Whether you're a novice or an old pro, purchasing a chimney pillow for a fireplace or chimney can be a little bit confusing do to the products various names.
When searching for one, don't be surprised to find them listed as a flue blocker, chimney balloon, fireplace blocker, draft stopper, fireplace pillow or even a fireplace plug.
Since there seems to be no standard when it comes to the product's name, you might be scratching your head wondering if they are all the same and offer the same service.
Regardless of the various names, they are all the same thing.
When most people think of pillow, they probably think of something that’s comfortable to rest your head on – this has nothing to do with a chimney pillow or its function.
Your chimney and fireplace will still function without one, but when the fireplace is not in use and the cold winds of winter start blowing, you will thank yourself for having one because it helps retain the room’s heat by blocking draughts.
In addition to reducing heat loss, a pillow has several other beneficial functions when the fireplace isn’t in use:
Think beach ball, when it comes to an inflated chimney pillow’s basic description and you can find them in various sizes to fit your fireplace’s particular dimensions.
The pillow portion is transparent and is made of three layers of plastic tri-laminate, which has been treated with special chemicals, making the pillow resistant to tears, durable, long-lasting and with superior abilities to insulate.
Best of all, they are reusable so you don’t have to purchase a new one with every use.
With a little measuring, you will be able to find the right pillow for your particular fireplace and chimney. Always remember, it’s better to purchase a pillow that is a little too large than one that is too small.
Purchasing one that is approximately 6-inches larger than the installation area is fine, since you will be doing most of the inflation while the pillow is in place inside the chimney. Below are some tips for selecting the appropriate area to install the pillow and measuring instructions to select the correct size.
Tip: Always wear safety glasses when working inside the chimney so debris doesn’t fall into your eyes.
Chimney pillows are easy to install and remove, and have a plastic tube attached to them so they can be inflated by using a low-pressured pump such as a bellows, or your mouth.
If you accidentally leave the pillow in place and start a fire, it instantly shrivels, deflates and bursts, allowing all the fumes to exit the chimney. Most pillows come with a red reminder card that you can place inside the fireplace to remind you to remove the pillow before starting a fire.
Tip: After installing the pillow, make sure the inflation valve portion of the pillow is hanging freely and visible and not caught on anything inside the chimney.
If the valve portion is caught on something and you accidentally light a fire, the pillow might not fall from its location and will stay hung up inside the chimney.