Damper Problems: Is it Time for a New Damper?

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The damper is one of the most important parts of the chimney. It controls the amount of oxygen that is accessible to the fireplace, and allows you to control the way your fireplace or wood burning stove burns. It controls the chimney effect which occurs when warm air rises up through the chimney and creates suction. Closing the damper slightly keeps the maximum amount of warm air in while allowing just enough cooler fresh air in to help control the burn of the fire. It also provides a barrier that keeps cool air in and warm air out during the summer months.

Learning how to use your damper properly is extremely important and will reflect in the amount of wood you use throughout the season. Today we’re going to discuss the two types of chimney damper and potential pros and cons for each.

Types of Chimney Damper

There are two primary types of chimney damper: top mounted and throat damper. The throat damper is the most popular because it is easier to access if something goes wrong and easier to maintain as required for proper functionality. Both come with their fair share of pros and cons, so let’s take a look at them now.

Top Mounted Damper: The top mounted damper is, as the description indicates, mounted on top of the chimney. It acts as both a chimney cap and a damper simultaneously. They are usually operated using a handle that hangs down on the inside of the fireplace. A chain allows you to adjust the amount of draft so the damper isn’t simply open or closed.

Throat Damper: The throat damper is located at the bottom of the chimney where it connects with the fireplace or wood burning stove. It does not protect the structure of the chimney itself and does not act as a cap. They are usually operated by a handle or a knob on the outside of the fireplace.

All homeowners must choose the solution that works best for their particular situation and preferences. Most people choose the standard throat damper because it’s easier to keep an eye on in case anything goes wrong with the damper itself. The lack of cap does require that a chimney cap be installed to protect the interior of the chimney and flue and to prevent serious damage to the chimney.

Call me at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service at 610-626-2439 if you would like a better description of fireplace or chimney mechanics. We’re located in Drexel Hill, PA and provide CSIA Certified chimney services throughout the surrounding counties. We specialize in all aspects of chimney repair, maintenance, and inspection. We are a licensed Pennsylvania Home Improvement Contractor and certified to install, inspect, and clean dryer vents as well.

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