Minimize Energy Loss & Draftiness With A Top-Sealing Damper

People often remind friends and family to “open the flue” before they start up a fire, and what they mean is that the chimney damper needs to be adjusted.

Dampers are installed in chimney systems to minimize air transference by closing off the flue when the fireplace or stove isn’t in use. When the damper is closed, you don’t have to worry about losing conditioned or heated air through your chimney. In other words, a quality, properly installed damper can ensure that you’re not wasting energy to heat and reheat air in your home.

A damaged or non-functional damper, however, poses a serious problem. If it’s broken or stuck open, you’re wasting a lot of energy. If it’s stuck closed, you can’t use the fireplace or stove at all without having a serious smoke problem on your hands.

If your damper is no longer working as it was designed to, American Chimney & Masonry can replace your damaged or inefficient damper with a durable top-sealing damper. And we can bet you’ll notice an increase in energy efficiency and a much more enjoyable fireside experience.

Older Chimneys Usually Have A “Throat Damper”

For many years, chimney systems were built with what’s called a throat damper, installed right above the firebox, down at the bottom of the flue. A throat damper uses a metal plate to close off the flue when the fireplace isn’t being used, and since metals do tend to be quite resilient, throat dampers can function and last for many years. Often, though, homeowners end up with one of a variety of common throat damper issues: the metal plate can corrode and break; the damper can get stuck because of rust or debris; the plate can come off its track, rendering it impossible to open or close. Even when a throat damper is at its best, it doesn’t provide particularly thorough protection against air transference — a metal plate can’t really achieve a tight seal in a masonry chimney. So with that incomplete seal, you end up losing a lot of the temperate air you’ve spent money and energy to adjust, and gaining a lot of unconditioned air that you’d prefer to keep out.

Top-Sealing Dampers Are Better

Top-sealing dampers are a vastly improved damper design. These are installed at the very top of the flue, and they close the chimney off using a silicone gasket that provides total coverage and a tight seal. Air doesn’t come in, air doesn’t get out. Replacing a throat damper with a top-sealing damper can pay for itself in energy savings in short order — these have been shown to decrease heat loss in many cases by more than 75 percent.

That seal also adds another (very effective) layer of protection against water intrusion, keeping rain and other forms of precipitation out of the flue. Since top-sealing dampers are installed in a readily-accessible area — as opposed to right above your firebox — they’re also much easier to repair and replace.

If your chimney damper needs to be replaced, call American Chimney & Masonry or click here to schedule an appointment online — our technicians can install an effective and efficient new top-sealing damper that will last and last.

We are experts at installing a wide variety of wood-burning fireplaces, stoves and inserts, so give us a call.

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