- Air-Purifying Plants
- Smoke-Resistant Furnishings
- Smoke-Resistant Wallpaper
- Sealing The Room
- Fire Precautions
You can use the links above to jump ahead. Otherwise, scroll to read more!
Discover The Best Air Purifiers
Choose The Room Best Adapted For Cigar Smoke
First of all, if you haven’t already chosen the room that will be used as a den or private cigar lounge, it’s worth taking time to consider a few factors beforehand.
In short, you’ll need a room that’s somehow isolated from the house. By this, we mean one that isn’t central to the home with multiple doors, which would give plenty of routes for the smoke to escape. Therefore, a room at the edge of the house is often the best option.
Similarly, it’s ideal if it isn’t connected to any existing duct networks such as an HVAC system. Instead, it should have its own external ventilation such as an exhaust fan or simply a window. Nevertheless, there are ways to seal off the ducts as we’ll explain below.
Even if you invest in some of the systems highlighted below, we still highly recommend a room with a window. While these devices will try to clean or extract the air, a window will be able to bring in the fresh air. Preferably, it should not be directly under a bedroom window as the smoke may creep back into the house!
Basements are a popular choice because they’re regarded as out of the way and discrete. However, we’re not fans of basement man-caves for the simple reason that there are few ventilation options.
Of course, you can have a small window near the ceiling or even an exhaust fan. However, since they’re so low to the ground and under the ground-floor windows, the smoke will often rise back into the house! This is why we would ideally prefer an attic as the smoke will rise well outside of the house.
Design The Room Around The Humidor
Although not strictly related to protecting your den from cigar smoke, this is occasionally overlooked by some enthusiasts. Indeed, you’ll furnish and decorate the whole room and once finished, you’ll suddenly realise that there either isn’t space for a humidor or it doesn’t blend in.
Alternatively, it just about squeezes in but ends up being in an awkward place!
Therefore, when arranging and preparing a room for smoking, we like to first decide where we place the humidor and then work the room around in. Although we’re big fans of DIY humidors like coolidors, this is the one occasion where it’s the last thing that we’d want.
Of course, we appreciate that everyone has a budget. Nevertheless, our favourite and the best-rated humidor is only $75! Of course, don’t forget to properly season it if it’s brand new and install a quality humidifier so the cigars are kept fresh and ready to use.
Otherwise, it’s a great opportunity to invest in a large cigar cabinet as it will be the room’s centrepiece.
We’re personally particularly fond of using Boveda packs, especially in a wooden desktop humidor. They also work very well in cigar coolers too. Depending on how often you’ll be in the room, they’re fantastic little humidity devices that require no maintenance or recharging.
Furthermore, they offer two-way humidification thanks to their reverse osmosis membrane. This means that they release moisture when necessary but absorb excess humidity when it goes over the desired level.
Finally, you can even set up the humidor with a smart sensor like the Boveda Butler rather than a digital hygrometer. These devices allow you to track and record the humidity level and temperature even way out of the house!
What Are Air Purifiers?
One of the most common choices for ventilating a cigar den or smoking room is an air purifier. Available in a variety of shapes and sizes, some can be discreetly fitted to the wall while others can be moved around on wheels.
A good-quality air purifier is quiet yet powerful, which means that it’s ideal for a small cigar room. When people talk about air purifiers, they’re typically referring to High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters.
These devices use a ventilator to suck air through a filter, which is constructed of fibres that will absorb particles. A purifier may consist of several filters of different sizes, which ensures that all the odour-carrying particles are properly captured as air passes through them.
However, the market is becoming increasingly saturated with small and cheap HEPA air purifiers. Although they’re designed to capture pollen or just circulate air around the room to reduce dust, they’re rarely effective in eliminating cigar smoke.
Therefore, head to our dedicated air purifier guide to learn how to choose one and the best models to buy. Otherwise, Your Elegant Bar is an excellent retailer that we recommend for quality air purifiers.
Air Purifiers Vs. Electronic Smoke Eaters
Although often confused with air purifiers, smoke eaters are an entirely different approach to cleaning the air in an enclosed space. Rather than using filters, particles sucked through the device are given an electrostatic charge.
This process allows the smoke eater to capture pollutants in the air such as chemicals and smoke. Typically, they’re used commercially and can be found in garages and workshops for removing paint fumes and metallic debris.
However, they can also be found in many office spaces and restaurants as well. In some cases, smoke eaters are designed to be inserted between ceiling tiles. Meanwhile, others can be attached to hard ceilings, too.
Either way, smoke eaters are self-contained like air purifiers, which means that they don’t require ventilation ducts. Occasionally, smoke eaters will use pre-filters for absorbing additional impurities and smells.
The greatest advantage of using a smoke eater is that they’re designed to operate in large open spaces. Similarly, they don’t rely on filters, which means that nothing needs replacing over time. Nevertheless, smoke eaters do need to be regularly cleaned to remove the dirt that it captures.
