Your chimney has a number of components that work together to keep your fireplace burning safely and efficiently. One chimney component that is used every time you have a fire is the damper. Having your chimney’s damper inspected is important to the overall condition of your chimney system.
Located at the top of the firebox between the firebox and the flue, metal dampers are designed to seal off the firebox from the flue when the fireplace is not in use. Dampers can be opened and closed using a pulley or lever; opening the damper allows smoke and gas to freely vent up the chimney when the fireplace is in use, while closing the damper prevents conditioned air from escaping up the chimney. While most homes still have throat dampers, more and more homeowners are choosing to upgrade to top mounting dampers.
Why are dampers important?
Dampers are serve important purposes in both the safety and functionality of your fireplace. One of the primary purposes of the damper is to prevent the loss of heated or cooled air up the chimney. Closing the damper when the fireplace is not in use prevents conditioned air from travelling up the chimney, as well as outside air from rushing in and affecting the temperature in your home. In this way, closing the damper when the fireplace is not in use can prevent energy loss and reduce your heating and cooling costs.
Dampers also help protect your fireplace system in the event of chimney leaks or animal entry. When the damper is closed, water from chimney leaks stays in the flue; this protects the delicate refractory tiles of the firebox. Likewise, keeping the damper closed keeps animals out of your firebox – and the rest of your home. Because of this, it is important to keep the damper closed whenever the fireplace is not in use.
Exposure to heat, damage from water, or years of wear and tear can all cause damage to your damper. The following are signs your damper may need to be repaired or replaced.
- Broken pulley or lever: The pulley or lever allows you to open and close the damper when the fireplace is in use. If the pulley breaks, the damper remain stuck open or closed.
- Loss of airtight seal: If you can hear or feel air flowing through the damper even when it is closed, it may have lost its airtight seal. Exposure to heat or the elements can warp the metal of the damper and break its seal.
- Rust on the damper: Rust or oxidization of the damper is caused by exposure to moisture. Because of the location of the damper, the presence of rust is indicative of a chimney leak.
Your chimney’s damper does more than just help smoke safely vent during fires. Because of this, it is important to have it regularly inspected for signs of damage. To schedule an appointment to have your damper inspected, contact Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney today.