The chimney system is made up of many working parts. Some, like dampers, are hidden. They’re installed in places the homeowner can’t access! This makes it difficult for the homeowner to realize when it has become worn out or damaged.
Signs Your Damper Needs Replaced
The surest sign that there is a problem with your damper is a smoky fireplace. No matter what you do, if fire doesn’t rise up the chimney as it should, then the damper is probably failing to open. It may be rusted in one position.
Since it’s deep into the summer months, your problem most likely isn’t a smoky fireplace. Another reason to update and replace your throat damper? If you’re losing excessive conditioned air by way of the chimney. Even a working damper can still allow drafts in and out that affect your cooling system. This wastes utilities and wears down your air conditioner. The solution is in the damper – believe it or not!
The Throat Damper
The throat damper is the traditional masonry damper that most homeowners find in their old fireplaces. Some appliances work with a throat damper. However, most prefabricated fireplaces and chimneys have a similar system of their own. The throat damper is located just above the fireplace and is typically made of stainless steel, cast iron, or steel. They are highly susceptible to water damage in the event of a chimney leak, and can become stuck, requiring removal or repair. It’s recommended that homeowners close the throat damper at the end of burn season to close out the chimney for the season. This keeps animals from climbing into your fireplace, but it doesn’t stop drafts in or out. The damper also doesn’t keep anything out of the chimney itself. Closing the chimney from the top with a top mount damper protects the flue from top to bottom!
The Top-Mount Damper
At The Mad Hatter, we install many top mount dampers, also called energy saving dampers because of the drastic savings they offer homeowners. The top mount damper is installed as it sounds, at the top of the chimney, in place of a cap.
When the damper is in the open position, it acts as a regular chimney cap would – keeping moisture, animals, and debris out. However, when the damper is in the closed position, the damper is closed with a tight seal. Because of the tight seal, the damper should only be closed when there is no fire burning whatsoever. Therefore, if you depend on your throat damper for flame control, you may need to learn other methods when you convert to a top mount damper! This damper is ideal for saving energy throughout the year. Plus, it doesn’t complicate your life at all. In fact, its engaged and disengaged by a stainless steel cord, typically located right inside the fireplace.
Both throat and top mount dampers are effective, but the energy saving damper saves you money. It can prevent water damage and animal intrusion from top to bottom. Our staff at The Mad Hatter are trained and experienced in installing and servicing both kinds of chimney dampers, so let us help you choose the right option for you!
You can call The Mad Hatter at 317.596.0200.