Don’t lose heat up your chimney

Your fireplace provides heat for your home, but a leaking, outdated, or traditional throat damper can cause the heat from your home to go right out your chimney. In fact, you can lose 10 to 20 percent of the warm air from your home through your chimney’s damper. Suddenly, your fireplace is increasing, rather than decreasing, your home’s heating bills!

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How to tell if you have a leaky damper

If you’re unsure whether your damper is allowing heat to escape from your home, there’s a simple test you can perform. With the damper closed, place a lit candle in your fireplace. If the flame dances around, rather than remaining steady, the warm air from your home is escaping past your chimney’s damper.

This is a problem for many fireplaces with older, traditional dampers. Most fireplaces are installed with throat dampers. The dampers are metal and don’t provide a tight seal when closed. Over time, the dampers can corrode, rust, or become damaged, either becoming stuck in one position or allowing air to flow past.

What to do about a leaking chimney damper

The first thing you should do if you know your chimney damper is allowing warm air to escape from your home is to call your certified chimney sweep. The chimney sweep will inspect your chimney and firebox, including the damper. If needed, the chimney sweep will lubricate the damper so it continues to open and close easily.

It may also be time to replace your chimney’s damper. While you could go with a traditional throat damper, you should consider a top end damper. Top end tampers sit on the top of your chimney, rather than within your flue. Top-end dampers include gaskets that seal your chimney entirely when the flue is closed. A top-end damper can reduce your home’s heat loss by up to 75 percent! The dampers have the added benefit of sealing off your flue entirely from the outside, preventing rain or snow from dripping down and damaging your chimney’s flue.

Other ways to prevent heat loss

There are a few other steps you should consider to prevent heat loss from your damper. First and foremost, your damper should always be closed when your fireplace is not in use. There are also balloon-like seals that can be installed in your chimney’s flue when you won’t be using your fireplace, such as during the off season or if you’re going to be on vacation. The balloons can be removed when you’re ready to use your fireplace again.

Mason’s can save you from a leaky damper!

Making sure your damper is preventing heat loss can save you up to $500 a year on your heating bills! At Mason’s Chimney Service, we’re experienced in inspecting, repairing, and replacing faulty chimney dampers. We offer both traditional throat dampers and top-sealing dampers that will prevent the warm air from escaping your home through your chimney this winter. If you’re interested in cutting heating costs with a top-sealing damper, or if you know your damper is damaged, give us call today!

Advantages of a Top Sealing Damper

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.

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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.