The Damper Dilemma: Signs Your Fireplace Damper Needs Repair
Your chimney damper plays the important role of controlling air flow in your chimney. A damper can function as both an escape route for smoke and a blocker for cold drafts when used properly. Understanding how they function and learning to spot the signs of a broken damper are important tasks for any chimney owner.
What Exactly Is a Damper?
Think of a chimney damper as sort of a lid for your chimney. The damper should always be open when using your fireplace in order to allow smoke to exit the chimney rather than backing up into your fireplace and preventing carbon monoxide from escaping. When the fireplace is not in use, your damper acts as a seal to keep cold drafts out of your home.
Is My Damper Open or Closed?
The best way to check if your damper is open is by feeling for a draft or simply looking up your chimney if the fireplace is not in use. You should be able to easily assess if the damper is opened or closed as long as it is not damaged.
Common Damper Issues
Damper Not Opening or Closing
If your damper will not open it can render your fireplace completely unusable. Because the smoke cannot escape through the chimney it will back up into your home creating an unsafe environment due to the carbon monoxide created by your fire. A damper that won’t close will create a major downdraft issue making your chimney and fireplace inefficient.
Off Track Damper Flue Plates
If your damper is off track it can create an issue for the direction of the smoke exiting your chimney.
If your damper is not operating correctly, it will not allow enough of the smoke from your fireplace to escape.
If your damper is cracked, missing, or damaged in any way it cannot perform its very important job. It is important to replace missing or damaged dampers in order to ensure the safety and efficiency of your fireplace and chimney.
Steps for Repairing Your Chimney Damper
If your damper is not functioning properly there are a few steps you can take to resolve the issue.
Ensure the Damper Is Open/Closed
It may seem like a silly step to miss, but many times when someone has an issue with smoke backups or cold drafts from their fireplace, it is because the chimney damper is not open or closed at the proper times. Before calling in the pros, check to make sure your damper is open when the fireplace is in use and closed when it is not.
Have Your Chimney Cleaned
Removing any debris in your chimney such as leaves, soot, and creosote may help open up the passageway allowing your damper to better fulfill its purpose. Schedule a chimney cleaning with a certified chimney sweep. Another cleaning tip that may help is cleaning the frame and firebox. A cleaner chimney is a safer chimney!
Remove or Replace the Damper Plate
If you suspect that your damper is damaged in any way, remove the plate and check for cracks or warping to determine if a replacement is necessary.
Call the Pros at Chimney Specialists Inc
If you’ve exhausted all other options or discovered that your damper is in fact damaged, it’s time to call in the pros. At Chimney Specialists Inc. we have a trained team who can replace your broken or missing damper and get your chimney and fireplace working properly again. Give us a call today at 608-929-4887 or fill out our simple contact form to schedule your appointment today.