Fireplaces are a beautiful addition to any home. They provide us with warmth, comfort, and ambiance throughout the year. Whether these heating appliances are used every day or only a few times a year, homeowners are always looking for ways to save money and increase efficiency.

One way to improve the efficiency of your chimney may be through the installation of a top sealing damper. A relatively new piece of chimney technology, top sealing dampers have steadily gained popularity in recent years. Recommended by many fireplace and chimney professionals, a top sealing damper might be the right choice for your chimney system.


This clip is courtesy of Richie Baxley at Environmental Chimney Service in Asheville NC.

What is a top sealing damper?

Top sealing dampers are located at the top of the chimney and close off the entire chimney from outside air and elements. Unlike traditional dampers which only seal off the firebox from the rest of the chimney, top sealing dampers protect the entirety of the flue.

Like traditional dampers, top sealing dampers are opened and closed with a pulley or lever. They should always be closed when the fireplace is not in use; if the damper is left open debris, moisture, or animals can enter the chimney. Likewise, the damper should be opened as soon as a fire is started to prevent smoke or carbon monoxide gas from backing up into the home.

Top sealing dampers eliminate the need for chimney caps as the successfully seal off the top of the chimney structure. When closed, no moisture, debris, or animals can enter the chimney. When open, the rising hot air from the fire prevents leaves and other debris from getting into to the chimney and the smoke acts as a natural deterrent to birds, squirrels, and other animals.

Benefits of top sealing dampers

The primary benefit of a top sealing damper is the energy savings. Some experts believe that the air tight seal created with a top sealing damper may be as much as 90% more efficient than a traditional damper. A traditional damper prevents warmed or cooled air from inside from escaping up the chimney, but leaves the air in the chimney vulnerable to outside temperature changes. In the winter, this means the chimney structure is flooded with frigid air.

This cold air in the chimney may cause homeowners to need to “warm up” or prime the flue before starting a fire. In addition, it may lower the temperature in rooms adjacent to the chimney structure, especially if the flue or chimney are not properly insulated.

By keeping the air inside the chimney structure closer to room temperature, top sealing dampers eliminate the need to prime the flue before starting a fire. In addition, it minimizes temperature changes in interior rooms. This means that air conditioners and heaters are not running longer than necessary to compensate, lowering utility bills.

If you have questions about top sealing dampers, contact Mason’s Chimney Service today. Our expert staff will be happy to answer any questions you may have about the advantages of installing a top sealing damper in your home.