The solution for this loss of air and the drafts which are all too common lies in a revolutionary, but remarkably simple contraption called a chimney balloon.
Upon hearing the term, what many people want to know is, what is a chimney balloon and how is it fitted?
In the past, people have plugged unwanted or unused chimneys with newspaper or cardboard. Although this does the trick on a temporary basis, and also allows that the item in question can be removed should the owner decide they wish to use the chimney again, there are massive problems associated with this method.
As well as potentially causing a fire hazard, it has been noted that placing porous items such as cardboard or paper close to chimney bricks means them becoming damp. This in turn can cause untold problems to the surrounding masonry and lead to unsightly stains on wallpaper and other decoration.
Therefore, a further solution is required.
A chimney balloon is a thick plastic or rubber piece of material which can be fitted into place. It can then be blown up to expand into the entire gap of the chimney. This allows for the passage of air needed for the bricks to remain dry, but at the same time completely prevents the cold air from entering the room. However, it also has the added bonus of preventing the warm air from leaving the room. Even better although this can be a long-term solution, it easily removed (you simply deflate the balloon) so it can also be used temporarily.
Fitting a chimney balloon
In addition to being a relatively simple idea and contraption, the actual fitting of a chimney balloon is also relatively easy.
Firstly, its best to lay out a sheet around the fireplace to ensure that any soot or dust which escapes does not cause a mess.
Secondly, in order to remain in place, the balloon must be fitted into the correct place. The best section is about 1-2 feet above the fireplace opening, giving the owner access to the balloon (which theyll need for inflation) but obscuring it enough that it doesnt look messy.
Once the ideal position has been found, the balloon should be blown up enough that it will slide comfortably into the position. From there, it can be fully inflated to fill the entire gap. Once it has been sufficiently filled, it will stay in position with very little interference needed, although it should be checked on a regular basis to ensure it remains in position.
The author has a keen interest in all aspects of Chimney and Fireplace Maintenance. His articles on the subject inform readers about a variety of gas and heating appliances and solutions.