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6 Best Ways to Close Off a Fireplace

How often do you use your fireplace? If the answer is never, you may want to seal it off. Here are the best temporary and permanent options.

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Hello fall sign on the mantel - autumn style for the homeKristen Prahl/Getty Images

Why Close Off a Fireplace?

There’s no denying the ambiance of a wood-burning fireplace. The rosy glow, crackling sounds and gentle heat create an unmistakably cozy space on chilly fall evenings. But owning a fireplace is a lot of work — too much for many people. If you hardly use your fireplace, the upkeep might be more than it’s worth. That’s one of the reasons people choose to close off a fireplace.

Closing off a fireplace means “sealing off the fireplace opening and or flue system to stop the flow of air to and from your home,” says Carol Ann Blaken of MCP Chimney & Masonry INC. This flow of air can hurt your home’s energy efficiency. Even with a damper, chimneys can let warm air out and cold air in, or vice versa in the summer. Some of these ways to close off a fireplace are temporary, so you can save on heating bills while preserving the fireplace’s functionality.

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Chimney Diagram VectorMine/Getty Images

Close Off Fireplaces with a Throat Damper

The first, and perhaps easiest, way to close off a fireplace is with the damper. “If you have a bottom/standard masonry damper you can close it and seal it closed with silicone to stop the airflow,” says Blaken. The damper itself goes a long way toward closing off the fireplace, which is why every wood-burning fireplace needs one. It also prevents rain and animals from coming into your home. With a little silicone, you can make it more airtight. If you change your mind, just remove the silicone.

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fh12oct_532_06_026 protect your chimney gate to keep fall pests outFamily Handyman

Close Off Fireplaces with a Chimney Cap Damper

A chimney cap damper seals a fireplace from the top. This style of damper is very secure; some even come with a rubber seal. “If you have a top closing cap damper, they are more efficient than bottom closing dampers,” explains Blaken. “Those would be the easiest, most temporary solutions.”

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Maintain the Look with Fireplace Doors

You can also purchase doors for the fireplace opening. These seal the fireplace while adding to your home décor. Doors can be used in addition to the dampers mentioned above to “maintain the look of the fireplace without the function,” explains Blaken. Glass fireplace doors are a good option for people with curious kids and pets who might try to explore a fireplace left uncovered.

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white fireplace in classical arch .FavoreStudio/Getty Images

Seal the Fireplace Opening

There are more permanent options available to close off a fireplace, but they’re also more time consuming. “You can also cover/seal the fireplace opening with brick or drywall if you want to eliminate the fireplace altogether,” says Blaken. You could build a drywall fireplace cover or hire a pro to do it for you. Some drywall fireplace covers act like a plug and can be removed from the opening at will. This DIY fireplace insert is an attractive option. Closing a fireplace with brick is a bigger commitment.

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Gas Fireplace Gettyimages 183241663ranplett/Getty Images

Fireplace Inserts

A gas fireplace insert is an excellent option for people who are tired of the wood-burning energy vampire. You might also use a gas fireplace more often, since you won’t have to keep firewood on hand and manually build a fire every time the mood strikes. They can be costly and usually require professional installation. However, it might be worth the cost if you’ll use it more often.

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Seal the Flue

You can purchase products that seal your chimney flue, such as this inflatable fireplace plug. They’re inexpensive and easy to install, and they come in many shapes and sizes to fit your fireplace’s dimensions. These flue sealers are another temporary way to close off a fireplace. You may also see them called draft stoppers. By leaving the opening clear, you can decorate the non-functioning fireplace.

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