Detecting a Draft

My office is in a cubicle. There is a draft on the back of my neck. The only vent in my cube or within 5 feet of it are closed. The walls on the cube are 8 feet tall.
I've tried a cigarette lighter, my hand, and a suspended Kleenex to find the darn breeze so that I can block it. The temperature is not bad; it's the draft. What creative ideas do you guys have for finding the source of air flow? (The HVAC guy couldn't tell me where it's coming from. I think the building has weird air currents flowing in it.)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On 6/6/2012 8:49 AM, mcp6453 wrote:

Something that produces smoke, like an incense stick?

Maybe an exorcism?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Sorry to hear. I worked in a factory, one time. Some of the gals had taken sheets of cardboard and taped it to the fronts of their work bench, down to the floor. Got tired of draft on their legs.
I don't have any good answers. That's about what I would have done, what you already did. I'd check in the neighboring cubes, for fan under the desk, or device with fan like water cooler, refrig, or microwave oven, or, or.....
Christopher A. Young Learn more about Jesus www.lds.org .
My office is in a cubicle. There is a draft on the back of my neck. The only vent in my cube or within 5 feet of it are closed. The walls on the cube are 8 feet tall.
I've tried a cigarette lighter, my hand, and a suspended Kleenex to find the darn breeze so that I can block it. The temperature is not bad; it's the draft. What creative ideas do you guys have for finding the source of air flow? (The HVAC guy couldn't tell me where it's coming from. I think the building has weird air currents flowing in it.)
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If it is that objectionable ask your office manager (the administrative assistant in charge of desk assignments and supplies) to relocate you to another area...
Your employer should accommodate one or two of these requests before demanding written proof of your mental wellness from a licensed mental health counselor...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Wet finger.
The wall might be an odd temperature, or in spots. Use hand or ir thermometer.
Greg
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

If they will allow it, get some Smoke Matches from Grainger.
http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/Smoke-Matches-3KLK4
I used them to check the airflow in my attic.
Be aware of nearby smoke detectors. Maybe have the HVAC guy nearby and let your manager know first so that no one is surprised by the smoke.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

