You’re the expert
What’s the best way to block up our chimney during cold weather? I’ve seen sites offering plastic balloons, umbrellas, felt and wool chimney “sheep”. Or should we just use an old pillow?
How about trying an old pillow first and seeing if it works? It won’t cost you anything apart from 10 minutes of your time. It might be an idea to leave something in the grate to remind you it is there, though. Salamandertome Install a small super-efficient woodburning stove. They have 80% efficiency, so there is no smoke and virtually no ash. We halved our gas bill and enjoy a warm glowing fire – very romantic! Virtualearthman I thought about this last winter, only to discover that there was already a metal flap in my chimney which I now simply close during the winter. I did however make sure that there’s a carbon monoxide alarm in the room, and a warning sign in front of the controls, just in case anyone is tempted to light the gas fire with the flap closed. NickSeplin Unless you have sufficient air bricks on the external walls of the room, never obstruct the chimney completely. I have several open chimneys and, in the rooms I don’t intend to have an open fire in, I have installed my own system: four small metal hooks placed just up inside the chimney, two each side and as level as possible, hold an old pillowcase loosely stuffed with sheep’s wool. In the centre of the strands of bright ribbon with beads at their end. They dangle into the fireplace and are a visual reminder that the pillow is there. The cost to me was nil. JayeKaye Years ago a chimney sweep suggested we fill a large bin liner with crumpled newspaper and stuff this up a chimney that we did not use. It’s worked fine. ID5279121 We have a “chimney sheep” which is a stiffish pad about 5cm thick made of sheep wool. It has a small post fitted in the centre which helps you position it. It works and I like it because it’s durable and will last several years. rothielass We had this problem in our new house. At first, I stuffed an old curtain around the chimney as we do not use the gas fire. Then I read about the sheep’s wool “bungs”. I had an old sheep’s wool pillow that had gone very lumpy so I made my own, complete with dangly ribbons to remind you it is there. It works a treat and the room is lovely and warm – apart from the draughty windows! If you don’t happen to have an sheep’s wool pillow, I expect any natural fibre would do, as long as it breathes. ID567541 The specially made inflatable balloons do work but cost way too much at about £18 each chimney. Ours have lasted four years so far. Houseoflego We could not get the plastic balloons to stay inside the chimney – they kept falling down. It must depend on the shape of the bottom of the flue. We have had most success, in terms of not feeling draughts, with old pillowcases filled with rags (or you could use newspaper). Tiddlypomme Take it out on the night of 24-25 December. OK is this long enough Email your suggestions to money@ theguardian.com or write to us at Money, The Guardian, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. And do you have a problem readers could solve? Let us know.
A chimney sheep … taking the chill out of draughty chimneys?