Many people have old chimneys that are not used any more. Central heating has done for the chimney what indoor bathrooms did for frozen bare bums. Our chimneys, though might just prove to be a useful and low carbon feature of housing in these austere times. The opportunity to burn wood as a source of secondary heating is just the ticket on those days where you just need a little bit of extra heat in the house to make it comfortable, or when you just need to heat one or two rooms.
The removal of a chimney and / or blocking it off completely therefore seems a bit rash (if it can be avoided). So how can we keep a chimney preserved for the future?
Well it still needs to be draught proofed, but more importantly it also needs to be covered to stop water ingress, the ubiquitous gulls from nesting on it and insects from living in it. So where many people turn to Chimney Balloons as an easy way of reducing the draughts associated with a chimney, we feel that this is the wrong approach. We recommend that you work your way down the chimney because if you start from the bottom it allows the top to get wet, nested on etc and this can cause more problems than it solves.
So for un-used chimneys why not fit a removable Chimney Cap. Eco Home sells the C-Cap (but there are others). This reduces the airflow dramatically, it also has an insect screen to stop little bugs from getting in and of course stops water from entering the chimney. It just clips over and so can be removed, if needed, at a later date. This means that you get to keep your chimney (just in case you want to re-use it in the future when fuel bills get too steep), but that you stop potential damage to it. Once the cap has been fitted then additional draught proofing can be undertaken lower down.
So start from the top and work downwards. If you do start from the bottom then you risk having a really damp chimney stack and this can let damp in that can appear anywhere down the flue line.