Smoke Pencil: What it is and How it Helps Save Energy

Smoke Pencil
Image courtesy of Suwit Ritjaroon /
While it may sound like the latest craze in runway makeup, the smoke pencil has benefits far beyond the superficial.

What does it do?

Resembling a gadget straight out of a 1980’s sci-fi flick, this battery-operated machine uses smoke to help homeowners and HVAC contractors find air leaks and drafts in the home. To use this device, turn on the smoke stick in the area you suspect of leaks and watch the movement of the smoke to determine if there are any cracks, gaps, and the like.

How does this help me save energy and money?

Putting a smoke pencil to use will help you locate one of the biggest, silent problems on your energy bill: air leaks. Drafts, air leaks, gaps and little cracks:

  • Serve as a “vacant” sign for critters
  • Allow air to flow in and out of your home – leading to an inconsistency of comfort during extreme weather seasons
  • Cause you to lower/raise the thermostat to create a feeling of balance in the home – as your energy bill rises creating a feeling of hostility towards your energy provider

Once the smoke puffer has located the problem areas, you can get to work insulating your home and lowering your energy needs. A properly sealed house can slice 20% or more from your energy bill.

Is it safe for a homeowner to use, or only energy professionals?

There are different types of smoke sticks, and some use dangerous chemicals to produce smoke. The smoke pencil pro is actually very safe for anyone to use. The smoke is made of Glycol and Glycerin vapor that is not toxic and actually gives off a sweet smell. No protective gear is needed to operate this smoke machine, and you can produce as much or as little smoke as you need without the worry of toxins and pollutants entering your system (at least not from the smoke stick).

What accessories do I need in order to make the most use of it?

At the most basic level you need:

  • The smoke pencil
  • Batteries to operate it, and
  • The smoke liquid

You would also need a screwdriver or something to open the area where the batteries are placed in the machine. If you want more control over the smoke, like a smaller stream to come through the smoke puffer, you would need an adapter tip. All of these accessories (with an added carrying case) can be found in a field kit if you don’t want to purchase them separately.

Finding air leaks has never been more important for your home’s comfort level, energy usage, and the numbers after a dollar sign on your energy bill – benefits that go way beyond the superficial.

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