by blogediter | May 20, 2019 | Fireplaces
Q: Jason, I’m originally from Florida and don’t know anything about fireplaces. I just bought a house in Utah and there is a very ugly wood burning furnace/insert in the fireplace. We plan to eventually put a gas insert there because air quality is bad in Salt Lake and we will never burn wood. So, we want to remove this fireplace insert monster but have no idea if there will be a flue/damper remaining in the chimney because there is already one that is a part of the insert.
My question is – should we put a damper on and then buy a Chimney Balloon? If we use a Chimney Balloon, do we need a flue/damper? If we need a damper, what type works well with a Chimney Balloon? – BU
A: Dear BU, I have good news and bad news for you in the damper department.
The Bad news; when you remove your insert you will very likely remove the damper as well. Most of the time when a fireplace insert is put in, the original fireplace damper is removed. There is usually a damper built right into the insert. Occasionally there is a throat butterfly damper as well but that is mostly with free standing stoves, not inserts. So let’s assume when you remove your insert you will have no damper.
The Good News: You can put a Chimney Balloon in the flue without a damper. On this website, we show all kinds of diagrams of how to install a Chimney Balloon around or with a damper because in most American fireplaces they have one. But if you have no damper it is actually easier to put in a Chimney Balloon because you have no hardware to contend with. So just measure the lowest spot in the flue that has parallel walls, and buy a Chimney Balloon that will fit that spot.
Let me know if you have more questions, I am happy to help. – Jason
by blogediter | May 17, 2019 | Chimney Problems, Fireplaces
Q: Jason, On warmer winter days and rainy days, we have a strong smoke smell in the house. We have a fireplace insert. Would the Chimney Balloon help with this problem?- SQ
A: Dear SQ, The first thing you can do to cut down on smoke smell during the humid days is first to clean the ash out of the fireplace insert with a shop vac. Humidity has a bad habit of making soot, creosote, and ash to smell stronger.
Some people are under the misconception that a chimney sweeping or cleaning will remove this burnt smell, and I have not found that to be the case. Chimney sweeping is good and should be done regularly, but the brushing action often stirs up the creosote and ash in the flue making it stronger smelling for a while.
The next step is to separate your flue from the house by sealing it off. A Chimney Balloon will work to stop the smelly fireplace stink if you can access the chimney flue opening. Some inserts have metal baffles in the firebox that prevent access to the chimney flue from the firebox. However, there should be a way to access your flue since a chimney sweep has to do this in order to sweep the chimney and then get the ash he brushed off out. You may want to ask your sweep how he accesses your lower flue to remove the ash he brushes off the flue wall. There may be an ash clean-out or removable portion of your flue pipe that you are unaware of. If you can touch the inside of the flue or damper opening area then you can install the Chimney Balloon and it will seal off the chimney low and tight and will not allow the creosote buildup in the chimney to stink up the house.
If you still have a smell to deal with it is probably from the firebox. To further neutralize any lingering smell, you can use a large salad bowl of white vinegar. Just put a good amount of vinegar in the bowl and set it in the firebox for a day or two. This can also do a great job of neutralizing the fireplace burnt smell.
If you need to go one step further, you can also treat the firebox with baking soda (just remember to remove the vinegar bowl first). Sprinkle baking soda liberally over the floor and walls of the firebox. Let it set a few days and then vacuum it off. – Jason
by blogediter | May 8, 2019 | Fireplaces
Q: Jason, I have a Majestic SR42A 42″ prefab wood-burning fireplace with gas logs. The damper is 8″ round and opens/swivels in the middle of the circle. The firebox is a trapezoid with approximate dimensions of 24 X 33 with the sides being 15″.
There is a front “panel” that seems to be angled inward making the 15″ sides taller at the top and smaller at the bottom. There seems to be sufficient room between the damper and the top of the fireplace opening (9″) for a larger Chimney balloon. The front panel may also make a good “shelf” for the Chimney Balloon to rest on.
