Your chimney is responsible for venting gases and smoke from your home, which means it needs to be properly maintained. And one of the most critical parts of your chimney is the damper. As a homeowner, you may not think about your fireplace damper very often, but it actually plays a vital role in keeping your home safer and more comfortable.
By having a clear understanding of the job of your damper, you can ensure continued use of a cozy fireplace for you and your entire family. To gain more knowledge about this, let’s take a closer look at the characteristics of these two dampers.
At Owens Chimney Systems, our job is to take care of all the components for your venting and chimney appliances. If your damper or any other part needs care, we’re here to help.
What Is a Throat Damper & How Can It Be Damaged?
A chimney has only a few moving components. The most common is the throat damper, which opens and closes to allow smoke to vent outdoors when the system is in use – and keeps air out when it’s not. The throat damper is normally located about a quarter up the chimney, and it has a handle on the inside of the firebox (hanging down from the top) that allows you to open and close it. But just like any other mechanical device, throat dampers can break down over time.
If you have a damaged or broken damper, it can cause a number of problems. It will no longer be able to properly regulate the airflow in your chimney, which can lead to smoke and odors coming into your home, and it makes it more challenging to start and maintain a fire in your fireplace, too.
There are a few things that can cause damage to your throat damper:
- Corrosion: This is caused by the acidic nature of the combustion gases and moisture that condenses on the cold metal surfaces. The corrosive gases eat away at the metal, causing it to weaken and eventually fail.
- Old age: Throat dampers can break down over time. The constant exposure to heat and cold can cause the metal to expand and contract, which can eventually lead to cracks, corrosion, and decay.
- Animals: Birds, raccoons, and squirrels are all known to enter chimneys in search of a warm place to nest. And once they’re in there, they can cause a lot of damage. Their claws can tear up the damper, their droppings can clog it up, and their nesting materials can cause excessive wear.
Now, while there are things you can do to prolong the life of your throat damper, most will eventually need to be replaced, and it is important to know when to do this. If you think a new damper is in order, then we suggest you consider upgrading to a top-sealing alternative.
What Is a Top-Sealing Damper & What Are Its Benefits?
A top-sealing is installed at the top of your chimney, rather than the throat, and it seals tightly with a rubber gasket to guarantee long-lasting protection. There are a few big benefits of having a top-sealing damper:
- Energy-Efficiency: When the fireplace is not being used, the damper can be easily closed, which helps to prevent heat from escaping up the chimney. This can help to lower your heating bills in the winter, and the same logic applies to your air conditioning bills in the summer, too.
- Weatherproofing: A top-sealing damper can also help to keep the weather out of your chimney. This is especially beneficial here in Charlotte where we tend to get a lot of snow and rain.
- Keep Animals Out: By sealing off the flue, you can help to prevent animals from getting into your chimney. This can save you the hassle and expense of having to remove them yourself, and helps you avoid extensive damage, too.
- Avoid Downdrafts: Downdrafts happen when the air pressure outside is greater than the pressure inside of your home. This can cause cold air to come down the chimney and into your home. By sealing high up, top-sealing dampers reduce you risk of downdrafts significantly.
Why Do Dampers Matter?
To improve the safety and performance of your chimney, it’s crucial that you have the proper components in place. By having a throat damper or top-sealing damper installed, you can be sure that your chimney is operating at peak efficiency.
Dampers work to keep your home more comfortable and energy-efficient, and they can save you money down the line, too. Not to mention, you’ll also enjoy the peace of mind that comes with knowing this part of your chimney is in good working order.
We’re Here for You
Just like any other part of your home, your chimney needs to be adequately maintained in order to function at its best. Be sure to have your chimney inspected and cleaned on a regular basis by a certified professional.
And when it comes time to make repairs or replace necessary parts, don’t hesitate to invest in quality components, like a new top-sealing damper. Your chimney will thank you for it – your wallet will, too.
Reach out online or give us a call today!