It took a little longer than expected in some parts of the United States, but the January cold is finally moving in, and that means it is time to rev up the fireplace!

If your goal is to enjoy your fireplace while keeping the cold air out, there are a few things you can do to combat the chilly air that sometimes sneaks into your home through your fireplace.

Because a fireplace requires proper ventilation to do its job, by definition a fireplace can lead to cooler air making its way into your home. The ventilation in your chimney provides an exit point for the warmer air in your home to escape through.

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The cool air that makes its way into your home through your fireplace sinks into your house, as the warmer air rises and moves up and out through your chimney.

This phenomenon can result in increased heating costs and chillier rooms. But there are some ways to keep the cold air to a minimum when your chimney and fireplace are more active during the winter months.

There are fireplace and chimney accessories that are designed specifically to keep the cold air out and the warm air inside.

While you should always keep your glass fireplace doors open while burning a fire in your fireplace, when you aren’t burning a fire, you can use the fireplace doors as added protection against the cold winter air. Because some glass fireplace doors are more decorative than others, just be certain the fireplace doors you select seal over the firebox opening.

Good quality glass fireplace doors keep the cold air out when a fire is not burning, and allow access to your fireplace when you have a fire burning away.

Chimney-Top Damper

A damper inside of your chimney helps you keep animals, birds and cold air out when your fireplace is not in use.

Typically fashioned from cast iron, a good chimney-top damper has a flap or lid of some sort that completely seals the top of the chimney, and sometimes will have a gasket as well, which is designed to keep the cold air out of your home. A chimney-top damper is left open when a fire is burning to pull the smoke and fumes from your home. Normally you will find a pull chain fastened to the inside of the chimney to open and close the damper.

Chimney Balloons and Other Plugging Devices

Whether they are called chimney pillows, balloons or plugs, these items are all somewhat similar devices designed to keep the cold air out and the warm air inside of your home. These devices are made from plastic, are reusable, and fit just inside the chimney above the firebox.

When you pump these devices up with air, their size will expand to fit the opening of your chimney, forming a plug that acts as a stopper, cutting off the cold outside air. Removing these devices is simple, and requires you to simply deflate them and remove the air from them to get them down out of the chimney. Deflating these objects allows them to be easily removed when it’s time to use your fireplace.

It’s important to make sure you have proper ventilation in your home, especially when using your fireplace. The ultimate goal is to observe safety guidelines, and when using glass fireplace doors, always keep them open when burning a fire.  When a fire isn’t burning, the chimney-top damper, and chimney balloons and pillows can be useful alternatives.

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