Electric Fireplace

Q: Jason – I installed one of those cool electric hologram type fireplace inserts into my wood burning fireplace. I have a cold draft that is coming down the chimney and it seeps out around the electric fireplace box insert.

I was told by the installer that he stuffed the flue full of fiberglass batting, but if I still have a draft. He told me I should remove the fiberglass and put in a Chimney Balloon. Can I install a Chimney Balloon and then put my electric fireplace insert back in place? – PR

A: Dear PR, Fiberglass is a rotten air barrier if you have a location that has air movement (like a Chimney). A Chimney Balloon will work just fine above your electric fireplace insert. Before you install the insert, be sure to install your Chimney Balloon high enough into the fireplace flue so it does not come in contact with the insert. Also, remember to remove the inflation tube after inflating the Chimney Ballon in place so it doesn’t hang down in the way. Wait 24 hours after you install the Chimney Balloon and check the Chimney Balloon again. This will ensure you installed it properly and solidly and it is working properly before you slide in the electric fireplace insert. Then take a peek at the Chimney Balloon every year or two just to top it off with air if needed.

Most of these electric inserts are closed systems so they put no heat up the flue at all (see the image above that the top is flat and it is fully encased), If you unit is encased, you just want to make sure the heating element and fan will not come in contact with the Chimney Balloon.

We have had many customers buy a Chimney Balloon for this type of electric fireplaces application. I have a family member with an electric fireplace that was installed as an insert in his old wood fireplace. I helped him put a Chimney Balloon in his flue as well for the same reasons you are stating.  I think electric fireplaces are great and add a nice ambiance, but have no venting issues. – Jason