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The Purpose of a Chimney Damper

For most homeowners, a chimney is just that, a chimney.  Much of the population sees their fireplaces and chimneys as an accent piece; a let’s get romantic tool or keep warm when the power goes out.

If not used properly, a chimney can cause your heating bill to skyrocket or perhaps even trigger a fire.  A fireplace and chimney are more than just an opening in the roof.  It has important working parts.

Chimney Dampers

chimney damper, rocky hill ct

One of those working parts is a chimney damper.  Older homes may have a chimney without a damper, causing the air conditioning to escape in the summer and heated air to disappear in the winter.  Although not legally required, every fireplace should have a damper.

There are two different types of dampers.  The most common type is a simple lever that either slides back and forth or a chain and pulley set that opens a damper at the top of the chimney.  Both types open and close a door or valve, much like a faucet. If the damper is open, it allows all smoke and ash from the burning wood to rise through the chimney, keeping that same smoke and ash from flowing back into the home.

A Chimney Damper’s Job

What many people don’t realize is that fire is a living, breathing thing.  It needs oxygen and fuel, just like plants and animals.  Without either one of those elements, the fire dies or at least slows down drastically.  A fireplace damper controls the fire. The chimney damper dictates the amount of airflow/oxygen the fire gets.  A closed damper allows less oxygen in resulting in the fire goes out.

chimney damper operation, newington ctIs The Chimney Damper Open Or Closed?

The best way to determine if a chimney damper is open or closed, do the following before lighting a fire.  The damper’s handle is in the firebox (where the fire burns) is directly over the flame.  It is generally made of metal and will get hot and cause severe burns.  If you must touch the damper’s handle after the fire is lit, put oven mitts on before touching it.

If your chimney has a chain hanging down, that’s called a top-sealing damper, the process of checking is the same.  Pulling the chain down will close the damper.

Look up into the chimney, and if you can see the walls inside the chimney, then the damper is open, and it’s OK to build a fire.  If you look up and all you see is a large piece of metal and nothing else, your damper is closed.

Call Northeastern Chimney Service

The absolute best way to know what type of damper you have and how to operate it is to call Northeastern Chimney Service.

Our company uses the best equipment and supplies from the area’s top manufacturers. We also have a team of top-notch technicians who will service and inspect your fireplace. For your family’s safety, annual inspections of your fireplace are recommended.

If it’s time to get your chimney inspected, repaired, or a new look, please call us today.

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