Help temporarily(?) sealing fireplace that previously had a wood insert

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New Member
Aug 5, 2021
Hi everyone,

I'm not sure if this is the right place to ask but figured I'd give it a try. I moved into a home a couple of months ago, and it has a fireplace in the basement that had a large wood-burning insert in it. It was an Olsen Inferno, I believe. Anyway, our home insurance company said we had to remove it, so we did, but now we just have an open fireplace and a basement that smells like years of smoke (some days are worse than others).

The chimney was swept and capped, it can be used but at this particularly moment we don't plan to use it. I'm wondering if there are temporary seals or covers you can get that fit into an arched opening, to both block the odour that's coming out and just because I don't really want an open fireplace look. Hopefully that makes sense.

Thanks so much!


Staff member
Nov 18, 2005
South Puget Sound, WA
The basement could be a negative pressure zone, especially in summer with upstairs windows open. A block-off plate could be fashioned to seal off the damper area. For a temporary seal, they make a chimney balloon that can be inflated to seal off the flue or there are flueblockers sold. Both of these items are on Amazon. Search on chimney balloon and flueblocker.


Minister of Fire
Jan 19, 2019
SE North Carolina
If you sensitive to the smell it can be hard. The cleaner you make it the less smell. Even after we had a sweeping I could still smell it and the damper closed pretty well. With a good damper seal several hours of scrubbing the firebricks with wire brushes then a good detergent followed by a couple coats of paint( it was a chore to get off later) and the smell was almost gone. really hot days if you stuck your head in there you could smell it.

So remove it and seal it. Better you do in both fronts the better off you will be.