ROFL...
The smoke detectors you can see in the office are only part of what you have to worry about, commercial buildings also have smoke detectors inside the HVAC duct work as well...
Definitely not something for an employee to do to try and locate a "draft"... Possibly not even for the OP's employer to do if they are only a tenant in the building...
The "best cost": or "least cost" option here is for the OP to request a new desk assignment from the office manager...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Requesting a new desk assignment can be more costly than one might imagine.
First off, there has to be a someplace to swap to, someplace that doesn't impact work flow. If there were an issue in my office, moving to a new location would be next to impossible since I'm part of a team that interacts with each other, face to face, constantly throughout the day. There are no "spare" offices anywhere near mine. In fact, there aren't even any open offices on my floor. I know all about "global teams" (I've been on a few) and I know the saying that "the world is flat", but if our team wasn't grouped within shouting distance we would be much less efficient. The same goes for other teams in our office, so simply swapping offices with someone who might not mind the draft wouldn't be cost effective in the long run.
Phone and computer access *might* be as easy as swapping a few plugs in a closet or it might involve much more, depending on LAN configurations, phone numbers that ring on more than one phone, access to shared servers, and location, location, location. Parts of our office building - within the same company - have different prefixes for phone numbers and a move from one side of the building to another would mean a change of phone numbers, which leads to new business cards, letterhead, etc., all of which have both a direct and indirect monetary impact.
All I'm saying is that it may not be easy or even cost effective to move the employee just to avoid a draft.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Umm, yeah, it is... Unless your employer is using rather old and outdated equipment... Contacting the landlord or HVAC technicians over a "draft" which will never be able to be corrected because it has been a feature of that space since its last physical remodel all over one employee's "comfort" is expensive... There are required ventilation room air changes per hour, bringing in enough outside air and having it preconditioned to offset the CO2 being given off by the workers and also the capacity to quickly remove smoke from the building via using some of the same fans... You are now discussing an engineering problem which would be more than the HVAC technician adjusting a louver on a vent grille...
If you are talking an "office" that means you are an employee of a certain level of prestige, rather than desk/workspace... An office has four walls (floor to ceiling), a ceiling and a lockable door that no one can reach over from the outside and open... A desk/workspace may not have those features...
If moving from one side of the building to the other at your employer means changing phone numbers those sections of the building are either served by entirely separate phone systems or the system is old enough to require physically altering the wiring to accomplish the move...
Moving someone from one work station to any other in offices with equipment installed in the past 10 years is a matter of port swapping within the phone system dynamically using the system software without making any hardware or wiring changes... Computer ? LOL most people's office computers won't allow them to save or alter files locally and they are merely accessing a set of working and personal folders on a network drive so the computer itself is not moved nor requires any changes beyond perhaps reconfiguring the employee's user account to allow them to log on from their new desk location...
A workgroup that is assigned the same project need not work all within the exact same physical space, yeah, it is very convenient when they can, but this is not always possible, that is why there are conference spaces for small group meetings in most office areas... If your team brought in a new staff member right now, they would not relocate other employees which are not a part of that group from the surrounding cubicles to make space for that one person, they would get a desk somewhere...
You should feel somewhat lucky if your office is at 100% population, that means that your employer is either doing really well, or could mean that you are headed for troubled times ahead... Either way, by not having any empty expansion space anywhere in your working unit, whomever is in charge of space utilization is not doing their job properly because there is no way to add someone to any given project without relocating someone else who isn't working on that project...
Most employers also tend to have empty cubicles around for when traveling employees are in town, an employee that normally telecommutes has to be present in the office for some reason and for itinerant projects like tax season/auditing type projects where outside agents need to do work on the premises without closing off access to the conference space to all the other employees while that work takes place...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Everything you've said is absoulutely correct...in a perfect world.
You appear to know enough about the business environment to know that the perfect world rarely exists in the real world.
While it's easy to sit far away from the actual situation and say "Tell your manager that you want to move to a different cubicle. It's the least expensive alternative.", I'm sure you are aware that there are so many other variables involved that it's often not as easy - or inexpensive - as it sounds.
Only the OP can tells us if moving is a viable option in their specific situation.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Umm, the difference between moving someone who claims that they are experiencing some sort of workplace malady due to "phantom drafts" is in fact the cheapest and most practical solution to what most of the time is a psychosomatic problem... The act of physically moving the employee from the location they feel uncomfortable in to a new one is usually enough of a Placebo to "cure" the malady being experienced by that one employee...
Calling in HVAC technicians or the landlord/maintenance staff may not resolve the situation in that same way, as no actual work may end up being performed and the employer can not LIE to an employee who raises an environmental concern which is creating an impact on their productivity, real or imaginary... Again, even if there was a draft which actually existed, it is a feature of the space which has existed since the last physical remodel of the area... Trying to "fix" it would mean more than just adjusting a vent grille... Trying to fix a draft in one section or area could create balancing issues with adjacent zones...
So yes, physically moving the employee to a new desk/workspace assignment is in fact the best ROI on first cost and continued costs rather than trying to reinvent the wheel as far as the space in question's HVAC systems... This allows the employer to accommodate the employee in the best possible way, as any further complaints by the same individual after the move to a new location would potentially clue the employer into the most likely possible cause of the problem is some unknown/undiagnosed/untreated issue specific to the one employee if there are not other staff complaints of the same environmental conditions...
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Light a candle. let it burn a minute or so to get some burnt wick, and then blow it out, You'll get some smoke, but not enough to trigger any alarms. OR get someone with a cigarette to do the same thing.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Light a candle. let it burn a minute or so to get some burnt wick, and then blow it out, You'll get some smoke, but not enough to trigger any alarms. OR get someone with a cigarette to do the same thing.
Some buildings have systems which move the dampers in the air ducts so the air currents change periodically. That way the air is exchanged throughout the building and there's a sense of air movement, but not a continuous draft. Maybe that's the source of your "weird air currents".
Tomsic
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

I see you've had many suggestions to use smoke. That would be my first suggestion too, but it may not be practical. If not, how about a balloon? A helium balloon with just enough ballast to keep it steady may be just the thing to float along the space a couple of feet above you.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
If it really is a draft, a thin light ribbon will work. Something like the old Christmas tree tinsel. Tape it to the end of a stick. If you can't find anything like that, cut a thin strip of the thinnest paper you can find. The end will usually flutter.
A puff of baby powder can work too. Sometimes the can will puff a bit out when you squeeze it.
Very likely it is not a draft. Are you near a window? It is common to feel radiative heat loss from your warm body to a cold surface, and think it is air movement when it is really not.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
wrote:

Just as common to feel the draft from a cold window as the air cools and drops. Need proof? Come to my office on a cold day and sit in my chair with the window in back of me.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Uh, how is that proof? You'll feel cold with either mechanism.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Wed, 6 Jun 2012 10:07:25 -0700 (PDT), Molly Brown wrote:

The idea that colds are caused by drafts or getting chilled is nothing but an old wive's tale that refuses to go away.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Fire up a doob
--
vi --the heart of evil!
Support labeling GMOs
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.