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
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
Q: Jason, I have a pot belly stove with a bad damper on it. Can I use this Chimney Balloon to stop up the chimney?I believe the stove pipe is 8.25″ ID – PS
A: Dear PS, If you can reach into your stove and touch the location where the chimney meets the stove you can use a 9×9 Chimney Balloon.
You will put the Chimney Balloon into the pipe right where it attaches to the firebox. The handle of the Chimney Balloon will be sticking into the firebox and the Chimney Balloon will plug the pipe. Most of the time on a pot belly stove the butterfly damper is ways up the flue pipe so that will not be a factor at all. I would recommend you put the Chimney Balloon reminder card on the pot belly stove handle if you use that stove at all.- Jason
Q: I live in an area that is very hot (115F) in the summer, even though it goes below freezing in winters. Should I remove my Chimney Balloon in the Spring of each year due to the heat that is coming? Thank you, – PU
A: Dear PU, There is no real need to remove the Chimney Balloon in the summer even though the temperature gets that hot. As a matter of fact, I would encourage you to leave it in to help keep out the infiltrating heat. Air sealing helps you in the summer months as well as the winter. No doubt about it that kind of outside temperature is crazy hot! But your Chimney Balloon can handle it.- Jason
Q: Jason, I couldn’t find information about deflating the Chimney Balloon in order to have a fire. About how many times can you inflate and deflate the Chimney Balloon? Thanks, KW
A: Dear KW, Deflating a Chimney Balloon is a simple process. If it is a small Chimney Balloon (9×9 or 12×12) you can just open the valve and within 10-20 seconds it will have lost enough air to remove it. Or you can use the handle to press the Chimney Balloon against the flue wall to force the air out a little faster.
With the larger Chimney Balloons, especially ones installed above the damper, you would need to give the Chimney Balloon more time to deflate since there is more air volume. If you are in a hurry, use and air bed pump on the reverse or the hose attachment to your vacuum to draw the air out quickly. Once the Chimney Balloon is flat it is easy to tuck it back down through the damper. This also helps you get maximum life from the Chimney Balloon since a deflated Chimney Balloon is much less likely to get snagged on anything or scrape along the rough masonry sides.
I recommend collecting the Chimney Balloon into a paper grocery bag or a plastic bag so any soot deposits that settled on the top of the Chimney Balloon won’t get out of the fireplace. Personally I like using a paper bag since it stands up and holds itself open.
I have a 9×9 with an HEK that I have been using since 2003 that I have installed and uninstalled 30-40 times and it is still going strong. I hope this answers your questions KW, but if you have any other questions please let me know. – Jason
Q: Jason, Just purchased a Chimney Balloon but it keeps deflating. Lots of cold air coming down my pre-fab fireplace which I never intend to use. No obvious rip in the Chimney Balloon and it stays inflated when not up until the flue. Could too much cold air be the reason? I live in a northern State.- KW
A: Hi KW, When the Chimney Balloon is inflated by mouth the warm air that you blow into it will cool and sometimes this will compress the air inside the Chimney Balloon enough that it will lose noticeable pressure. Our first recommendation is to try topping it off with air after the air inside has had a chance to cool.
If that does not work, I would recommend that you call our customer service line (608) 467-0229 and we can get you a replacement. It is not common, but occasionally there can be a defect that is causing an issue. No matter what the problem is, customer service will get you taken care of with whatever it takes to make this right for you. – Jason