Are you aware that the heat that escapes through your chimney is responsible for about 8% of your heating costs each winter? That’s what my topic is today here on the blog. Eight percent may not sound like a lot of money, but consider the idea of paying that extra amount every month. And it is probably even higher than 8% when winter temperatures reach record lows like they did this year. So let’s talk about ways to use your chimney damper to reduce your energy bills.
How to Cut Energy Costs with the Chimney Damper:
- Close the chimney damper when the fireplace is not in use
- Test the damper for proper functionality
- Inspect the damper at least once per year to see if it needs to be replaced
- Replace old or worn chimney dampers
Testing the chimney damper is relatively easy and may be done in a couple of different ways. Here are two easy suggestions:
Close the damper
Light a match, incense, or something you can easily blow out
Watch the trail of smoke
The smoke should remain in sight; it should not be blown back into the room or allowed to go up the chimney. If the smoke blows back into the room your damper is allowing outside air to enter your home through the chimney. If the smoke goes up the chimney, the damper is not sealing and is allowing heat and air conditioned air to exit through the chimney.
Place a small piece of paper or a dollar bill between the damper and plate
Close the damper
Tug the paper lightly
The paper should remain in place. If it pulls out too easily, the damper seal is leaky and allowing air to enter and exit your home, even while closed.
Top Mounted Chimney Damper
A top-mounted damper is a little more difficult to test, but it must be done at least once per year. A top-mounted unit works similarly to a double paned window in regards to sealing out the outside air. The controls are in easy reach in the fireplace. Top-mounted chimney dampers also help reduce energy costs by ensuring that your chimney is closed when it needs to be, and as open as you want it to be when needed. Ask a certified chimney sweep about top-mounted dampers the next time you need to replace your damper seal.
Remember, treat your chimney and fireplace as if they are appliances that offer great benefit to your home. Schedule yearly inspections and maintenance to make sure your family and home are safe from fireplace and chimney accidents. Ask your chosen chimney sweep about using your chimney damper to reduce your energy bills.