If you have a traditional masonry fireplace or have a professionally installed fireplace, you should have a damper. It’s an essential part of the chimney system. Ordinarily a metal or cast iron damper assembly is installed into the throat of the chimney, but they can also be part of the furnace, stove, or stovepipe. There are still others that are installed at the chimney opening, called top-sealing dampers. No matter what kind of appliance, fireplace, or stove you have, a damper is necessary. It serves many jobs, and is essential for proper function of the chimney system.
How Your Chimney Works
When your fire is burning your chimney is working. To work properly your chimney uses a system of drafts and air pressures in and outside your home to vent your fire. Without the chimney there are a number of problems that can arise for your property and your family.
The Job of the Chimney Damper
Your damper serves many important functions, all of which affect your comfort, safety, and health. If it’s broken or missing, it can be detrimental to the whole chimney system.
- The damper controls the flame.
While you use your fireplace through the winter, your damper helps you start, control, and smother a fire. When used properly, the damper controls the draft that essentially controls the fire making your life easier through the burning months.
- The damper helps keep your family safe.
When the chimney is working properly, your family is safer. The fireplace and chimney system depends on many factors and many parts that work together to vent harmful gases and particulate matter from the home. If the damper becomes rusted and stuck in place, the chimney can fail to vent properly, putting your family at risk for respiratory concerns, carbon monoxide poisoning, and fire.
- The damper helps you plan for summer.
When warm weather comes and you’re ready to close off your chimney for the summer, the damper can keep stale and foul odors from entering your home as summer humidity lingers in the system. If you have a top-sealing damper, the rubber seal keeps water, humidity, and animals out during the off-season.
- The damper can save you money.
Dampers control the chimney’s draft, both while the chimney is in use, and through the summer. Your home can lose up to 75 percent of it’s conditioned air through the chimney if the damper is missing or left open! The best way to avoid this added cost is to prevent the draft from occurring. The top-sealing damper, often called the energy-saving damper, is the best way to prevent this air loss through the summer. If your damper needs repaired or replaced, consider a top-sealing damper for the added benefit of substantial savings year after year!
If you have a concern that your damper is malfunctioning, you should call a professional today. A certified chimney sweep can diagnose a chimney problem swiftly and plan repairs accordingly. Find out how our certified chimney sweeps at Chesapeake Chimney can help you by calling 410-535-0052 today.