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How can I change the airflow under a hotel room door to the hall?

  1. Dec 28, 2013 #1
    I spend a lot of time in hotel rooms around the world and the US. The biggest problem I have is with cigarette smoke that comes in to my room from the hallway and other rooms. The smoke generally enters my room through the space at the bottom of the door and through the space on the sides. I've noticed that usually there is a draft of air that comes in to the room from those spaces around the door.

    I was wondering if adjusting the temperature in the room could change the airflow so the smoke would not enter the room but stay in the halls.

    Does the airflow under the door have anything to do with pressure or temperature in the room? Should I make the room hotter or colder then the hallway? Should the fan or aircon in the room be on or off? If there is a window that opens to the outside (not usually) should that be opened or closed? And would altitude (floor number) matter with the window?

    Thanks. :-)
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 28, 2013 #2


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    A towel along the bottom of the door works for me.

    However, if smoke becomes a problem, in many areas of the US, it is now illegal to smoke indoors. If there is a smoker's convention outside your door in the hallway, I would complain to the management of the hotel or reserve a room in the non-smoking part of the hotel.
  4. Dec 28, 2013 #3
    A towel might works for the bottom, but the sides are still drafty. Air/Smoke is insidious and will travel if there is an opening. In Vegas management won't do anything. And in Asia/South America/Eastern Europe everyone smokes everywhere.

    In the last 8 years I've done every towel trick and manager complaint you can possibly imagine. I've run out of options. Now I'm hoping science will help.
  5. Dec 28, 2013 #4


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    In all hotels I have been, smoking is strictly prohibited everywhere, as they have smoke alarms.
  6. Dec 28, 2013 #5
    Anything that makes the air around the door area cold should help. This will increase the density of the air and generally the air should move outwards rather than in. How easily could you get hold of some dry ice?
  7. Dec 28, 2013 #6
    Why don't you just bring a roll of wide masking tape and tape up the door?
    Other than that, the bathroom exhaust fans usually suck in. Turn them off.
  8. Dec 28, 2013 #7
    Air flows from high pressure to low one since the pressure of cold air is more than that of hot air, cooling the room could be a solution
  9. Dec 28, 2013 #8
    Not necessarily. Gravity winds and the downward segment of Hadley cells are two exceptions that come readily to mind.
  10. Dec 28, 2013 #9


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    If the pressure inside the hotel room is constant there must be a similar volume of air escaping from the room as entering under the door. Find out how the air is getting out of the room and you might have the answer.

    For example if the air is being sucked out via the air conditioning system then turning the aircon off might work.

    I suppose you could fit a fan in the window and use it to pressurise the room slightly but that probably wouldn't be very practical :-)

    Try asking for a room on the upwind side of the building and leave the window open slightly?
  11. Dec 28, 2013 #10

    Masking tape is my newest trick, but it only works when you don't want to leave or enter the room again for a while.

    And the bathroom fan is a good point. Thanks.

    Dry ice, no. But cooling the room with the air-conditioning is what I'll have to do. I'll try to make the room cooler than the halls. That's what I was looking for. Thanks!
  12. Dec 29, 2013 #11


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    How about wearing a face mask with a good filter?
  13. Dec 30, 2013 #12
    Someone else suggested a higher floor with the window open, but wouldn't cause a vacuum and pull the air out?
  14. Dec 30, 2013 #13


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    If you are referring to my post I didn't say "higher" I said "upwind".
  15. Dec 30, 2013 #14
    Yes, it's important that the air flows into the window and not past it.
  16. Dec 30, 2013 #15
    No, I was referring to someone else completely. But now that you mention it, I wasn't quite sure what you meant by "upwind side of the building". I guess it's like the quote below? Air blowing in to the room?

    Got it, thanks. Though it's hard to control the wind ;-)
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