Function And Importance of a Chimney Damper
Although they are typically tucked out of sight, every chimney in Western New York needs an active damper to vent the smoke and exhaust and to keep rain, debris, and pests out of the fireplace and the house. If you’re not familiar with the damper in your traditional or prefabricated fireplace in your Rochester home, this article will help you understand its function and importance for keeping your family safe.
What Is a Chimney Damper and Where Is It?
The chimney or fireplace damper is a metal or cast-iron plate typically installed just above the firebox at the bottom of the flue. It also has a rubber gasket around the edges, creating an airtight seal when shut.
Some fireplaces have a top-sealing damper installed on top of the chimney that also functions as a chimney cap.
Before lighting the fireplace, it is essential to open the damper all the way. It will draw in oxygen so you can light a fire. But, more importantly, it will let the smoke and fumes, including poisonous carbon monoxide gas, vent up the flue and exit the chimney at the top of the stack.
Caution: Attempting to light a fireplace when the damper is closed is hazardous. It can result in a dangerous backdraft that fills your living space with smoke and harmful contaminants. After lighting the fireplace and having a productive fire, you can adjust the intensity of the heat and flames by partially closing the damper.
It is safe to close the damper when the flames are extinguished completely. Doing so will keep the warm air in your living space and protect the fireplace from rain, wind, and pests. It would be best to close your damper during the warmer months when you’re not using the fireplace. It will prevent the cooler indoor air from escaping through the fireplace, lowering cooling costs.
Throat Vs. Top-Mount Dampers
- A Throat damper is installed in the chimney’s throat above the firebox. Since throat dampers are close to the fire, they eventually warp or corrode, requiring repair or replacement. Although throat dampers keep water out of the firebox, rain and wind can still get into the flue.
- A Top-Mount damper is installed on the top of the chimney and also serves as a chimney cap. In addition to keeping pests and debris from entering the chimney, it will also keep rain and wind out of the flue too.
Damper Repair and Replacement in Buffalo – Rochester, NY
Whether your fireplace has a throat damper or top-sealing damper, it will need repair or replacement at some point from normal wear and tear. Extreme weather, moisture intrusion, and improper installation and maintenance can also damage the damper requiring a premature replacement. When a throat damper is damaged beyond repair, we typically recommend installing a top-sealing damper.
Does your chimney damper need repair or replacement?
From dampers and inserts to fireplaces and accessories, we have everything your hearth desires at the Felgemacher Fireplace Shop.
Visit us at 2727 Broadway, Suite 5 in Buffalo. Call (716) 482-1820 or contact us online to schedule an appointment today!