When you use your fireplace, you open the damper when you start a fire. When the fire is out, you close the damper and probably don’t give it much thought, if any at all. But do you realize how vital the damper is to a sustained burn? Mastering damper control for a more efficient fireplace is essential for longer and hotter fires. That can mean energy cost savings in winter. Let’s examine this concept and determine how a damper can make your fireplace more efficient.
A fireplace damper or chimney damper is simply a lid that you open and close to let out or keep air in. It can be located at the base of the chimney or the top of the chimney. There are three types of dampers:
This damper is easy to identify because of its shape and its nickname, the banana handle. These dampers open by pushing the handle upward and then fitting a groove into a ratchet to hold it in place.
This damper should be called the screw damper because you crank open a large screw. Rotary dampers can be problematic because they can become bent over time and more challenging to open. If that happens, a certified chimney sweep service needs to replace your damper.
This damper is similar to the poker damper but doesn’t have a separate ratchet to set the handle into. The notches are in the handle and the frame. This type of handle props open the damper.
As we stated earlier, there are two types of dampers: one at the top and one at the bottom of a chimney. The damper at the bottom of the chimney is also known as a traditional throat damper located at the top of a firebox. When a throat damper is shut, it closes a home off from the outside but doesn’t seal off the flue. Conversely, a top damper is mounted near the top of the flue and seals off the entire flue from the outdoors when you close it, keeping more warm air in your chimney. It also reduces water damage and keeps wildlife from making a home inside the chimney.
This question really depends on the type of fireplace you have. If you have a gas fireplace, you have to leave the damper open to allow gas to escape. Wood-burning fireplaces only require the damper to be open while the fireplace is in use, but only partially open if you want the fire to burn longer while allowing smoke and carbon monoxide to escape. As a precaution, with a wood-burning fireplace, you should place a carbon monoxide detector fifteen feet away from the fireplace. A carbon monoxide detector will warn you if your flue isn’t open enough. Remember that carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, invisible gas that can kill.
This concept is simple: you should leave your damper open on your wood-burning fireplace until all the embers are extinguished, but leaving it open overnight is definitely not efficient. Cold air will float down the flue and make your home cold, increasing your heating costs.
If you suspect that your damper is not working correctly, it will not perform at optimum levels. In the instance of a damaged damper, you should contact a reputable, experienced chimney sweep service to inspect it. Once the inspection is complete, the chimney sweeps will give you a written quote on repair or replacement costs. Don’t try to fix the damper yourself; if you do, you can install it incorrectly. A damper that isn’t installed correctly will not only let hot air out and rain, snow, cold air, and possibly wildlife in, but it can also interfere with the draft. If your chimney doesn’t have a sufficient draft, it will be much harder to light a fire and keep it going.
If your damper isn’t working correctly, give us a call in the greater Indianapolis, Northfield, Zionsville, Carmel, Noblesville, Fishers, Lawrence, Westfield, Avon, McCordsville, or Brownsburg areas at 317-757-6979 or fill out our easy contact form. We will set up a time when our chimney techs can come to your home to inspect your damper. Don’t wait until a defective damper causes other damage to your chimney; get in touch today.
Our Service Area
If you live within 20 miles of Marion County, there’s no need to call any other chimney provider! The team here at Chimney Solutions Indiana will be in our marked trucks and clean uniforms and at your door on time! We travel to Zionsville, Carmel, Fishers, Brownsburg, Westfield, Geist, Eagle Creek, Noblesville and all throughout the Indianapolis, IN area.
We believe that education and ongoing training is important, which is why we continuously invest in ourselves and our team to deliver better service to you. We’re Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) – certified and members of the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG), so whenever advancements are made within the industry, we’re among the first to know about it. When you work with Chimney Solutions, you can expect the latest information and the most advanced services and techniques. We strive to exceed expectations on every job from a routine chimney sweep and chimney cleaning to a full chimney restoration.
We’re committed to providing the best service possible and look forward to serving you and your family, year after year. Call 317-757-6979 to get started! >>