Q: Dear Jason, Help! I have a very nice EPA rated wood stove that was put in about a year ago. It was installed in my lower level and the trouble is it smells of creosote and smoke smell when I am not using it. I know it is negative pressure bringing the smokey stink back into the house. Can I plug the flue with a Chimney Balloon to prevent the backdraft from bringing the smell back in? – TW
A: Dear TW, It depends on what type of stove you have. The image to the left is the inside top of an Avalon woodstove that has firebrick baffles on the top of the firebox. These brick baffles can be removed and it gives you easy access to the round flue so you can install a 9×9 Chimney Balloon when it is not being used. In the picture, you can see the one brick is being lifted because they just set in there by gravity.
Other wood stoves are completely metal-clad in the firebox and the baffles are welded steel. In these fireplaces, you often have no access to the flue through the firebox.
On occasion, you can get access to another part of the chimney through a clean-out door portal. Usually, these are outside and near a bend in the chimney or pipe.
You have to have access to the woodstove flue or chimney to plug it with a Chimney Balloon. – Jason