Exhaust Fans For Cigar Smoke
Like we said earlier, why try to purify the air when you can simply extract it? Indeed, exhaust fans are a great alternative to pricey purifiers and may even offer you a better long-term return.
In some cases, installing an extractor fan as you have in your kitchen can actually be cheaper than some of the heavy-duty purifiers we listed above. However, this largely depends on the project that you have in mind.
Generally, exhaust fans are best suited to smaller rooms such as studies, workshops, and garages.
Similarly, you’d need to be at the edge of the house and fans should ideally be installed far from a window to avoid the smoke blowing back inside. Hiring a contractor will naturally increase costs. However, if you’re handy at DIY, it’s a perfectly achievable home project.
There are plenty of exhaust fan configurations such as ceiling systems via an attic, through-the-wall, or even window box fans. While the latter is the cheapest and potentially easiest to install, we like using a window to work with the exhaust fan. Therefore, we tend to opt for through-the-wall systems.
Given that exhaust fans offer proper ventilation and don’t require filters that need changing, it’s a permanent solution. As they’re integrated into the room, they don’t take space either.
Usually, a 250 CFM wall exhaust fan should be more than enough for a 120 ft² (11 m²) room. However, if you have multiple friends with you that are all smoking cigars, you may want to consider something above 500 CFM.
Finally, if you want to do this yourself, this Old House produced an excellent video and guide on how to install a through-the-wall fan. Meanwhile, Home RenoVision DIY has a much more intense albeit very professional video for ceiling exhaust fans.
HVAC System For Cigar Smoke
Most homes in the USA use a shared HVAC air handling system for central heating, which is actually quite rare in Europe. As we explain later in this guide, if your smoking room is part of the home HVAC network, it can be disastrous as it will then distribute the smoke around the entire house.
As such, we talk about sealing it off. However, you can instead consider creating an independent standalone HVAC system just for your smoking room. Of course, this is a much more expensive option of at least $5,000.
Nevertheless, it provides you with an efficient ventilation solution for your room that will also provide heat and comfort when needed.
Running On Windows
Whatever ventilation configuration you choose, never underestimate the compatibility of windows! In fact, if you properly seal the room using the steps we explain below, a window can be perfectly sufficient on its own to extract the cigar smoke.
In fact, if you’re on a really tight budget, simply get a simple oscillating fan and place it so it’s just pointing out of the window. Like this, it will just blow the smoke out of the room rather than into the house!
However, this is less than ideal during winter and relying on just a window can quickly turn a relaxing cigar experience into a trembling nightmare filled with regret. You can always try to counteract this by turning up the heating, but it will be expensive and won’t stop the cold breeze from coming in.
Therefore, a window is instead best used to complement your system either during or after having smoked the cigars. Since extractors and purifiers don’t bring in any fresh air, it can quickly get musty when relying just on these. Therefore, a window can help air circulate even just left slightly ajar.
Once the cigars are finished, you can leave the room with the extractor or purifier on and the window wide open. If the room’s properly sealed, it won’t be a huge insulation issue and will allow air to quickly circulate and clear out the room.
Likewise, an open window makes a phenomenal difference in removing stale tobacco odours while extractors and purifiers may struggle.
Plants For Purifying Air From Smoke
If there’s enough light in your den, we’d also recommend that it’s worth adding a few plants. Not only will this brighten the room but certain plants will help naturally cleanse the air. Similarly, they’ll filter out other toxins and can help in reducing the residual smell.
Of course, they won’t work alone but they can complement your other ventilation solutions. On top of that, they’re perfectly natural and have their own psychological benefits.
Indeed, there are a number of excellent evergreen indoor plants that can clean carbon monoxide and other toxins:
- Ficus Elastica (Rubber Fig)
- Dracaena Trifasciata (Snake Plant)
- Chlorophytum Comosum (Spider Plant)
- Schefflera Arboricola (Umbrella Tree)
- Aglaonema spp. (Chinese Evergreen)
- Chrysalidocarpus Lutescens (Bamboo Palm)
- Epipremnum Aureum (Golden Pathos)
The above plants help clean the air in environments where cigars are often smoked by absorbing chemicals. This includes carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide as well as benzene, formaldehyde, and toluene.
Furthermore, the above plants are very low-maintenance and thrive with just a little bit of water and decent indirect light. Occasionally, you can just give them a clean with a damp sponge to remove dust. Like us, they also love beer so you can use that instead of water when cleaning them for extra shine!
Smoke Resistant Furnishings
When decorating your den, be mindful of the furnishings that you will include and how they may absorb cigar smoke.
Indeed, fabrics can easily absorb cigar smoke and cause the odour to linger almost indefinitely. While most blankets and pillows can be easily cleaned, curtains, rugs, and even couches can be a nightmare to launder.
Although some air freshener sprays can help in hiding bad odours, they’re not effective at removing them completely. Therefore, try to avoid using too many textiles and fabrics and focus on materials that won’t absorb smoke like wood, metal, leather, and ceramics.
