With rising energy costs, we know you want to do everything you can to save money on heating this winter. An excellent way to reduce the loss of energy is by installing a chimney damper. Chimney dampers are installations which seal off the flue of your fireplace, preventing heat (or cool) from escaping your home. There are several types of chimney dampers, some which are installed at the throat of your chimney close to the fireplace, and some which are installed on the exterior of your chimney. No matter which you choose, you’ll experience a marked difference in the amount of heat lost through your chimney system.
If you’ve ever used the fireplace in your home, chances are you’ve used the chimney damper, perhaps not even knowing it. A chimney damper is an installation which is opened to allow smoke to exit your home, and closed to seal your chimney when the fireplace is not in use. A damper’s primary function is to prevent the loss of valuable (and expensive) heat and air conditioning through your chimney, but serves other purposes as well. One benefit of a chimney damper is to prevent animals, droppings and debris from the outdoors from entering your home through your flue. Another benefit is to prevent moisture from accumulating in your chimney, which can actually cause structural damage to your chimney system. The area in which you live can be a determining factor in deciding which type of damper to install in your home; ask your service technician what she recommends for your location.
What are the types of chimney dampers?
While there are many variations of each, there are essentially two types of chimney dampers: chimney throat dampers and chimney cap dampers. Chimney throat dampers are installed directly above your fireplace, and chimney cap dampers are installed at the very top of the chimney. Chimney cap dampers are excellent devices for preventing the entry of animals into your warm and inviting fireplace, and also serve as a barrier to protect against the entry of rain and other elements. Chimney cap dampers may need to be left open, however, as your fireplace smolders, leaving your fireplace susceptible to the elements.
Which damper should I choose?
There are several variations in dampers, including cost, ease of installation and efficiency. No matter which you choose, always have your damper installed by a professional, certified technician. Failure to do so can put your home and family in unnecessary danger. Choose a damper with a rubber or rubber-like seal, which will “lock” your chimney airtight, preventing drafts through the chimney. This seal will keep the elements out and the air conditioning in. Most older models are cast iron, and will not effectively save energy. Do shop according to budget, but realize that sometimes you get what you pay for. A low cost damper can also mean a low quality damper, causing a cost in energy bills which will more than offset the savings on the damper’s price. Finally, be sure to consult with your technician regarding what damper is best for your climate, location and the structure of your fireplace. He can recommend a product to you which will save you money in the long run.
At Total Chimney Care, we service and install all types of dampers. So if you have questions about your damper or would like to upgrade to a top sealing damper, contact us today.