Most homeowners are familiar with the components of their chimneys, but the damper is one that a few still don’t understand fully. Since it is located inside the structure, some may not even realize its importance to overall chimney function and efficiency. The damper helps to manage heat flow from the fireplace, but it also serves another important function. When you are not using the fireplace, it prevents a draft that can lead to air loss and drive up your electricity bill. Over time, some dampers do not close properly, and just a small space is enough for air to escape.
Many throat dampers do not seal effectively even when they are new. The texture of the surfaces prevents an airtight seal even if it closes fully. The best solution is to install what is known as a top damper. This improves efficiency and seals the chimney completely.
As the name implies, this type of damper is positioned at the top of the chimney. You can control it using a cable that extends into the firebox. The top damper has a rubber gasket for a tight seal. When you pull the cable, the lid comes down onto the gasket. When you release the cable, the damper will open. Another benefits of this type of damper is that it will keep insects and small animals from getting inside.
Some top dampers have screens, and chimney sweeps usually recommend these types. Even when you leave the damper open, the screen will protect the chimney from birds and animals. It will also keep debris from getting into the chimney.
The damper is important even in the warm months when you will not need to use the chimney. If you are running an air conditioner, cold air can escape through the chimney. It will make the cooling system work harder, and cause it to wear down faster. A top sealing damper will also prevent a downdraft which will bring odors from the chimney inside the home.
You do need to remember a few things if you get one of these dampers installed. First, you must be sure to open it before you start a fire or the home’s interior could fill with smoke. After using the fireplace, do not close the damper until you are certain that the fire is completely out. Talk to a chimney sweep about the right type of top damper for your chimney and how to use it safely.
The chimney sweeps here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service are CSIA Certified and we have years of experience under our belts. We strive to continue our education as often as possible so we’re always in the position to offer you the best possible chimney services in Drexel Hill and all along the Main Line. Call us at 610-626-2439 to discuss your chimney needs or to schedule an appointment for a chimney cleaning, chimney inspection, or chimney repair.