Essential for the proper venting of smoke and other byproducts of combustion out of your home, a damper is one of the most important components of your chimney and venting system. Just as an opened window, a opened damper allows air to flow out through the chimney. When the damper is closed, it keeps warm air inside the fireplace and your house. For safety reasons, you should always be sure that your damper is opened when you have a fire burning, but when your fireplace is not in use, your damper should be closed to keep warm air out and cool air in your house during the summer and cold air out and hot air in your home during the winter. If your damper is old and worn out, it should be repaired or replaced as soon as possible to keep your home energy-efficient. To help you decide which type of damper would be best for your chimney, Weststar Chimney Sweeps would like to tell you more about the two different types of dampers and how we can assist you when it is time for a new damper in your chimney.
Found at the bottom of your chimney (or also known as the throat of your chimney) directly above your firebox, throat dampers are generally found in old masonry chimneys. Constructed from cast-iron, steel, or stainless steel, a throat damper rests on tracks directly above your fireplace. You operate this type of damper by moving a handle on the damper along its tracks to open and close it manually. Some prefabricated chimneys also have throat dampers; however, these steel dampers are often shaped as a square or circle and are opened and closed with a pull-down handle or a left-to-right lever and do not use tracks. You can also find newer throat dampers, which are inflatable devices that seal off the flue to any extraneous air that comes down the chimney, according to eHow. To ensure you have the best sealant, you should get the correct size for your inner chimney walls. Some disadvantages to this type of damper are they can be easily punctured, are not the most energy-efficient, and do not protect your chimney from birds and animals nesting inside your chimney.
When you have an old throat damper that is beyond repairing, Weststar Chimney Sweeps will recommend that you install a top-mount damper, which sits on top of your chimney and can also serve as a chimney cap. Very energy-efficient, a top-mount damper is equipped with a silicone rubber gasket to provide an air-tight seal. Constructed from iron or steel, a top-mount damper functions well as a chimney cap when closed. This type of damper will protect your inner chimney from water leaks, debris, and bird and animal invasions. Although the main disadvantage of a top-mount damper is that it is more expensive than a throat damper, you will end up saving money on your heating and cooling bills as well as on costly repairs to your chimney caused by water leaks or nesting animals. Easy to operate, a stainless steel cable runs down your chimney to the firebox, and you simply pull on the cable to both open and close the damper.
Want to know more about these two different types of dampers? Contact Weststar Chimney Sweeps to let our staff help you decide which damper is right for your chimney.