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The Purpose of a Chimney Damper

If you have a woodstove or open-hearth fireplace in your home, you’re familiar with your chimney’s dampers. It’s one of the few working components of a fireplace that you have to know how to use when lighting a fire. Have you ever wondered what exactly the purpose of the damper is? And how does it work?

What is a chimney damper for?

Your chimney is a hollow tube that travels from your fireplace straight up and out of your roof. That hollow tube can let air flow freely out of your home and cold drafts to find their way in on blustery days. The chimney damper is meant to stop that flow of air. In fact, having the right damper in place can actually save you money on your home energy bills by lowering the amount of warm air that’s lost through your chimney when the fireplace isn’t in use.

Where is the chimney damper located?

In most chimneys, the chimney damper is located directly above the firebox, at the base of the chimney throat. There are some specialized fireplace dampers, however. Top-sealing chimney dampers have become an increasingly popular option, as they form a complete seal around the chimney opening when the damper is closed to prevent moisture, air, and debris from entering the chimney flue.

How do chimney dampers work?

If you have a traditional chimney damper, the mechanics behind the damper is relatively simple. There is an outer metal rim and an inner metal flap. When the damper is closed, the flap will cover the entire chimney flue to prevent the exchange of air between your home and your chimney. When the damper is open, the damper flap twists or lifts out of the way to allow smoke to escape through the chimney. If you have a top-sealing chimney damper, either a flap on the damper will open to allow smoke out, or the entire damper will rise up and off of the chimney on a hinged framework when the damper is open.

Can dampers break?

Yes, dampers can break and become stuck either completely open, completely closed or somewhere in between. Another common damper problem is warping. Because the chimney damper sits right on top of the firebox, it deals with a lot of heat. The extreme heat of the fire can cause the metal to warp, as can moisture that makes its way down the chimney. When the chimney damper warps, the damper flap will fail to form a complete seal when closed. This allows warm air to escape from your home even when the damper is closed. Additionall, it can allow cold air to draft in.

What do you do when a chimney damper breaks?

When chimney dampers warp or break entirely, a top-sealing damper is usually recommended as a replacement. That’s because it can be difficult to get into the chimney flue to replace a damper in the chimney throat. It’s also because top-sealing dampers do a better job of closing off the chimney flue and keeping water out.

If your chimney damper is giving you problems, call Your Chimney Sweep in Indianapolis IN! We can evaluate your existing damper and install a replacement damper when needed!

By Joe Sauter on January 26th, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Advantages of Top-Sealing Dampers

Like an appliance, your chimney requires maintenance and repair as heat, weather, and time take their toll. One of the first elements to give out in a chimney is often the chimney damper. Since most chimney dampers are metal on metal, they don’t form a particularly tight seal to begin with. When they’re hit with heat from your fireplace and moisture from smoke and the outside environment, they’ll begin to rust and warp. A warped chimney damper might be difficult to open or close. It can also fail to form a complete barrier when closed.

When your chimney damper stops operating properly, it’s time for a replacement. Most chimneys are installed with damper located in the throat. However, these dampers are usually replaced with top-sealing chimney dampers. They are placed atop the chimney crown.  Afterwards, they are attached to cables. These cables run down the chimney to a handle or lever that allows you to open and close the damper.

Benefits of a top-sealing damper.

When replacing a chimney damper, top-sealing dampers offer a convenient option. This is because their exterior location makes them easier to fit than a replacement throat damper. Convenience, however, isn’t the only reason to choose a top-sealing damper. This type of damper is fitted with a rubber gasket that forms a tight seal when the damper is closed. That means your new damper will do a more complete job of protecting your chimney from the elements. With a top-sealing damper, water and cold air can’t enter through your chimney when the damper is closed. In addition, warm air from your home can’t rise out and exit through the chimney when the fireplace isn’t in use.

Top-sealing dampers also keep animals, birds, and debris out of your chimney. Many top-sealing dampers attach to their bases with collapsible metal caging. This means even when the damper is open, birds, bats, animals and leaves can’t enter your chimney. When it comes to keeping moisture, animals, birds and debris out of your chimney, nothing works better than a top-sealing chimney damper!

Need a new damper? Call Your Chimney Sweep!

Is your existing chimney damper failing, stuck in place, or letting a draft in? If so, call Your Chimney Sweep to ask about having a top-sealing damper installed! Your Chimney Sweep installs top-of-the-line top-sealing dampers that will restore your chimney’s function. Plus, it protects your chimney from animals and the elements and last for years to come. Our chimney technicians will evaluate your existing chimney and find the right top-sealing damper to fit your flue. We’ll even install it the right way! Call now to schedule an appointment and have your new top-sealing damper ready in time for the burning season!

By Joe Sauter on June 26th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment