A fireplace is supposed to keep your home warm and cozy, however, it can also do more harm than good. When Cold air flows down the chimney and enters your home, it lowers the temperature, and in turn, raises heating bills and also adds to the factors that make your home uncomfortable. The only thing/person that should be coming down the chimney is Santa! So, how do you stop cold air?
In this post, I’ll discuss how to stop cold air from coming down the chimney and also cover a few frequently asked questions. Enjoy.
How to Stop Cold Air From Coming Down The Chimney
- Consider a Top-Sealing Damper
- Install a Fireplace Door
- Chimney Balloons, Pillows, Plugs/Sheep
- Permanently seal the Chimney
1. Consider a Top-Sealing Damper
A chimney damper is one of the various parts that make up a chimney. A chimney damper is located in the flue of the chimney and helps to control the chimney ventilation. The damper has a chain that a user can use to open or close it. A chimney’s first defense against cold drafts in your home is the damper. However, over time, the damper might wear down, corrode or simply does not seal the chimney hole properly. This in effect will allow cold air in and warm air out.
If your chimney damper is not working, then you can have it repaired or replaced. However, you can also consider a top-sealing damper.
A top-sealing damper sits on top of the chimney and can be opened or closed via a hanging steel cable that runs down the chimney into your fireplace opening. You can think of a top-sealing damper as a chimney cap, but more advanced. When in use, you just need to open it. When the chimney is not in use, just close it. The advantages of a top-sealing damper are numerous. It keeps debris and animals from entering the chimney, prevents rein and most importantly stops cold air from flowing through the chimney.
2. Install a Fireplace Door
A fireplace door is one of the important fireplace accessories. Apart from blocking cold air from coming down the chimney, a fireplace door also adds safety and also improves the decor of the fireplace. With fireplaces doors, there are many options available that you can install to compliment your home’s decor. Whether you choose a modern, classic, trendy or rustic fireplace door type, you can be sure they will serve the purpose of blocking cold air.
Installing a fireplace door is very easy. However, it first starts with choosing and ordering the right door for your fireplace. To better decide on the type of fireplace door, first, figure out which type of fireplace you have, consider the design, establish a budget and lastly pick a door that compliments your home.
Often, I also see people confused about fireplaces’ doors and fireplace screens. A fireplace screen serves as a barrier between the room and the fireplace. Fireplace screens are usually made of a metal frame with a mesh panel made from perforated metal or woven door. A fireplace screen’s main is to block burning embers from getting into the room and causing harm to people or starting a fire. Fireplace doors offer the same safety factors as screens. However, a fireplace door also helps keep warm air in after the fire is out or dwindling and also prevents cold air from entering your home.
3. Chimney Balloons, Pillows, Plugs/Sheep
Pillows, plugs, and balloons are devices that are designed to be inserted into the chimney to stop cold air from going down and warm air from escaping through the chimney. These devices are of a great choice for a draughty chimney especially if you do not use your fireplace regularly.
Chimney balloons are made of plastic and offer a very easy solution of blocking a chimney. A chimney balloon is very easy to install and remove. The plastic is inflated with the use of your mouth or a low pressured pump. For a chimney balloon, all you have to do is insert it into the chimney when already set up and inflate it to full capacity.
Though chimney balloons do work on some level, they also come with their flaws. First, they can be a bit hard to install. They are also more prone to puncturing when carelessly handled. People using the ballons have also complained about the effectiveness of chimney balloons in completely blocking the chimney. A couple of days after installing the balloon, it can lose air thus allowing air to flow by. Chimney balloon users have also complained about an increase in damp and mold in their homes after starting to use the chimney balloon. For a better solution, I would recommend a chimney plug/sheep.
A Chimney sheep is made from 100% wool and has a plastic handle that is used to insert it into the chimney. Once you have measured the correct shape and bought the chimney sheep, all you have to do is simply place it inside the chimney. Because it is made of wool, there is no need to inflate it and you don’t need to worry about it deflating or bursting. It is also washable and biodegradable making it a good choice if you are a conservationist.
4. Permanently Seal the Chimney
This is the last resort you should consider is you want to stop cold drafts of air flowing down the chimney. Before you consider this option, I would urge you to look at the above solutions and see which works better for you.
However, if you do decide to permanently seal the chimney, ensure it is done properly to avoid problems in the future. A poorly sealed chimney will lead to leaks which in due coarse will cause damage to your home’s interior or structurally destroy the chimney. Permanently sealing the chimney might also have an impact on your home’s value. Be sure to weigh the options carefully before you make that important decision.
According to the U.S Department of Energy, sealing off a fireplace can save as much as 14%. For $100 spent on fuel, you end up saving $14. The study also showed that even though a fireplace might be shut using a fireplace damper, sometimes they rarely seal properly, are worn out or often warped.
I have read several reviews and user experiences that chimney balloons cause damp. However, I think this might altogether have to do with your home’s humidity first. When you block a chimney, humid air that used to escape through getting trapped in your home which inturns cause damp conditions. Though I have not used chimney balloons, I do not recommend them. A better option would be to get a chimney Sheep.
Yes. Even if you completely choose to permanently seal off a chimney, you should include ventilation to allow the chimney to breathe. This helps in avoiding deterioration of the chimney due to moisture that might get trapped in the structure.
The cowl in a chimney is usually fitted to prevent wind from blowing back smoke down back into the room. A chimney cowl can also act as a rain guard by preventing rainwater from going down the chimney. However, not all chimneys need a cowl.
Sealing a draughty chimney is one of the ways you can stop cold air from entering your home. As illustrated above, there are various ways you can go about sealing the chimney. With as much as 14% of energy lost through the chimney, it is important to ensure your chimney is properly sealed. Apart from the chimney, there are also other ways you can insulate your home and save on energy. Do you know any other ways of blocking cold air from a chimney? Share below in the comments and let’s continue this conversation.