Flueblocker article in the US Sun online magazine July 31, 2023

Flueblocker article in the US Sun online magazine July 31, 2023

Suzanna Blake with the US Sun online magazine, wrote a Flueblocker article on how to save money on Summer A/C costs.

Growing up in Wisconsin taught me quite a lot about air sealing and insulation for the winter months. However, living the last decade in the hot humid latitude of South Carolina has taught me a lot about weatherproofing for the summer. This Flueblocker article covers some of the methodology that is similar in both states, but the goals tend to be different to beat the heat.

The high energy use months are May through September in the South.

Flueblocker article winter

Flueblocker article on WI winter

My focus in Wisconsin was keeping my natural gas bill down in the winter. If you are interested in another US Sun article covering low hanging fruit of heating savings in drafty Wisconsin cottages, you can look at this story.

Here in South Carolina my focus is bringing my electrical bill down in the summer. And considering I am running a 2400 sq ft, 2 story, 4br, traditional stick built in 1985 on about $50 per month electrical bill. I would say I have found a good deal of success. The Flueblocker article in the US Sun covers how I managed to do it.

I won’t give away too much from the article. Suzanne Blake says it much better than I can. But you will find that I speak of chimney plugs, attic gable vents, closed cell foam air sealing, solar, etc…
Positive Smoke Pencil Review Video Highlighted on Family Handyman

Positive Smoke Pencil Review Video Highlighted on Family Handyman

Family Handyman online did a “Stuff We love” segment that includes a Smoke Pencil review video:

smoke pencil video

Smoke Pencil video


This informative Smoke Pencil review video takes a close look at a number of tools and solutions to tighten up the energy envelope of your home.

The Smoke Pencil is a very effective and simple to use diagnostic tool. It is effectively a hand held fog machine. You pull the trigger to get a trail of smoke, or pump the trigger to get a puff of vapor, so you can see drafts and air currents. As you can see int he Family Handyman Smoke Pencil review video, you would use the vapor to test around obvious leak points, like windows, doors, fireplaces, and outlets. But you may be surprised by finding lek points in unexpected areas like under cabinets, or near soffits, or basement rim joists.

The Carey Bros talk about the Chimney Pillow for a  fireplace damper

The Carey Bros talk about the Chimney Pillow for a fireplace damper

I love the weekly home improvement column by Jim and Morris Carey (The Carey Brothers). They are nationally-recognized experts on home building and renovation and syndicated columnist as well. Personally, I read their articles every Sunday in the Janesville Gazette. In Feb 2006 the Chimney Pillow was honored to be mentioned by them on their tip of the day.

Here is a snippet of their article:
“…So, as the fireplace gets used, it can warp and rust to the point where it won’t close tightly. If this is the case with your fireplace, look into a “chimney pillow.” This pillow is like a beach ball or an air mattress.

Place the chimney pillow into the fireplace flue just above the damper.
Inflate it by using a hand pump, or blow it up by mouth.
Close the tap on the fill hose.
The chimney pillow will keep hot air in and freezing cold air out. A label or another reminder should be placed on the hearth or in the firebox telling you to remove it before starting a fire. Deflation takes about a minute, and no tools are required….”

Read the rest of the article by clicking here.
Above article in part, the image in part and related content are the property of On The House Syndication Inc. All Copyright belongs to On the House Syndication.

Department of Energy Blog Talks about Fireplaces

Department of Energy Blog Talks about Fireplaces

I was thumbing through the Department of Energy Blog and saw a great article written by Drew Bittner on Fireplaces.

I believe the article correctly called out the fireplace on its wasteful ways by saying it is an “a great big hole going to the outdoors”. Absolutely Drew! I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Just because a fireplace flue and damper is tucked out of sight doesn’t mean it does not let heat out or let cold drafts in. Also, when you go to use the fireplace you are just accelerating the rate it is exhausting your interior air. I consider it my personal crusade to let homeowners know that fireplace use does not always mean you are supplementing your homes furnace heat! In many cases, fireplace use simply wastes furnace heat and wastes the wood or gas you burn in the fireplace. – Jason

Clean & Green Energy Stores Opening

Clean & Green Energy Stores Opening

Where to Measure a Heatelator Pre-Fab Fireplace

Green Energy retail boutique stores are opening online and in brick and mortar all over the US and Canada. These stores offer homeowners tips and product that are used by professional energy raters and insulators to seal insulate your home and ensure it has proper efficient ventilation.

Here is a story about a “Clean Energy Boutique store” that was recently opened in Ypsilanti, MI near Ann Arbor, MI (story written by Tracy Davis, Ann Arbor News). This initiative is presented by the Clean Energy Coalition.

As always, education and exposure of homeowners is a key first step to getting homes more energy efficient.

In Photo: Camille Merritt checks out a chimney balloon, which seals the chimney from cold air when not in use, at the Energy Outlet, a green business launched by the Ypsilanti-based nonprofit organization Clean Energy Coalition.

BobVilla.com speaks about Chimney Balloon and 10 other energy savers

BobVilla.com speaks about Chimney Balloon and 10 other energy savers

BobVilla.com talks about Chimney Balloons.

BobVilla.com wrote a fantastic article including Chimney Balloons and other energy saving measures that really add up to make a difference in home energy costs.

“The chimney can be the number one source of heat loss in a house. Use a Chimney Balloon to prevent drafts from flowing through your chimney and prevents heat from escaping. Cost: $55 per fireplace” Read the rest of the article here…

BTW, Notice that Bob (in the picture to the left) is holding one of our favorite chimney tools…a folding carpenters ruler! Way to go Bob!