by blogediter | Jul 3, 2019 | Save Energy
Q: Jason, How good does the Chimney Balloon work? How much air can I really expect to stop from coming in through my fireplace?- SH
A: SH, The amount of money you save with a Chimney Balloon is directly proportionate to how bad your damper leaks. If you have no damper, or you keep your damper open, the Department of Energy says you will consume 30% more fuel to heat your home (conservative estimate). If you do have a damper (and it is in good shape) you are better off, but a metal damper is still not a good way to hold back the cold and keep in the heat.
Imagine you install a metal flap damper on your front door as a mail slot. Aesthetically that wouldn’t be pretty, but it is certain you would feel the cold convecting through the metal, and if you have the slightest warpage to the metal you are going to feel a full on draft. The reason we don’t think about our dampers (and the cold air it lets in) is that it is out of sight up our chimney not on the front door.
One good way to tell if you need a Chimney Balloon is if you stick your hand in the hearth of your fireplace and you notice a temperature change. If it is colder in there, a Chimney Balloon will without a doubt save you money. If you notice no change a Chimney Balloon will help, but it won’t help as drastically because your damper is in better shape than most.
If you want more definitive numbers data. Here is a link to a third party Chimney Balloon field test review that was done with a blower door on a ranch home comparing the Chimney Balloon to a damper, glass doors, and open damper condition. – Jason
by blogediter | Jul 1, 2019 | Fireplaces
Q: Jason, Hi, I stumbled across your site today, and I am very interested in one of your Chimney Balloons. My fireplace is very drafty and I have a question. My chimney has a system to take cold air off the floor in front of the hearth, and draw it through some pipes that run through the flue. This warm air is then fan forced out above the fireplace. The question is whether your Chimney Balloon will go between these pipes and the damper, or squeeze through between the pipes, and be inflated above them. – CW
A: Dear CW, Most people refer to those systems as Heatilators (but that is a brand name.) A deflated Chimney Balloon needs a gap of 2″ to 2.5″ to fit through between the pipes. Once you are through these pipes you should be good to go. I would suggest using a folding carpenters ruler to measure the pipes so you can tell what size Chimney Balloon you need. You may need to consider a HEK extender for your Chimney Balloon if you plan on reaching very far past the Heatilator pipes to inflate the Chimney Balloon. The Handle/valve Extender kit (HEK) will give you an extra 16″ of reach to your 8″ Chimney Balloon handle. – Jason
by blogediter | Jun 28, 2019 | Gas Logs, Chimney Plugs, Chimney Problems
Q: Jason, We have a coal-burning fireplace that we will never use. The chimney has a smoke shelf and (as far as I can tell) no damper. The chimney measures 14 X 16 just above the smoke shelf. I guess that means we will need to order a custom Chimney Balloon. How much would that cost and how do we go about doing it? – ST
A: ST, Just to be on the safe side I would go with a 15”X18” custom Chimney Balloon.
FYI, If your smoke shelf is far up your chimney you can also measure the space below the smoke shelf and before the damper if that allows enough space for the Chimney Balloon. The most important thing is to look for the most convenient space to reach. If the best location is higher than 12 inches past where you can touch with your hand, consider purchasing an HEK Extender with your Chimney Balloon. – Jason
by blogediter | Jun 26, 2019 | Save Energy
Q: Jason, My chimney opening measures 33″ x 6″ just above the damper. In one place on your website, it says to go with a Chimney Balloon that measures within 6″ in either direction. Therefore, I was going to choose the 30″ x 9″ Chimney Balloon. However, when I selected that Chimney Balloon, it said that it would only work on chimneys that were up to 6″ smaller (not larger). Please let me know whether this Chimney Balloon would work and, if not, what I need to order.- UT
A: Dear UT, For a 33X6 opening I would recommend a 33X12 stock Chimney Balloon. The 30×9 would be too small in length for your application. You could also call our customer service line (608-467-0229) a 33X9 Custom Chimney Balloon for the same price. The only difference is a custom Chimney Balloon requires a 14-day turnaround before it ships. Either option will work well.- Jason
by blogediter | Jun 24, 2019 | Chimney Plugs, Chimney Problems
Q: Jason, I have a Large 36 x 15 Chimney Balloon and over the period of 1 week it tends to get soft and let outside air blow by it. It doesn’t get totally limp or fall from the chimney. Is this normal? RP
A: RP, No it is not normal. The Chimney Balloon is designed to be air tight and should only need a little extra air every 12 months. It probably has a small pin-hole by the seams and as it loose a little air pressure the pin hole closes and keeps it from gong totally limp. The Poly tri-laminate that makes up the balloon portion of the Chimney Balloon is a very tough material that resists stretching and abrasions very well but occasionally a sharp bit of metal or hardware in the flue can puncture all 3 layers of a balloon and cause this to happen.
The fix is very easy. Find the hole, cut a oval patch out of some thick gauge packaging tape, and tape over the hole. The toughest part is finding the hole. What our testing and return personnel do to find and patch a pinhole is:
1)They inflate the balloon with an cordless air pump untill it is drum tight full. Then they passs the balloon under a showerhead to make sure all the soot residue has been removed, and they dry the balloon off with a rag.
2)Then they hold the balloon about 3 inches from their eyelashes and pass the entire surface of the balloon past their eyelash. The cheek and the eye are so sensative to air currents that it will be easy to sense when the pinhole passes by the eye or cheek and blows air at it. they then inspect that area closely with a flashlight to find the exact spot that the hole is at.
3)They cut an oval patch out of very thick gauge 3M packaging tape and they place the patch over the hole so there are no bubbles or wrinkles under the patch.
4)Then they let the Chimney Balloon set for 48 hours fully inflated to make sure it doesn’t loose any air.
If you want to do this on your own you are welcome to do it yourself. Or you can mail it to our return testing lab with a note explaining the situation. They will be happy to do it for you and return it to you free-of-charge.