Close Your Fireplace

Keith BlizzardIt’s that time of year again, when many infrequently used fireplaces are called into action.

During the winter months and holiday season, the fireplace screens get pulled aside, and we toss in those chunks of sequestered carbon (aka wood) to bring that holiday feel crackling into our homes.

Ever think about what’s going on in your fireplace the rest of the year?   Read on to learn why you should close your fireplace window and several ways to do it.

Grab a flashlight and carefully look up the chimney at the flue. Does it close tightly along all four edges? Probably not, it needs to be super tight to really be closed.

Green Blizzard can almost guarantee that a gap exists somewhere along at least one of the edges. That’s a year-round breathing hole for your house. It’s essentially an open window with a lot of dust and dirt gathered around the opening. It also means that every day a steady breeze blows in and outof your home, depending on the temperature and pressure differential.

Why Bother To Close Your Fireplace Window?

In the colder months, the fossil-fuel generated warmth in your home is sneaking up and out the chimney. When the barometric pressure changes, it forces air back into your house, carrying with it the soot, ash and mold that’s living in the chimney. Not an ideal situation.

Many homes have chimney flues built of heavy, heat-resistant metal that have become corroded from years of use. They no longer shut tightly because they were designed during a time when heating efficiency was not a concern.

To reduce home heat loss and lower your energy bills — as well as your carbon footprint — you can take a number of actions to keep air from coming in through your chimney. Here are two ideas to consider, one home-made, one store-bought.

 How To Close Your Fireplace Window

We actually had a loose flue fitting situation here at the offices of Green Blizzard, so for about $5 and one hour of effort, we came up with a simple solution to chip away at our carbon footprint. Green Blizzard bought a section of 2″ foam board insulation at the hardware store and cut it to fit snuggly under the flue – it was so snug that it squeaked as we pushed it into position. Then we fashioned a board to hold it in place between uses – we even painted it black to help it blend in. 

Any thickness of foam is better than what you now have. The most common types of materials used in making foam board include polystyrene, polyisocyanurate and polyurethane.

If you’re not keen about the home-made remedy, in our opinion, this flue-stopper is the best turn-key option:

Check out the U.S. Government’s Energy Savers website for more insights. Check out this YouTube video about an inflatable option. This is essentially a mini-mattress float designed to fit snuggly into the roof of the fireplace.

Green Blizzard found this helpful instructional video.

Repairing fireplace air leaks is not the most exciting weatherproofing topic, but it’s one of the most overlooked and most frequently recommended by home energy auditors.

For a few dollars of foam board or cardboard insulation, you can prevent tons of heat from escaping up through your chimney and prevent tons of CO2 from being released into the atmosphere.

Just remember to remove any materials before lighting your next fire.

So, get cracking and close your fireplace window, and check out these other informative staff favorites: Green Blizzard articles that you will enjoy reading: eBook Carbon Footprint Break-Even,  Why Recycle Paper?,  The Coolest Kid at the Lunch Table, Plastic Grocery Bags – Kick The Habit, or Planting Trees to Offset your Carbon Footprint    

Keith Blizzard

About the author

Keith Blizzard

Back in the early days of today's carbon footprint reduction movement,(aka Green Movement), Keith decided to start to gradually adjust his and his family's lifestyle to a more sustainable one, with a goal of year-over-year shrinking his carbon footprint. But, when he started looking around for a comprehensive and balanced source of practical green living tips, nothing was really on target. So, he came up with the idea of Green Blizzard.  With the help of a talented team of writers, its been well received but is still a work in progress.


  • Your whole advertising campaign is based on the fary-tale of global warming. I will NEVER do business with ANY “green” companies. Wake up, the greenies are trying to put a stop to wood burning stoves and fireplaces!!

  • Wake-up and smell the smoke. Pull your head out of the sand. There’s evidence all around us that’s only debunked by a handful of science quacks. As much as you don’t want to admit it now, eventually you’ll have to realize that your life or those of future generations will be impacted by your current denial and La La La I don’t want to hear it approach.

  • Whether you believe Global Warming is occurring or not, it is your best interest to be good stewards of the resources we have. One of those resources is capital. If I can save some of my capital by insulating my home better or by maintaining my vehicles so that they run properly, then I can use that extra money to purchase goods or services that I want in addition to what I need. Being “Green” doesn’t have to mean you have to be unreasonable.