How do I size up a coal burning fireplace with no damper for a Chimney Balloon plug?

How do I size up a coal burning fireplace with no damper for a Chimney Balloon plug?

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

I think I have a hole in my Chimney Balloon

I think I have a hole in my Chimney Balloon

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.

Can I plug a leftover chimney pipe in my wall with a Chimney Balloon, or should I use fiberglass?

Can I plug a leftover chimney pipe in my wall with a Chimney Balloon, or should I use fiberglass?

Q: Dear Jason, I have a chimney which used to be used for a wood burning stove.  We removed the stove and wish to stop the cold air entering the house through the round chimney hole that is left.  Basically, there is a hole in the wall of our house that leads to the chimney and I just have it covered with a loose fitting metal cover.  Can your chimney pillow work in this situation?

My husband was thinking of stuffing the chimney hole in the wall with fiberglass, would this work? – EE

A: Dear EE,  I am willing to bet you will find the diameter of that pipe to be 9″ or less so a 9×9 Chimney Balloon will work well. If it is over 9″ then you may need to go with a 12×12 Chimney Balloon.

If you call in your order we can adopt a 9×9 for you to have an extra short 3″ handle on it, so it is easier to put in the chimney pipe and clear the wall.

You will find the Chimney Balloon will air seal and insulate in one shot better than the fiberglass plug. The basement is generally the location that the home will draw in the air the strongest at due to the air stack effect in the home. The air will pass right through a fiberglass plug, but it won’t be able to draw through a Chimney Balloon. – Jason

Does the Chimney Balloon work with a built in Heatilator?

Does the Chimney Balloon work with a built in Heatilator?

HEK Chimney Balloon

Q: Hi, I stumbled across your site today, and I am very interested in one of your Chimney Balloons. 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. I can take a digital picture and send or maybe take some measurements and send those… – CF

A: CF, 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. 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 how large a Chimney Balloon you need. You may need to consider an extension 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 add to your 12″ Chimney Balloon handle.

Do I install a Chimney Balloon high in the chimney or low by the damper?

Where to Measure a Heatelator Pre-Fab Fireplace

Jason, I have a fireplace in our basement that I want to plug since we do not use it.

There is a metal damper that operated on a hand crank just 3″ above the fireplace opening. However, about 14″ above the damper is an 11″x11″ terra cotta flue tile that I think I can easily get a Chimney Balloon into. The website instructions say to buy a Chimney Balloon that is a little large…should I get a 15×15 or 12×12 Chimney Balloon and should I buy a HEK extender with it? – RW

Dear RW, You sized up this application well and your instinct is right-on to go with a 12×12 with a HEK Extender.

11″x11″ is a very common size flue tile, and experience tells me that a 12×12 Chimney Balloon is the perfect size to plug that flue. Since your flue tile terminates just 14″ above the damper then you can certainly use a HEK extender to get it up there and installed. I have attached some pictures that are similar to your install. – Jason

I want to install a Chimney Balloon 4 feet up in my chimney.

I want to install a Chimney Balloon 4 feet up in my chimney.

Q: Following the instructions on this site our place for a Chimney Balloon would be roughly 4 feet above the metal damper in a space that is roughly 12×12. I am planning to purchase a 15×15 Chimney Balloon, but is there a HEX extension long enough for placement and inflation of the Chimney Balloon?- RM

A: Dear RM, It sounds like you are trying to size a Chimney Balloon in your first chimney tile area. We do make 36″ long custom HEK Extenders, but I think you will find it much easier to measure and install a Chimney Balloon in a lower location if possible.

What you are looking for in your flue is an area about 7″ or 8″ in height that has roughly parallel walls on at least 2 opposing sides, and is out of the way of the damper hardware.
Knowing that description, is there an area just above or below your damper that may be a better location to measure? Call us at 608-467-0229 for a little more guidance. – Jason