Chimney’s have several measures in place to help prevent unwanted items and wildlife from entering the chimney as well as preventing warm air to leave the home when the chimney is not in use. One major part of this equation, especially where air leaving the home is concerned, is the chimney damper. There are two basic kinds of dampers, top mounted and throat, and you are about to get a crash course in both of them!
Top Mounted Chimney Dampers
More often than not, this type of damper is installed when the original damper has seen better days. They are efficient, virtually air tight, and commonly used in repair. This type of damper often has a rubber-type seal that is not only effective in keeping out wildlife, but also prevents insects from getting into the home in the summer through the chimney flue. Some have a spark arrestor screen and some are constructed like a standard chimney cap and will keep the rain out even when open.
Throat Chimney Dampers
Unlike the top mounted damper, which is obviously located on the upper end of the chimney, the throat damper is located more towards the fireplace. These are commonly used in new construction and are the preferred damper of many professionals. The reason for this is that unlike the top mounted damper, a throat damper will close off the chimney at its base, meaning the cold air that can gather in the actual chimney will not have access to the home when the chimney is not in use. Unfortunately, when damaged or past its lifespan, the throat damper can be very difficult and expensive to fix or replace.
As a homeowner, the choice is yours. For many, the year round climate dictates what type of damper they will use when it comes time for repairs. While the top mounted damper is less costly, it still allows the air that is chilled through the brick to have access to the home. Still, the construction of the fireplace will determine which type of damper is the most feasible solution, and often the top mounted damper is the sensible choice. Contact us in Portland for help deciding what is best for you!