Q: Jason, I have several questions. My experience with inflatable devices is that they leak. Can one insert the Chimney Balloon and leave it in for months, or does it gradually leak air?
Can one use the Chimney Balloon in a fireplace that one uses almost daily? For example, inflate the Chimney Balloon in the morning and then remove it in the evening when one wants to build a fire? If this is done, does the Chimney Balloon get “messy” covered with soot etc? We have the fireplace cleaned yearly but use it a lot.What is the life expectancy of a Chimney Balloon if it is inserted and not removed for months (a fireplace that we don’t use) vs. one where we would remove it quite often. I wonder if the Chimney Balloon is to be used only in a fireplace that is not used often. Thanks! – JT
A: Dear JT, If you use a wood fireplace daily you are going to find a Chimney Balloon to be a hassle to take in and out every day, however, if you have an offseason that you don’t use your fireplace (like the summer), you will find it a keen energy saver during that offseason.
You have probably gotten pretty used to inflatable mattresses, beach toys, and rubber or latex stuff made with a variety of cheap inflation valves. It is very true that these items don’t hold air long term because it leaks out of the valve. They don’t even hold air for 24 hours.
However, If you put a Chimney Balloon in and leave it in, it will stay inflated for 6 months to 12 months, no problem. The difference is our valves and seams are made to be absolutely airtight, so the only pressure difference you experience is from the air pressure inside the Chimney Balloon due to temperature differences increasing and decreasing air volume. I would suggest once a year as the temperatures outside get cooler, top the Chimney Balloon off with air just to keep it at nice and snug.
On the wear-out question… There are a number of variables to this question, but I will try to answer it generally. If you are installing a Chimney Balloon and taking it out every day you could expect your Chimney Balloon to last a few months before it wears out. IF you put the Chimney Balloon in and leave it in, and once every year top it off with air, you can have your Chimney Balloon last 10-15 years before the top side of the balloon will start getting brittle from the acrid creosote fumes.
I tried to cover your questions as thoroughly as possible. Let me know if you want me to clarify anything. – Jason