At Weststar Chimney Sweeps, we are often asked by our customers to explain damper locks and why they are necessary. These questions typically come from those who have just had a home inspected for real estate purposes and have been told by the home inspector that they need to install damper locks to be compliant with the California Uniform Building Code. We know exactly how to keep you under compliance with this code, and our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified chimney technicians can install damper locks in your chimney system. We would like to tell you more about damper locks to inform you of this important and necessary safety component.
What exactly is a damper lock?
Also known as a damper clamp or a damper stop, a damper lock is a small C-clamp or steel beam clamp that serves to keep the damper in a fully open position.
Why do I need a damper lock?
According to the California Uniform Building Code, damper locks are required to be equipped on dampers for systems that vent any type of gas appliance. Whenever you burn a fire in your gas appliance, the damper must be locked open for safety reasons. This can prevent carbon monoxide from being forced back into your home. If the damper is closed, this poisonous gas has no way to exit out of the chimney. Without carbon monoxide detector alarms installed in your home, you and your family could easily become seriously ill from carbon monoxide poisoning as this toxic gas is odorless and tasteless.
Why are damper locks only required for gas appliances?
If you forget to open your damper when you are burning wood, the problem becomes obvious when the room quickly fills with smoke after lighting the fire. As we mentioned earlier, there are no obvious signs for not opening the damper during a gas-fueled fire. This is why the California Uniform Building Code has required that the damper be locked in a fully-open position. You will be protected from the dangers of carbon monoxide if you forget to open the damper or if your gas appliance is turned on accidentally.
How can I prevent heat loss from my home when the damper must be locked fully open?
To help keep the heated air from your gas fire inside your home, Weststar Chimney Sweeps can install glass doors in front of your fireplace. However, you should keep in mind that if you have a prefabricated or factory built fireplace, glass doors may not be an option for safety reasons.
Have more questions about damper locks? Contact us at Weststar Chimney Sweeps so that we can help you be compliant to this important state building code.