Mastering Damper Control for a More Efficient Fireplace
Chimney dampers are unseen but essential chimney components. Mastering damper control for a more efficient fireplace is simple, and it will help cut energy costs. Damper control involves two basic steps, as detailed below. Reading on, you will also learn what differentiates the various types of dampers and how to operate them. Keep in mind that the chimney professionals at Guardian Chimney Sweep can help you with damper control and provide other insights on achieving fireplace efficiency.
What is a Chimney Damper?
Chimney dampers are metal devices that open and close inside the chimney system. Dampers are typically made with cast iron or stainless-steel. They are designed to withstand heat.
Controlling Your Chimney Damper
Here are the two steps involved in mastering damper control for a more efficient fireplace:
Before lighting a fire in the fireplace, open the chimney damper. This will allow combustion fumes to exit the home. A strong chimney draft is essential to fireplace efficiency. Therefore, be sure the damper is fully open. Further details on how to operate the various types of dampers are below.
When the fire and remaining embers have died out, close the damper. When closed, dampers should create an airtight seal that stops the exchange of air that might occur in the chimney between your homes interior and the out-of-doors. In winter, heating costs will go up significantly if the damper door stays open between fires. It has the same effect as leaving a window open.
Basic Types of Dampers
The two basic types of chimney dampers are conventional throat dampers and top-mount dampers aka top-sealing dampers.
Throat dampers are traditionally installed in masonry fireplace and chimney structures. Placed in the opening directly over the firepit, throat dampers will usually rust if moisture gets into the chimney flue. They are also prone to warp as a result of overly hot fires in the fireplace.
There are various styles of throat dampers and the method of opening and closing the damper is what sets them apart.
Your damper may open by way of rotary control, which is a screw-type damper. Typically, turning the rotary control device clockwise all the way opens the damper. You will typically close the damper by turning it counterclockwise all the way.
Another common method for opening a throat damper is with a push rod or ratcheting lift. You push up or lift the rod all the way up to open the damper. Pull it down to close the damper.
If you see a sharp increase in your energy bills, test your throat damper to be sure it is airtight. One simple way to do this is to light a match and hold it up toward the closed damper. If the smoke goes up rather than inside the room, it is an indication that the seal is not preventing an exchange of air. Contact your trusted chimney sweep company for help.
Top-mount dampers are installed at the top of the chimney. These dampers have a chain or cable that runs down the chimney flue to a position over the firepit. You will usually release the cable or chain to open the damper. Pull downward on the cable or chain and secure it on the rigging to close the damper.
Top-mount dampers are significantly more efficient than throat dampers. This is because they are better at creating an airtight seal. If the chimney is installed on an outside wall, another contributing factor in improving heating efficiency may be that a cold column of air cannot fill the chimney with a top-sealing damper as it can with a throat damper.
When homeowners have switched from using a throat damper to a top-mount damper, they have often seen a significant reduction in home heating and cooling costs.
Contact Guardian About Dampers and a More Efficient Fireplace
The certified chimney professionals at Guardian Chimney Sweep can give you hands-on assistance with mastering damper control for a more efficient fireplace. We are happy to answer any questions you may have about fireplaces, heating stoves, chimneys, top-mount damper installation, and more. Our chimney sweeps are qualified and experienced in providing damper replacement, annual chimney inspections, chimney cleaning, masonry repair, masonry rebuilds, tuckpointing, chimney cap installation, fireplace installation, chimney flashing, chimney crown rebuilds, and more.
Call us at Guardian Chimney Sweep today at the phone number below closest to your South Texas home or fill out our online contact form. Schedule the installation of a top-mount damper or any other chimney services you may need. We guarantee your satisfaction.
• Conroe: (936) 271-9781
• Houston: (713) 401-2011
• Outside Houston Metro Area: (888) 306-6069 (Toll-Free)