The main function of your chimney damper is to close off the flue when it’s not in use (or, more specifically, when you’re not having a fire). But like many parts in your chimney system, the damper’s role is a multi-faceted one.
A properly functioning damper brings a couple of different benefits. An open flue allows for the free flow of air into and out of your home, which is great during a fire. But when a damper is improperly sealed or stuck in the open position when you don’t want it to be (when you’re not enjoying a fire), you’re spending a lot of money to condition temperate air in your living area, and then having your chimney fight against those efforts, letting conditioned air out. An excellent solution to this energy waste is the installation of an energy-top or top-sealing damper. These dampers provide an air-tight seal at the top of your flue, which keeps outside air out and inside air in.
There’s also the issue with your chimney system’s worst and most tenacious attacker, water. The damper is one of many parts built into your system to help protect against the intrusion of water, which, once inside your flue, can erode masonry joints, corrode metal parts and contribute to a generally unsafe and inefficient chimney system. Top-sealing dampers are especially good at keeping out water because of their location. They are situated just above the flue, and provide a protective water-tight seal at the very top of your chimney system.
If you’re experiencing a chimney leak, the damper is one of the first parts we’ll check to determine the source of your troubles. If, while operating your fireplace, you find that the damper isn’t opening and closing properly, give Mountain Man Fireplace and Chimney a call – we’ll check your damper to see if it can be repaired, or recommend an energy-efficient replacement.
Different Types Of Chimney Dampers
Many older chimneys were installed with what’s called a throat damper, which is installed right above the fireplace’s firebox. These dampers can last a long while when a chimney system is properly maintained and swept, but it’s not uncommon to see throat dampers get stuck, corrode or come off of their track. In some cases, we can repair a throat damper, but more often than not, homeowners choose to replace throat dampers with a top-sealing damper (for added energy efficiency and water protection).
Top-sealing dampers are installed at the top of your flue, and have a gasket that thoroughly closes your system off, preventing water from getting in and preventing the kind of air transfer you’ll see even with a functioning throat damper. Top-sealing dampers offer function, durability and energy efficiency that throat dampers don’t and we find that many homeowners choose to have them installed in their system even if their throat damper is still functioning.
We’ve seen home energy audits again and again note older fireplaces as being major sources of energy loss in a home. Top-sealing dampers make a big difference in minimizing that loss. In fact, replacing a throat damper with a top-sealing damper often saves homeowners up to $350 a year in heating costs.
At Mountain Man Fireplace and Chimney, we carefully select all of the products we install, including dampers, finding the best mix of quality, warranty and service. Our experienced technicians are trained to provide top-notch service, so that the products we install perform to the highest expectations and standards.
If you’re having trouble with your chimney damper, have a leak, or want to learn more about top-sealing dampers, call Mountain Man Fireplace and Chimney at 303-679-1601!