A properly functioning chimney damper allows you to burn a fire safely and efficiently. If you’re unsure about how to effectively utilize your damper, you’re not alone. Knowing how to correctly use a damper can impact the safety of your home. We’re here to tell you all about a chimney damper and how to operate this component of your fireplace.

What is a Chimney Damper?

When you think of a chimney damper, think of it as a lid for your fireplace. A chimney damper is located in the flue and it seals the chimney airtight when it is not in use. If a chimney is not sealed when the fireplace isn’t in use, then the heat from your home can escape through the chimney. When heat escapes your home, this can add hundreds of dollars a year to your heating costs.

In general, chimneys are an avenue for the smoke to escape your home. However, chimneys also provide a means for allowing air to come in. It’s important to have knowledge of what your chimney damper is and what it does in order to enjoy a safe fireplace that remains in tip-top shape.

How Can I Maintain the Damper?

A chimney damper can become damaged due to soot buildup over time. It is recommended that a regular chimney cleaning by a professional be conducted to help reduce the soot that interferes with the damper operation.

Generally speaking, dampers that are located at the top of the chimney are susceptible to weather damage as well. Therefore, if you feel a breeze or notice warping on the damper, it may be in need of replacement.

Can I Use a Fireplace Without a Damper?

It is recommended that you utilize a damper in the fireplace to properly circulate warm air throughout your home. Additionally, a damper seals off cool air and prevents warm air from escaping the house when not in use.

If there is an issue with the damper opening or closing, there are sealer options available. According to Hunker, a draft eliminator commonly known as a chimney balloon can quickly fix a damper issue. This small inflatable seals the chimney shaft, thus blocking out cold air and maintaining warm air circulation.

Can I Check if My Chimney Damper is Opened or Closed?

Yes! Here are a few simple tests that you can conduct to confirm whether or not your chimney damper is functioning properly:

  • Conduct a visual inspection – With a flashlight in hand, you can look inside the fireplace up towards the chimney to verify if the damper is open or closed.
  • Start a fire – Smoke will begin to enter the room if the damper is closed. When the damper is open, the smoke should instead exit out of the chimney.
  • Check the controls – If you have a top-mount damper, simply pull on the chain. The damper is open if the chain can be pulled down before popping back up.
  • Feel for a breeze – You can tell if the damper is open by placing your hand inside the firebox to check for air circulation.

Damper Repair from a Milwaukee Professional

When starting a fire in your fireplace, ensuring that your chimney damper is open and properly functioning is imperative to a healthy burn. Not only can a drafty fireplace cause a strike in your heating bill but the lack of a working damper can generate health-related risks with smoke inhalation. You should never have to worry about putting yourself or your family in danger when starting a fire.

Thinking you might need a set of professional eyes on your chimney and fireplace? Then look no further than The Chimney Expert. With over 20 years of experience servicing Milwaukee chimneys, you can count on getting the benefit of decades of knowledge and experience. Contact us today to schedule your free estimate.