DIY Chimney balloon

Introducing guest post number three from my husband all about how to make a chimney balloon for free!
So its 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. I was in our family room recently and could feel a cold draft coming from somewhere, it didn’t take long to track down the source of it – our chimney.
We decided a while ago that our gas fire was not very efficient and 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 to have students and the gas man said we needed new fake coals or he could just cap the gas.  We went with capping the gas.
When our kids are older I want to look at a wood burner but until then our chimney is nothing more than a source of drafts and wasted heat so I started looking into what was available. I came across 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 and you can reuse it many times over so quite thrifty already. I wondered if I needed to buy it or if I could make my own. I came across a post where someone used a black bag and some loft insulation. I picked up quite a few bags of loft insulation last year from freecycle so that seemed like a really good and free solution.
This project only took me less than an hour from beginning to completion and it sounds like it might save us a bit of money as well as making the room more comfortable.

I used the following:

2x thick black bin bags
Old loft insulation (fiberglass)
Strip of material or string
Piece of plastic pipe
Safety glasses

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 and leave just the end of the material hanging down to be able to pull it down again if you need to.
I double bagged the insulation as I don’t really want bits of falling down and the inside of the chimney is quite rough.
The missus was worried about ventilation and I read that is important there is some air flow in the chimney to stop 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, was quick and didn’t cost us a penny.

For more tips on how to make keeping the heat in and the cold out more affordable, check out these 6 easy ways to reduce your heating bills. Also come and join my energy saving tips and tricks Facebook Group.

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.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.

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