An efficient fireplace can save homeowners money while helping the environment. There are a number of ways to help maximize the efficiency of your fireplace: burning seasoned wood, using fireplace accessories such as glass doors, and having the chimney swept at least once per year can all improve efficiency. There is one surprising fireplace upgrade that can significantly improve efficiency: a new, energy-efficient fireplace damper.
Traditional vs. top-mounted dampers
Most homeowners are familiar with the basic structure of their fireplace and chimney – including the traditional throat damper. It is located at the top of the firebox, and it separates the firebox from the rest of the flue. When it is closed, throat dampers seal off the firebox from the outside – but leave the flue open. Because of this, you need a chimney cap to cover and protect the top of the flue from debris, animals, and moisture.
Top-mounted dampers serve the same purpose as a traditional throat damper – sealing and protect the fireplace from the outside. However, they are installed at the top of the chimney. This allows the entire flue and the firebox to be sealed from the outside. Like traditional dampers, top-mounted dampers are opened or closed when the fireplace is in use with a lever or pulley system. When open, while the fireplace is in use, smoke, hot air, and gasses from the fire can safely vent out of the chimney. When closed, the entire chimney system is sealed; this helps to reduce the risk of leaks, chimney blockages, and animal entry.
What makes top-mounted dampers more efficient?
While both throat dampers and top-sealing dampers serve a similar purpose, top-mounted dampers, however, are considerably more efficient. The primary way top-mounted dampers are more efficient is by reducing heating and cooling costs in the home.
Traditional throat dampers leave the flue open to the outside air. This means the air temperature in the chimney fluctuates with the temperature outside. Whether it is hot or cold, the air temperature in the flue often affects the temperature in the rooms surrounding the chimney, causing the heating and cooling system to work harder to keep the entire home at a consistent temperature.
Top-mounted dampers seal off the entire chimney from the outside. Because of this, there is little difference between the air temperature in the chimney and the rest of the house. By reducing the transfer of hot or cold air from the chimney to the rest of the house, heating and cooling costs can be reduced year-round. Having a consistent air temperature in the flue has another unexpected benefit – making it easier to light fires in the winter. When the air in the flue is too cold, the flue often needs to be warmed to prevent downdrafts. Top-mounted dampers keep the flue at a consistent temperature and eliminate the need to warm the flue in winter.
A new top-mounted damper can help make your existing fireplace more efficient. For more information on the benefits of installing a top-mounted damper, contact Coopertown Services today!