For instance, you can opt for tiles or a hardwood floor instead of a carpet. If you need to add a little warmth, a few machine-washable rugs should do the trick and save you from laundry bills. Bear in mind, though, that they will also be prime targets for ash and spilt drinks!
However, if you have a carpet and can’t consider changing the floor, just make sure that you vacuum and wash it regularly to get rid of ash, smoke smells, and stains.
You can also buy a leather couch rather than a textile one, which is more fitting for a smoking room anyway! Similarly, blinds instead of curtains may be a safer bet. Since these are near the windows, they will actually be exposed to the most smoke.
Smoke Resistant Wallpaper
Something that we often overlook is the effects of cigar smoke on wallpaper. When nicotine reacts to humidity and heat, it becomes a volatile substance. Although a naturally colourless substance in a liquid state at -10°C (14°F), it reacts under UV light to become a viscous resin that can easily bond to surfaces.
Consequently, wallpaper and paint may turn yellow over time when exposed to regular amounts of cigar smoke. Therefore, you need to opt for wallpapers that are graded with excellent resistance to light.
Similarly, they should be relatively easy to clean by offer water and scrub resistance. This will allow you to also remove any lingering smells after an intensive cigar night with some buddies. Additionally, you can seal your walls with transparent latex paint to add an extra protective film.
Needless to say, nicotine stains will be less visible on darker wallpaper. Likewise, avoid thick fabric wallpaper, which will easily absorb the smell.
Finally, you can also buy anti-odour and humidity-resistant wall paint that is often used in kitchens. This can be quite handy when decorating your den.
Seal The Room
Once you’ve found the best room for smoking cigars, it’s important to then isolate it from the rest of the house. Anyone with experience in DIY or plumbing knows that if water can find a way to leak through a gap, it’s a certainty that it will do so.
Needless to say, the same applies to smoke and air to a much greater degree! You can guarantee if there’s a crack, however small, the smoke will find it and spread into the house.
If the room is connected to your home’s HVAC system, the first step will be to cut it off to this room. However, even with it switched off, smoke will still find its way into the house through the ducts. Therefore, you’ll need to seal it one way or another.
Most modern HVAC systems have supply and return vents. Arguably, it’s fine to keep the supply running as it only brings air in. However, the return vent sends air back into the house so you’ll want to cover this at the very least.
Similarly, some older houses will have plenty of nooks and crannies where smoke can circulate. These can be challenging to seal but there are always plenty of solutions such as insulation foam, which will be the most effective for filling gaps.
How To Seal The Door To Stop Smoke
Similarly, one of the biggest culprits for letting smoke escape is the doorway. Even if your door is brand new, there’s often a generous gap underneath, which allows air to circulate around the house. While this is usually beneficial for your home, it’s the complete opposite of what you want on this occasion!
One of the easiest albeit inelegant ways to seal these cracks is with duct tape. This works particularly well on vents but may not be overly effective with a door that you’ll want to use.
Instead, the doorway can be lined with a rubber gasket in a similar way to building a coolidor and isn’t overly different from how a fridge is sealed. This particular step isn’t invasive, barely noticeable, and can be very effective if done well.
Furthermore, it’s an easy procedure that needs only a length of rubber and glue gun. Similarly, you can buy rubber gaskets for doors that are already prepared with adhesive in most DIY stores. You can even buy large quantities of gasket tape on Amazon.
Draft Stoppers For Under The Door
Meanwhile, you can probably guess that you can’t really add a gasket to the foot of the door. However, there are other ways of achieving this. The easiest and cheapest way is to simply roll up a towel and stuff it in the gap.
Yet, you can imagine that it’s a rustic approach and the towel will likely get kicked around when people are coming in or out.
Alternatively, you can consider old-fashioned draft stoppers like your grandmother used to use at home. This traditional approach can be quite decorative and there are a number of styles available online. Not only can it be effective but it adds a nice finishing touch to your den.
Similarly, there are more modern draft stoppers made from rubber or fabric that can be placed under the door itself. These provide the best seal as not only do they go under the door but they are double-sided. They’re also quite convenient as you don’t have to remove them to use the door!
The last item that we’d like to touch on may seem a little strange. After all, cigar smokers are fully aware that their stogies go out rather than continue to burn like cigarettes.
Nevertheless, fires do happen and it’s worth taking precautions given that you will be in an enclosed and relatively airtight space.
Since a fire alarm inside the room won’t be particularly convenient as it will just go off every time more than one cigar is smoked, place one outside the room instead. Therefore, if there’s a real fire, it will be detected since this quantity of smoke will surely escape the room.
Similarly, consider investing in a small fire extinguisher of at least 2.5 lb that can be discretely tucked away behind the couch but easy enough to access in an emergency. You never know!
Firstly, did we miss anything out? Feel free to let us know in the comments below! Otherwise, now that you’ve learned all about air purifiers and smoking room ventilation, why don’t you also check out our related guides below?