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How Does A Fireplace Damper Work?

Eager to familiarize yourself with your chimney’s anatomy? Knowing the ins and outs of your system and how it all works together to provide you warmth, comfort, and countless cozy evening indoors is beneficial in many ways. If you have any questions or inquiries regarding the state or function of your chimney or its parts, please feel free to ask the CSIA certified sweeps here at A-1 Chimney Specialist!

For now, let’s focus on one specific piece that plays a big part in helping your fireplace function safely and efficiently – the damper.

What Is A Damper?

masonry chimney with metal capThe damper is a device that seals your chimney when your fireplace is not in use. It works to help better control your indoor temperatures, saving you energy month-to-month. It also works to prevent cold downdrafts from sweeping through your home in the wintertime.

The damper also has a purpose of helping to get your fire going. You can easily open it so that you can enjoy your fireplace without smoke and dangerous fumes entering your home. You can also adjust it to control the size or strength of your fire.

Throat Dampers vs. Top-End Dampers

There are two main types of dampers: throat dampers and top-end dampers. Throat dampers tend to be more common, but top-end dampers are becoming more popular recently as homeowners realize all of its many benefits. So, what’s the difference? Throat damper sits in the lower portion of your chimney. They’ve done an effective job over the years, but there are a few problems that have come up.

First of all, the air is known to seep in through their metal-on-metal seal, which defeats the purpose of a damper in the first place. This can leave you struggling to keep your energy bills in check, and your HVAC system will need to work harder too. Another problem is that they are more prone to rust, which can lead to inefficiency or inhibit it from opening altogether. Debris, twigs, leaves, and other materials can also enter through the top of the chimney and put extra weight on the damper, making it hard to open when it’s time to light a fire.

Top-end dampers

Top-end dampers, on the other hand, form a tight seal with a rubber gasket right at the top of your chimney. There is no need to worry at all about the outdoor temps interfering with your home’s aesthetic. They are also able to work alongside your chimney cap to keep out animals, nesting materials, and other outdoor debris that can clog up your chimney or obstruct airflow.

When it comes to energy savings, maximum efficiency, and overall better protection for your fireplace, there’s no doubt that top-end dampers outweigh the throat dampers. Consider making the switch, and start reaping the benefits today!