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If you own and operate a fireplace, you understand the importance of your fireplace damper. Located just above the firebox and often called a “throat damper,” this metal component is open during a fire to allow smoke to rise up and out of the chimney. When a fire isn’t burning, the damper can be closed to block air flow between the home and the outside world.
A throat damper is better than no damper at all, but there’s a damper style that is far superior to any throat damper: a top sealing damper.
A top sealing damper is installed over the top opening of a chimney. Think of it as a secure lid that is controlled by a stainless-steel cable (or other similar device) that the homeowner has easy access to. When the damper is pulled down, it seals tight. This solves three common problems with throat dampers.
Throat dampers are subject to intense heat, and it usually isn’t long before their seal becomes faulty. When fully closed, there are still slight gaps, which are enough to allow the transfer of air from inside to outside and vice versa. Check the seal of your throat damper by sliding a dollar bill between the two parts when the device is fully closed. That will tell you how secure the seal is.
Without a solid seal, cold winter air can flow into the home while warm interior air flows out. In the summer, hot air comes in while air-conditioned air escapes. With a top sealing damper, none of this will happen, and you’ll enjoy noticeable savings on utility bills.
A lot of problems with drafting happen because of extremely cold temperatures within the flue. Smoke doesn’t rise easily through cold, dense air, of which there is plenty when a throat damper is all you have. Excess cold in the flue can cause smoke and toxins to back up into the house until the flue warms up.
When you use a top sealing damper, cold air never directly enters the flue. When it’s time to start a fire, the flue temperature is much more conducive to proper drafting. Plus, keeping frigid air out of the flue means keeping it farther away from the inside of your home.
A well-made top sealing damper is by far the best way to keep out things you don’t want in your chimney. These things include rain water, twigs and leaves from nearby trees, blowing dust in the air, small-animal nests, and the animals themselves, who often die inside chimneys when they’re unable to get out.
When a flue becomes full of outside materials, inefficient air flow will lead to inefficient burns and will put people in the home at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if too much smoke flows into the house. Put an end to this problem with a top sealing damper.
High’s Chimney Service of Gaithersburg, MD, installs top sealing dampers for our customers throughout Maryland, Virginia and Washington, DC. Simplify your life and make your chimney cleaner and more efficient with a new top sealing damper. Call (301) 519-3500 with questions or to schedule an installation.