I’m wondering if the best bet is to go with a smaller Chimney Balloon and install it above the damper with the extender or get a bigger Chimney Balloon and install it under the damper, in the trapezoid firebox area. My preference would be for easy installation and removal as we use our fireplace a lot in the winter. I don’t mind if part of the Chimney Balloon or pole shows. – CA
Dear CA, You have a couple of choices in how to install your Chimney Balloon
Option 1: If you plan on putting in the Chimney Balloon
and leaving it (ie. not using this fireplace much) than I would suggest you get a 9×9 and put it above the damper with an HEK extender. This configuration will get your Chimney Balloon
up and out of sight from the firebox
area and it will give you a nice tight seal in the flue
Option 2: If you will use this gas log fireplace regularly and you are looking for the easiest place to install a Chimney Balloon
to take it in and out. I would recommend you get a 36×15 Chimney Balloon
and install it right in the firebox below the damper. When your damper is closed the handle will be up and out of the way and you have a nice trapezoidal spot there that is 9″ tall to put the Chimney Balloon
in. The only downside is that you may be able to see the Chimney Balloon
a little bit in the firebox
. Also, you will want to be careful of the sharp edges on the damper handle bracket that I see in this picture that holds the damper up when it is closed. Those brackets can have a sharp edge on the tip of them so you may want to put a piece of tape over that spot so you can get maximum longevity out of your Chimney Balloon
. Sharp spots like that can tend to wear out the Chimney Balloon
early if you are installing and uninstalling regularly. – Jason
by blogediter | Apr 26, 2019 | Fireplaces
Q: Jason, I am very interested in this fantastic Chimney Balloon product. I live in Australia – do you have any reps here that I can purchase one from??
I have a ‘Coonara’ style fireplace. It’s a freestanding wood fire with glass door and a flue that goes up into the plaster roof lining and up outside where it has a pointed swivel thing that moves with the direction of the wind. My problem is that when its windy we have an enormous amount of wind noise that belts down the flue, even with the flue closed. Can I use one of your products?? If so would I have to take the swivel thing off of the roof to add the Chimney Balloon? Thanks very much for taking the time to read my question and I await in anticipation your response. Regards, CS
A: Dear CS, Thank you for your interest in Chimney Balloons. First I will answer your question about the chimney. The weather- vain on the top will not interfere with the Chimney Balloon installation at all, but it may be causing some of the wind noise you are experiencing. Also, the Chimney Balloon should work well with a Coonara style fireplace as long as you can access the flue.
For ordering, you will receive better service through the Australian distributor which can be reached through the website www.chimneyballoons.com.au
by blogediter | Apr 19, 2019 | Fireplaces
Q: Jason, I am very interested in this fantastic product. I live in Australia – do you have any reps here that I can purchase one from? I have a ‘Coonara’ style fireplace. Its a freestanding wood fire with glass door and a flue that goes up into the plaster roof lining and up outside where it has a pointed swivel thing that moves with the direction of the wind. My problem is that when its windy we have an enormous amount of wind noise that belts down the flue, even with the flue closed. Can I use one of your products?? If so would I have to take the swivel thing off of the roof to add the Chimney Balloon? Thanks very much for taking the time to read my question and I await in anticipation your response. Regards, CS – Melbourne Australia.
A: Dear CS, First I will answer your question about the chimney. The weather-vain on the top will not interfere with the Chimney Balloon installation at all, but it may be causing some of the wind noise you are experiencing. and the Chimney Balloon should work well with a Coonara style fireplace. The only hang up may be if the baffles in the fire box give you access to the chimney. You need to be able to touch the chimneys interior in order to install a Chimney Balloon.
For ordering you will receive better service through the New Zealand distributor which can be reached through the website www.chimneyballoons.co.nz or this number 03-314 3832. You will want to speak with Kathy (email: firstname.lastname@example.org), and i am sure she will be happy to serve you.
by blogediter | Apr 17, 2019 | Fireplaces
Q: Jason, I spoke to you on the phone about my double sided fireplace. There is about 3.5″ from the bottom of the flue to the top of the arched opening into the family room. The dims are 42″ x 27.5″. None of your customer sizes looked like they would work. Can i get one 45″ x 31″? How much(go easy on me)? I live in Ohio. – KK
A: Dear KK, I would go for the exact size that you need since these large Chimney Balloons can be pricey. A 42×27 Chimney Balloon is a rather large Custom Chimney Balloon. I put that size on our Chimney Balloon custom page for you in case this is what you decide to do. Here is a link to the 42×27 order page, it costs $139.99.
You may find a better location to install a Chimney Balloon if you look for a spot with parallel walls either above or below the damper. Keep in mind you can use an HEK handle extender to install the Chimney Balloon higher. Large Chimney Balloons are difficult to make properly and require a lot of material so they do cost more than the smaller models. – Jason