Your chimney’s components each have a unique role in keeping the fireplace burning safely and efficiently. However, many chimney and fireplace components have changed little in the last century. One advancement in the industry that is improving efficiency and changing chimneys is the top sealing damper.
Traditional dampers, also known as throat dampers, sit at the top of the firebox and separate the firebox from the rest of the chimney structure. The chimney is then open to outside air while the top of the flue is protected from the elements by a chimney cap.
Top sealing dampers are installed on top of the chimney. This seals the entire flue off from outside air and the elements. The damper is still opened and closed using a lever or pulley when the fireplace is in use. Top sealing dampers have grown in popularity because of their functionality, safety, and ability to improve efficiency.
Do I still need a chimney cap if I have a top sealing damper?
If you decide to install a top sealing damper, your chimney will no longer need a chimney cap. Because of the location of the top sealing damper, it acts in the same was as a chimney cap when it is closed, keeping moisture, debris, and animals out of the chimney by forming an airtight seal around the top of the flue.
The top sealing damper can be easily opened before a fire is started in the firebox; when the damper is open, the solid top protects against downdrafts and moisture getting into the chimney. Likewise, as a top sealing damper is only opened when the fireplace is in use the smoke, gas, and heat coming up the chimney act as a natural deterrent against animal entry.
How can my top sealing damper be more efficient?
Although they have similar functions not all dampers are created equal. Top sealing dampers differ from traditional throat dampers in that they can save you money on your heating and cooling bills; while they may not make your fireplace itself more efficient, they can prevent outside air from affecting the temperature inside your home.
While throat dampers seal off the firebox, the flue is left open to outside air; this means that the air inside the chimney is subject to the same temperature changes as the outside air. The fluctuating air temperature inside the chimney can affect the temperature in surrounding rooms. This causes the HVAC system to work harder and run longer to keep your home at a constant temperature.
Top sealing dampers can help minimize fluctuations in temperature inside your home; this means that your HVAC system can run less – and save you money on heating and cooling bills. Because the entire flue is sealed off from outside air, the air inside the chimney is less prone to temperature fluctuations. Likewise, keeping air inside the chimney at a constant temperature may make lighting fires easier.
Top sealing dampers are effective, easy to use, and can even save you money on your energy bill each month. For more information on top sealing dampers, contact Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney today!