Do I Need a Chimney Damper?
There is very little that is more disconcerting than noticing that your house is beginning to fill with smoke, and you have no idea why. What began as a roaring fire designed to keep you warm, has taken on a more ominous face. After securing your loved ones, your quest to find out what went wrong begins. Upon careful investigation, you come to the conclusion that your chimney damper isn’t operating efficiently. The good news is that this can be easily corrected.
What is a Chimney Damper?
You need to understand the role of a chimney damper to understand what it is supposed to do and how to help make that happen. Many confuse the chimney damper with the flue, when in fact the damper is a part of the flue. The flue is the air shaft that enables air to circulate both in and out of your chimney. The chimney damper is very much like a lid above the firebox that regulates the flow of air in and out of your home through the chimney.
When your Fireplace is in Use
When you have a roaring fire in your fireplace, the chimney damper must remain open to allow smoke to exit the chimney. An inadvertently closed chimney damper (especially at night when the fire is usually unattended) could lead to instances of smoke inhalation, which is a serious medical issue. An open chimney damper will vent the smoke outdoors easily and thus prevent any discomfort or danger while keeping warmth within.
When Your Fireplace is Not in Use
When you don’t have a fire going, the chimney damper still plays a role. If you happen to notice air circulating, or a change in temperature, such as on a very cold night, you may want to ensure that your chimney damper is indeed closed, not allowing air from the outside to invade your home. Not only this, chimney dampers can prevent small animals and birds from gaining access to your home through the chimney. Many chimney dampers have a chimney damper cap, which aids in this task.
Understanding and knowing how to use your chimney damper is an essential part of safely enjoying your fireplace and wood burning stove while avoiding any unpleasant side effects!