In order to work efficiently and safely, the components of your chimney system, such as the damper, need to be in good condition. Your chimney damper plays an important role. When it is opened, it allows the toxic byproducts of combustion to exit your chimney, and when it is closed, it seals in heated air in the winter and cooled air in the summer. However, your damper needs to provide a good, airtight seal to keep your home comfortable and to save money on utility bills. At The Mad Hatter, we sell, install, and repair two types of chimney dampers: the traditional throat damper and the top-mount damper. We would like to compare and contrast these two kinds of chimney dampers to help you decide which type is best for you.
Consisting of a cast-iron or stainless steel plate, a throat damper sits right above the firebox. We call this type of chimney damper the traditional one because most masonry and prefabricated chimneys are built with throat dampers. You open and close a throat damper with either a pull-down handle or a left-to-right lever. While this type of damper is less expensive than a top-mount damper, it generally does not seal off the chimney as well. The Mad Hatter typically sees problems with throat dampers becoming corroded to the point of breaking apart, and this will make your fireplace unsafe to use. Plus, you will waste money and energy all year long because you will not be able to seal in heated air in the winter and cooled air in the summer. We can repair and replace throat dampers; however, you may want to consider upgrading to a top-mount damper.
One of the best qualities of this type of chimney damper is that it can also serve as a chimney cap. Located at the top of a chimney, a top-mount damper is equipped with a silicone rubber gasket that gives you a tight and leak-proof seal on your chimney when the damper is closed. Even though this type of damper is on top of your chimney, you can still easily open and close it by pulling a lever that is attached to a steel cable. This lever will be installed inside the fireplace where you can access it with no problems. Although this type of chimney damper does provide the best seal, it is more expensive than the traditional throat damper, and according to Home Style Choices, top-mount dampers must be professionally installed. However, you do have to consider the money you will be saving on your utility bills throughout the year because you will not have to worry about cooled air escaping in the summer and heated air leaking out of the chimney in the winter.
The damper is an essential part of your chimney system. If you are in need of a new damper, contact us at The Mad Hatter. We can talk to you more about these two options to help you decide which chimney damper is best for you.