Every fireplace needs a damper. Whether your chimney has a throat damper or a top-sealing damper, a damper of any kind will prevent your heat and air conditioning from escaping when you’re not using your fireplace. If your fireplace does not have a damper, you may as well be tossing money out your chimney.
In addition, a broken or damaged damper affects how efficiently and safely your fireplace operates. Many fireplace dampers will cease to open all the way because of water damage or soot buildup on the smoke shelf. If your chimney’s damper doesn’t open all the way, you are impeding the flow of air into your chimney so that it becomes a breeding ground for creosote, which is a flammable residue that sticks to the walls of the chimney.
Installing a Damper
A chimney damper closes your chimney flue while you are not using it and ensures that the cool or warm air generated by your HVAC unit stays inside your house where it belongs. The damper is a metal spring door that’s usually placed at the top of the chimney to make it as airtight as possible. Affixed to the damper is an extended metal chain that lets you open and close the chimney from the fireplace. If you are at all concerned with energy savings, it’s very important to use a chimney damper. Keep in mind that a chimney without a damper can eat up at least 25% of your home’s energy. Don’t be tempted to buy a cheap chimney damper, as inferior models won’t provide you much in the way of energy savings.
Types of Dampers
The two most common types of dampers are throat dampers and top-sealing dampers. Throat dampers are located in the “throat” of the chimney, while the top-sealing dampers sit atop the chimney, sealing out down drafts, animals, and rain. These dampers are favorites with most chimney professionals and homeowners because they also provide energy savings. We know that you and your family want to enjoy your fireplace and that you want to be sure you’ve done everything you can to keep your loved ones safe. One thing that you can do to ensure this is to have your chimney, damper included, inspected regularly so that you can rest easy knowing it’s in good shape.
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