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Signs Your Fireplace Damper Needs Repairs

Nothing beats a traditional wood-burning fireplace. The sounds, smells, and atmosphere they create can be simulated but are unmatched. However, owning and using a fireplace isn’t easy; maintenance is required, and one critical component, the damper, can become damaged over time. Let’s look at the damper and how to know yours is ready for replacement.

Top Mount Chimney Damper installations in Grand Island NYWhat is a Fireplace Damper?

The fireplace damper is a component that sits in the flue above the firebox and regulates airflow in and out of the fireplace. When open, the damper allows smoke and harmful gasses to escape. When closed, it prevents cold air from getting into the home and maintains warmth.

Dampers come in various designs, including throat dampers, which are located above the firebox, and top-sealing dampers, which sit at the top of the chimney. Each type performs the same function but operates differently and has its advantages.

Spotting A Damaged Chimney Damper

Because your damper plays a crucial role in your fireplace’s operation, it’s important to know when it’s damaged beyond repair, and here are the most common signs yours needs to be replaced.

Difficulty Operating

If your damper is tough to open or close, it could indicate rusting, warping, or mechanical failure. Dampers should operate smoothly without effort, and any resistance suggests you need a professional check-up or possibly a replacement.

Visible Damage or Rust

You or a professional chimney sweep should regularly inspect the damper for signs of rust or damage. Corrosion can impair the mechanical function and make it less effective at sealing the fireplace.

Drafts and Energy Loss

Do you feel a draft when the damper is closed? If so, it’s a telltale sign of a malfunction. A damper that doesn’t close all the way, resulting in drafts, makes your home less comfortable and can send your energy bills through the roof.


As mentioned, the damper allows smoke and toxic gases to escape up the chimney. If your living room is smoky or you feel ill (possibly from carbon monoxide gas), it could mean the damper isn’t doing its job or something’s blocking the flue. Call a professional chimney sweep to inspect the fireplace and chimney and determine the problem.

Water Damage or Leaks

Water is the number one enemy of your chimney and can cause the damper to rust. If you see evidence of leaks, especially around the damper, it’s not forming a tight seal.

Don’t Delay Damper Replacement

It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the everyday household chores and repairs that need doing and put things like damper repair or replacement on the back burner. However, taking care of it sooner rather than later is important, and here’s why.


A malfunctioning damper can lead to dangerous conditions, including the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning from smoke not venting correctly.

Energy Efficiency

Besides regulating airflow, the damper keeps warm air in and cold air out, reducing your heating costs by allowing you to rely more on your fireplace for warmth than the furnace.

damper replacements in Webster, NY

Keep Unwanted Critters Out

Animals like squirrels and raccoons are attracted to warm chimneys during winter, and a damper can prevent them from getting into your house.

Let Us Get Your Fireplace & Chimney In Shape

Flegemacher Fireplace Shop is Buffalo and Rochester, NY’s go-to chimney and fireplace service. We’re a third-generation company dedicated to giving customers the best service at the best price.

Whether you need damper repair or replacement, chimney sweeping, rebuilding, maintenance, or a new stove or fireplace insert, we’ve got you covered.

Call us today at 716-907-4914.