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How to Get Rid of Chimney Odors

Your chimney might sit unused during the warm summer months, but warmer temperatures can bring an unpleasant surprise from your flue: Chimney odors. There are several causes of chimney odors, and nearly all of those causes are intensified when the weather — and the air in your chimney — heats up. If the air in your home is less than fresh due to odors from your chimney, you’re likely eager to get rid of that smell. Here are several ways you can get rid of chimney odors.

Have your chimney swept

Many homeowners wait until the fall, until they’re ready to use their chimney again, to schedule their annual chimney sweeping. When it comes to preventing chimney odors from filling your home, that can backfire. Debris in your chimney, whether it’s creosote, twigs and leaves or animal remains or droppings, can generate smells when exposed to summer’s heat and humidity. By scheduling your annual chimney sweeping during the spring instead of the fall, you can save yourself from the frustration and embarrassment of chimney odors.

Address chimney leaks, and consider waterproofing

Moisture can be a major culprit when it comes to chimney odors. Whether water is making its way in through a crack or seeping in through your chimney’s masonry, it can make your chimney, and your home, stink. The moisture on its own can cause a musty or moldy smell, or it can exacerbate the smells generated by creosote or debris within the chimney. Alleviate chimney odors by having any leaks, no matter how minor, repaired. You also can consider having a waterproofing solution applied to your chimney to keep water from finding its way in through the masonry and causing damage or odors.

Install a top-sealing damper

If odors from your chimney are permeating your home, it means that air must be traveling down your chimney and back into your home. This backward chimney draft can be stopped with a top-sealing chimney damper. While any damper should keep air from traveling down your chimney and into your home, traditional throat dampers eventually fail and allow air to bypass the seal and enter your home. A top-sealing damper provides a tight seal to the top of your chimney’s flue, effectively keeping air from traveling down your chimney.

Consider your chimney’s draft

If your chimney’s draft is a regular problem, it might be time to consult a professional to consider the problem. Air should only travel through your fireplace and up and out of your chimney. If your chimney is drafting improperly, in addition to odors, you might notice smoke finds its way into your home when the fireplace is in use. The solution might be as simple as being mindful of the vented appliances that are operating near your hearth or cracking opening a window in your home. It might take some alterations to your chimney liner. A certified professional can help you find the best way to correct your chimney draft to keep odors out.

If you are plagued with chimney odors in the summer heat, Total Chimney Care can help — whether it’s with a cleaning, chimney repairs, waterproofing, installing a top-sealing damper or addressing an improper chimney draft. Don’t suffer with foul chimney odors all summer; call or go online to schedule your appointment today!

By Steve Sobczak on June 15th, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

What is a top-sealing damper?

The chimney damper seems a basic device that most homeowners with a fireplace understand. Before you light a fire, you turn a knob or push a lever that opens the damper, a metal flap just above the firebox. That allows smoke to exit through the chimney as your fire burns. The damper is closed when the fireplace isn’t in use to keep drafts from entering your home through the chimney. What many people might not realize is that there is another option in chimney dampers: the top-sealing damper.

What is a top-sealing damper?Advantages of a top sealing damper - New Haven-Fairfield - Total Chimney Care

As the name suggests, the top-sealing damper sits at the very top of your chimney, rather than within the chimney flue. The top-sealing damper is fitted to your chimney. When the damper is closed, via a lever inside the home, the damper seals completely, preventing drafts, water, debris or animals from entering the chimney flue. Many top-sealing dampers include a wire cage around the outside to keep animals and debris out and embers in when the fireplace is in use.

Why install a top-sealing damper?

