Chimney systems are composed of a number of different parts that all work together to help your fireplace operate as safely as efficiently as possible. Because of this, if one of the parts of the chimney system is damaged, it can affect the safety and performance of the entire chimney.
If your damper has been damaged or dislodged, it may be creating safety and energy issues in your home. By having your damper repaired and ensuring it has a tight seal, you can extend the life of your chimney and better enjoy using your fireplace.
What is a damper?
Most homes have throat dampers, which are used as a way to seal the firebox from the rest of the chimney structure. Located at the top of the firebox at the base of the chimney, throat dampers are designed to be kept closed when the fireplace is not in use, keeping the heated or cooled air inside your home. This keeps homeowners from “losing money up the chimney” as outside air cannot get in and conditioned air cannot get out.
What are the dangers of a dislodged damper?
When working correctly, a damper is an important part of keeping your fireplace system running safely and efficiently. However, many dampers may become damaged over time. Long term exposure to heat, water from a chimney leak, and the damper being forced open and closed can all cause the damper to lose its seal.
The primary problem associated with a dislodged damper is energy loss. If the damper loses its seal, energy is lost in two ways: first, heated or cooled air from inside your home is lost up the chimney, and second, outside air is let into your home. Both of these things cause your heating and air conditioning systems to work harder and run longer in an effort to keep the air temperature in your home steady. This translates to higher energy bills every month. Open dampers can wind up adding as much as 30% more in heating and cooling costs to your monthly energy bill.
In addition to energy loss, a dislodged damper can also cause drafting issues. Drafting problems caused by a dislodged damper can be as minor as a permanent cold spot in front of the fireplace or as serious as downdrafts that push smoke, ash, or soot into your home. A dislodged damper may also cause a chimney odor; air flowing from the chimney into the main living space can cause a persistent smoky smell throughout a home.
Fixing a dislodged damper
If you have a dislodged damper, the best way to return to full fireplace function is to have the damper replaced. A new damper with an airtight seal can protect your home against energy loss as well as the safety issues that accompany a dislodged damper.
Likewise, if you are already having your damper replaced now may be the time to consider switching to a top mounted damper. Top mounted dampers sit on top of the chimney, working as both a chimney cap and a damper. Because the entire chimney structure is sealed off from outside air, you are at a lower risk of energy loss and may see lower heating and cooling costs each month.
No matter your damper problems, contact the experts at Coopertown Services at 901-358-7777 to have them repaired today!