Chimney Balloon

How to make a DIY chimney balloon

How can you make your own chimney balloon for free?

Introducing guest post number three from my husband.

Sustainable gift wrap course

It’s getting colder outside and we have had the heating on already. I’m on a mission to use technology and gadgets to reduce energy usage and save money. So when I could feel a cold draft in our family room it didn’t take long to track down the source of it – our chimney.

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We decided a while ago that our gas fire was not very efficient and we haven’t used it in ages. The decision not to use it at all was sealed when we needed to get a gas safety certificate. The gas man said we needed new fake coals or we could just cap the gas. We went with capping the gas.  

When our kids are older I’d like a wood burner but until then our chimney is just a source of wasted heat. So I started looking into what was available. I came across chimney sheep* & a chimney balloon* which you can buy, put in your chimney and blow up. When you want to use the fire you just deflate it. You can reuse it many times over so quite thrifty already. This made me wonder if I needed to buy it or if I could make my own.

I then saw a post where someone used a black bag and some loft insulation. I picked up some bags of loft insulation from freecycle so that seemed like a good and free solution. This project took me less than an hour and has saved us money, as well as making the room more comfortable.

I used the following to make the chimney balloon:

  • 2x thick black bin bags
  • Old loft insulation (fiberglass)
  • Strip of material or string
  • Piece of plastic pipe
  • Safety glasses
  • Gloves
make DIY chimney balloon

It was a bit of trial and error with how much insulation to put in. I put in loads initially and then couldn’t push it through the opening of the fireplace.   The idea is to put the bag far enough up the chimney that you can’t see it. Leave just the end of the material hanging down to be able to pull it down when you need to.

I double bagged the insulation as the inside of the chimney is quite rough. The missus was worried about ventilation and it is important there is some air flow in the chimney. This stops condensation causing problems so I found a castoff of some plastic piping. 

I put that up the chimney first and then squeezed the insulation as small as possible to get it into the hole and then let it expand into the chimney stack leaving the pipe to provide a small amount of ventilation. There is still some airflow but is no longer a big draft. A job well done! It was quick and didn’t cost us a penny.

Warning:  Do not do this if you have a working fireplace. A chimney balloon designed for the task would be much safer and they are not expensive.

For more tips on how keep heat in and cold out check out these 6 easy ways to reduce your heating bills.

Want to get started with reducing your waste? Buy my Eco Thrifty Living Book! One of the central themes in it is reducing waste – the suggestions I make are affordable and could save you money! I think it’s a great introduction to the eco-thrifty life but I’m probably biased. Before you make up your mind, check out the reviews on Amazon and from bloggers: Frugal Family, Inspirationalise , A Refuge for Daffodils and Allotment Recipes.

I’d love to know if you have made a DIY chimney balloon and how it is working for you? If you would like to read more DIY energy saving solutions you might enjoy this post on heat retention cooking.


  1. Ooh this is just what I was looking for. The chimney sweep explained the concept but it's always better to have it in print. 🙂

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