Total Chimney Care's Blog

Throat vs top-sealing chimney dampers

Did you know that you have an alternative to a traditional chimney damper? Most homeowners are familiar with throat dampers, which are located just above their fireboxes. While most fireplaces and chimneys have this type of damper, throat dampers actually aren’t the best option for sealing your chimney. If your chimney throat damper isn’t performing the way it should, you should consider installing a top-sealing damper.

The problem with traditional throat dampers

Just because chimney throat dampers are the most common dampers doesn’t mean they are ideal. Throat chimney dampers feature a metal-on-metal closure. The dampers are a metal disc or flap that sits inside a metal ring or frame. When the damper closes, the flap sits in place to block off the chimney opening. Because these dampers are metal on metal, air can seep around the edges of the damper flap. On chilly winter days, that can allow warm air from your home to escape around the edges of the chimney flap, which means you waste energy. When cold winds blow, they can blow down your chimney and around the edges of the damper, chilling your home and making it feel drafty.

Over time, throat chimney dampers tend to get worse in terms of performance. The extreme heat from your fireplace can cause the damper to warp. Any moisture that finds its way down the chimney can cause the damper to rust. Warping and rusting can cause gaps around the chimney damper to become more severe. They can even cause the damper to get stuck in place so it won’t open or close at all.

Top-sealing chimney dampers

Top-sealing chimney dampers are the superior choice when it comes to efficiency, durability, and function. They are installed at the top of the chimney flue opening, on the exterior of your home. It has a rubber gasket around the edge that seals completely when the damper is closed. This prevents warm air from rising out of the chimney and cold blasts from finding their way down your chimney and home. The tight seal also prevents moisture from finding its way into your chimney. It will seal out any animals or debris that might accidentally find their way into your chimney. Top-sealing chimney dampers operate as simply as throat dampers, so you won’t notice much of a difference. However, you will see rewards as you lose less heat from your chimney and your chimney securely blocks out cold air, moisture, animals, and debris.

Top-sealing dampers are far superior compared to traditional throat dampers in every way. If you are ready to make your home more efficient, you should seal off your chimney with a top-sealing damper, call Total Chimney Care! We can install a top-sealing damper to make your home more efficient and protect your home and chimney from water damage!

By Steve Sobczak on June 28th, 2019 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Feeling a chill? It could be from a damaged chimney damper

Is the winter chill finding its way into your home, even when you have all of your doors and windows shut tight? Cold air could be finding a way into your home through a damaged chimney damper. Here’s what you need to know about chimney dampers and the unwanted chills, and what you can do about a damaged chimney damper.

Chimney dampers and cold drafts

masonry chimneyA chimney damper’s primary role is to keep things from entering your home, and that includes cold air. Most chimney dampers are located within the throat of the chimney, above the firebox. They feature a metal ring around the circumference of the chimney opening, and a metal flap covers the opening.

When a fire is burning in the fireplace, you open the damper to let smoke escape. When your fireplace isn’t in use, the damper needs to be in the closed position to create a barrier between your home and the chimney. An open chimney damper is essentially an open window to your home. If you leave it open, or if it’s damaged, you will lose the warm air from your home out of your chimney, and you will feel cold drafts in your home as they blow down your chimney.

Chimney damper damage

Chimney dampers deal with a lot of abuse. Because of its location, chimney dampers can warp or crack due to the extreme heat of the fireplace. Most chimney dampers are metal, so they tend to rust or deteriorate when water or moisture finds its way into your chimney. When chimney dampers are damaged, this can cause your damper to get stuck in either the opened or closed position.

When dampers are stuck in the closed position, this inhibits the use of your fireplace. However, when dampers are stuck in the opened position, this lets hot air out and cold air into your home. Even if the damper still opens and closes, a bad seal when the damper is closed allows air to leak around the chimney, which chills your home in the winter.

Dealing with a damaged damper

The only solution for a damaged chimney damper is to replace it. In most cases, chimney sweeps recommend replacing a failing throat damper with a top-sealing chimney damper. A top-sealing damper is installed at the top of your chimney flue. The primary benefit of top-sealing dampers is that they feature a rubber gasket that allows for a complete seal when the damper is closed. With a top-sealing damper, cold air and moisture can’t get into your chimney, and warm air can’t escape your home.

If your failing chimney damper is causing a chill in your home this winter, call Total Chimney Care! We can outfit your chimney with a new damper that will open and close smoothly and block air exchange through your chimney!