Over time, the metal damper within your chimney’s throat warps and fails to seal entirely when closed, allowing drafts to find their way back into your home through the chimney. If your damper is failing, a top-sealing damper can serve as an ideal replacement, performing the function of a damper better than your chimney’s original throat damper. Some advantages of installing a new top-sealing damper include:

  • Decreased energy bills. Air can flow freely through your failing throat damper. Drafts can make their way down the flue, or warm air can be pulled from your home’s living space and lost up the chimney. A top-sealing damper can stop this air exchange entirely when the damper is closed.
  • Protect your chimney from water damage. Nothing can damage your chimney more extensively than water. And nothing can keep water out of your chimney like a top-sealing damper. Top-sealing dampers include a rubber seal that closes your flue off entirely when the damper is closed.
  • Keep animals and debris out. Because top-sealing dampers entirely close off the chimney, they prevent animals, insects and debris from entering your chimney.
  • Enjoy a lasting damper option. Unlike throat dampers that wear out and warp over time, the quality top-sealing dampers we sell and install are made from durable metals with strong rubber gaskets that are made to withstand the elements and keep your chimney safe and sealed for years to come.

How can you learn more about top-sealing dampers?

Call Total Chimney Care today! We sell and install top-sealing damper that will block cold drafts from entering your home and prevent warm air from existing your home through your chimney this winter.

By Steve Sobczak on July 28th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Fireplace Damper Operation

Top Sealing Chimney Damper - Fairfield New Haven CT - Total Chimney CareIf you’re aren’t familiar with how to operation a wood burning fireplace it is important to understand all the components of it. Operating a fireplace is not difficult, but like all home heating appliances it can be dangerous if not used correctly. The damper is one of the most importance pieces to your fireplace, and knowing how to use it correctly can keep your fireplace working efficiently and can also prevent costly and potentially dangerous damage to your chimney and your home.

Why Do I Need A Damper?

A fireplace damper serves to open and close your chimney valve. When your chimney is in use, the damper should be opened in order to keep all the smoke from filling up your living space. When your fireplace is not in use you should keep your damper securely shut to seal it off. This will prevent heat from escaping your home so your home is heated inefficiently and your energy bills are kept as low as possible. The third way your damper is important is that it can be opened a little or shut a little in order to control the amount of oxygen getting to your fire, which will ultimately control the fire burning in your fireplace. This can help you burn fires longer and more efficiently, also saving you money during the cold winter months.

How To Increase Damper Efficiency

Burning cleaner, more efficient fires in your fireplace is the best and safest thing you can do as a homeowner. Knowing all the elements of your fireplace and how to use them to your advantage will help you utilize your fireplace to the utmost capacity. Here are some tricks to help you operation your fireplace damper.

  1. When you start a fire, open the damper all the way and DO NOT light your fire until this is done. This will allow as much oxygen as possible inside your fireplace and towards your fire. More oxygen means a bigger blaze and having that at the beginning of your fire will help it burn longer and hotter.
  2. This clip is courtesy of Richie Baxley at Environmental Chimney Service in Asheville NC.

    This clip is courtesy of Richie Baxley at Environmental Chimney Service in Asheville NC.

    Invest in a top sealing Damper. Traditional fireplaces have a damper located at the bottom, or the throat of the chimney. While these are important, many professionals are recommending a top sealing damper too. Top sealers will further protect against moisture and debris inside the chimney, and this can prevent damage towards the chimney.

  3. Maintain your fireplace damper. As with all elements of your wood burning fireplace, maintenance is the most important thing you can do to protect your chimney and keep the fireplace burning efficiently. Clean out your fireplace regularly, and have a professional chimney sweeping company like Total Chimney Care in New Haven and Fairfield help you keep your fireplace clean and also inspect it for masonry damage. Look for tell-tale damage in and around your fireplace like:
    • Rust around the damper
    • Wallpaper or paint damage around the fireplace or chimney area
    • Cracks in the masonry of your fireplace or chimney

A fireplace damper is a standard component of any fireplace, and knowing how to use it will not only keep your family safe, it will also help efficiently heat your home all season long.

By Steve Sobczak on February 24th, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Chimney Dampers and How a Top Sealing Damper Can Help You

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.

Open damperWhat is a chimney damper? 

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.

By Steve Sobczak on August 21st, 2014 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment