An Overview to the Different Types of Chimney Dampers

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An important component of your chimney is the damper. While most homeowners have heard of the damper, many are unaware of what the purpose of the damper is or how to tell when it’s not working correctly. Chimney inspections in Acworth can help determine when your damper needs to be repaired and replaced. Here’s what you need to know about the types of dampers and why they’re important.

What a Damper Does

 The damper is an important part of your chimney both during the winter when you use the fireplace and in the summer when it’s not in use. First of all, the damper is responsible for letting the smoke out of the flue. If the damper isn’t open when you begin burning wood, you’ll know right away because the smoke and fumes will come back through the fireplace opening and into your home. The damper is important during the summer as well because, with atmospheric changes combined with the AC, the hot outdoor air will be pulled into your home through the chimney. The damper keeps that from happening and decreasing your home’s energy efficiency. There are two main types of chimney dampers you can have installed.

Throat Damper

The first main type of chimney damper is a throat damper and is the type most commonly found in older fireplaces. This damper is located just above the fireplace opening. It’s usually made of cast iron, steel, or stainless steel. It looks similar to a trap door because it has a flap that closes over a track. It’s usually controlled by something that looks like a poker or by a knot that’s turned to open or close the damper. When the damper closes, it forms a metal to metal seal. The problem with this type of damper is that some types, especially cast-iron dampers, are susceptible to rust and other water damage. They’re effective at keeping pests and debris out of the fireplace; however, they’re only about 70% effective at stopping airflow when the damper is closed. Since they’re positioned so close to the fireplace’s intense heat, they can eventually warp and no longer provide the necessary barrier required. They can sometimes get stuck and require major chimney repair as well.

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Top-Sealing Damper

 The other main type of damper is a top-sealing damper, or top-mount damper. This type of damper sits on top of the chimney instead of inside it. It’s similar to a chimney cap but provides other benefits as well. When the damper is open, it keeps debris, moisture, and animals out. When the damper is closed, it creates a much tighter seal than a throat damper because it contains a gasket. This seal is connected to a stainless steel cable that goes down the flue to the firebox so that it can be easily opened and shut. A top-mount damper is far more energy-efficient and keeps moisture out of the entire chimney as well.

Need for Damper Replacement

 An important reason to get regular inspections and chimney cleaning in Acworth is so that you can check the condition of your damper. If yours is in poor shape, as evidenced by an inadequate seal or rust, you’ll likely need to replace the damper with a new top-mount style. In addition, if your throat damper is in good condition, but you want to increase energy efficiency, you should consider having a top-mount damper installed. To check out the different options for installation, contact Atlanta Chimney Doctor today.