How to Operate Your Chimney Damper

Improper use of your chimney damper can cause a lot of frustration. If the chimney damper isn’t open before you light a fire, it can cause smoke to come pouring back into your home. A damper that isn’t fully open can hinder your fire’s ability to burn. A damper that’s left open and forgotten can fill your home with cold drafts and send warm air flowing up the chimney, making your home uncomfortable. Enjoying your fireplace begins with the proper operation of your chimney damper.

When to Open and Close Your Chimney Damper

First and foremost, know when to open and close your chimney damper. Obviously, open the chimney damper  before you light a fire, or you will fill your home with smoke. After fully extinguishing the fire, you should close the damper as soon as possible. Open chimney dampers allow warm air to leave your home through the chimney, which can have a significant impact on your home heating bills. You also should know how to use your individual chimney damper. Most chimney dampers simply need to be opened and closed; however, some chimney dampers can be partially opened to control the airflow to and the intensity of your fire.

How to Operate Your Chimney Damper

Chimney damper operation varies from fireplace to fireplace, as there are a few different types of chimney damper mechanisms. Some common chimney damper mechanisms include:

• Levers. Levers are probably the simplest chimney damper mechanisms to operate. The levers are typically located at the top of the chimney box. They open and close the damper when pushed back and pulled forward.

• Rotary. As the name implies, a rotary-controlled damper opens and closes based on the twisting of the damper handle.

• Double ratchet pivot. The double ratchet pivot requires two motions to open and close the damper. The damper handle is pushed upward to disengage the control, then the handle is pushed or pulled to open or close the damper.

• Poker damper. The tip of your fireplace damper opens and closes a poker damper. The poker tip is placed into the control slot, and a rapid upward push opens the damper.

• Chain for a throat damper. There are usually two chains; one for opening the damper and one for closing the damper. Pull the chain for the motion you’re looking for to operate the damper.

• Chain for a top-sealing damper. A chain inside the firebox operates top-sealing dampers. When the damper is closed, the chain is pulled in and placed on a hook to keep the damper closed. Releasing the chain from the hook allows the damper to open.

Chimney dampers are simple mechanisms, but they have a major impact on the function of your fireplace! Chimney dampers are often the first part of a fireplace and chimney system to fail. If you need help with your chimney damper, call the Chimney Care Co. to schedule an appointment today!

By Jeff Keefer | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

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