By Steve Sobczak on January 16th, 2019 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Benefits of a top-sealing damper

A failing chimney damper is very frustrating. Most chimney dampers are located in the throat of a chimney and feature a metal disk that closes on a metal rim. Over time, that metal warps and rusts due to the heat of your fireplace and moisture that finds its way in. When a damper degrades or fails completely, you’re left with lots of problems. It causes your damper to fail to open and close easily, and even when closed, it might let air into your home.

If your chimney damper is no longer working, a top-sealing chimney damper is the solution and perfect fit for you. A top-sealing damper sits on the top opening of your chimney flue, rather than within the chimney. It’s operated with a lever or chain down inside the firebox. Top-sealing chimney dampers either pivot open on a hinge or pop open on a collapsible metal frame. They offer a host of benefits than throat dampers. Here are some of the advantages of a top-sealing damper.

A complete seal against the cold

houses with chimneys and chimney capsEven brand new throat dampers do a poor job of sealing out the cold when your chimney isn’t in use. That’s because the metal construction doesn’t allow for a complete seal. As a damper ages, the problem only get worse. A top-sealing chimney damper features a rubber gasket that completely seals off the opening of your chimney flue when your chimney isn’t in use. The tight seal prevents warm air from rising up your chimney, and it blocks cold drafts from blowing down through the chimney.

Protection against moisture

Nothing damage your chimney and fireplace like moisture. A chimney cap and a properly constructed chimney crown can help prevent rain, snow and sleet from your chimney flue. It’s impossible to keep moisture from entering your chimney and damaging your chimney liner and fireplace. However, a top-sealing damper can offer a tight seal, this prevents moisture from entering your chimney when the damper is closed. The pop-up dampers even keep your chimney covered when your fireplace is in use and damper is open.

Odor prevention

Your chimney holds a lot of smells, from damp musty odors to the pungent, burning smell of creosote. These odors can enter your house if your chimney drafts in the wrong direction. However, top-sealing dampers block foul odors from coming down your chimney and home.

Enjoy the benefits of a top-sealing chimney damper this winter! If your chimney damper is failing or struggling with cold air, moisture or foul odors entering your chimney, call Total Chimney Care! We can install a top-sealing damper on your chimney flue today!

By Steve Sobczak on September 28th, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

How Does a Top-Sealing Damper Work?

Your chimney’s aging damper could be costing you money. Most chimney dampers lie within the chimney throat. They comprise two metal pieces that, when new, make a relatively tight seal. Over time, however, those metal components warp due from exposure to moisture and the extreme heat of your fireplace. Once that seal is broken, the warm air from your home can flow freely up your chimney and cold drafts can find their way in when the fireplace isn’t in use.

You can solve this problem with a top-sealing damper. Top-sealing dampers securely close off the top of your chimney flue, keeping hot air in and cold air out.

Top-Sealing Dampers Save Money

Unlike a traditional chimney damper, top-sealing dampers are constructed to form a tight seal.  They don’t break down the way throat dampers do. With a top-sealing damper in place, air can’t easily escape through your chimney flue when your fireplace isn’t in use. In fact, it’s estimated that top-sealing dampers can reduce heat loss by 90 percent!

Top-sealing dampers come in two basic forms. Some models feature a stainless steel cap atop a diagonal spring wire. The wire expands to open the damper and compresses to close it. The top of the damper stays horizontal the entire time, so in the “open” position, the damper also serves as a chimney cap. Other models feature a low-profile frame that fits the very top of the damper. A spring pulls open the hinged damper top.

From the inside, the operation of both types of top-sealing dampers is the same. A stainless steel cable attaches the damper to a lever within the firebox that is used to open and close the damper, similar to the operation of a traditional throat damper. Both types of dampers also feature rubber gaskets that form a tight seal between the chimney flue and the outside. Top-sealing dampers most often come in stainless steel or cast aluminum, so rust and corrosion don’t wear down their utility.

Other Benefits of Top-Sealing Dampers

While preventing heat exchange might be the biggest benefit to a top-sealing damper, the benefits don’t stop there. Top-sealing dampers also do a better job at keeping water and moisture out of your chimney, saving your chimney from damage. Some top-sealing dampers are fitted with metal cages. These cages keep animals and debris out even if the damper is open. If you want to prevent warm air from escaping your home through your chimney and costing you money on your home-heating bills,

If you want to prevent warm air from escaping your home through your chimney and costing you money on your home-heating bills, call Total Chimney Care to schedule an appointment today! We can fit your chimney with a top-sealing damper to keep warm air in while protecting your chimney from water, animals, and debris.

By Steve Sobczak on June 5th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment