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Naked flame, aromatic smells and crackling wood sounds, all form part of that that primal connection that we have to fire, and no other appliance helps us enjoy inside our home than open fires.

Open fires are loved by many people, and rightly so! They’ve been a part of family life and culture for centuries. However, when it to efficiency… well… they are not great. They require a lot of air flow, fuels burn too fast and not enough heat is sent into the room. None of this might be a real problem for you if your open fire is seldom used and not really required as a source of heat. However, open fires do not come alone, they come with a chimney.

Chimneys in open fire appliances have direct access to your room’s air and you cannot escape physics. Chimney’s are designed to create draught. Due to atmospheric pressure differences between your room and the top of the chimney, air is taken from your room up the chimney. This is absolutely great when you have a fire, as helps to provide your fireplace fresh air from you house’s own ventilation to help with combustion and then take the smoke out through the chimney. However, when your fireplace not is being used, your chimney is still working, this is not great news from you in winter.

When it’s cold outside, we do our best to keep out homes warm and comfortable. However, hot air from our room will escape through your open fire chimney, and your home’s natural ventilation will replenish that air with cold air from outside, making your room and home colder!

What can you do? Well, there are several solutions.

Chimney Balloons – Many people stuff something up the chimney when not in use, it could be a home made solution such a stuffed bag or a commercial one, such as chimney balloons. Which ever one you use, don’t forget to remove it next time you light a fire or have your chimney swept. This option can certainly do the trick, but it is certainly not perfect. The stuffed bag/balloon could fall down, bringing soot with it, it could collect water if you don’t have a cowl, and if it doesn’t feet correct, it could even go up the chimney with a strong draught.

Removable plates – Another option people use to temporarily metal plate (or other material) at the top if the fireplace/bottom of chimney which can be easily slotted in place. This is a great option if space allows and you are handy with DIY, but you do need to enough room to install it and internal fireplace height if you want to keep good aesthetics.

Install a wood burning stove – Installing a stove to replace your open fire might not be something you’d consider before. However, a stove is far more efficient, you’ll get more heat in your room using less fuel, and it will also stop hot air leaving your room when not in use. If you would like discuss this idea further, please feel free to give us a call.