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Understanding Your Fireplace Damper

There are many parts to a fireplace and chimney that you may not think about until it’s time to start a fire or have a chimney sweep done. One component of the chimney that you likely know about is the damper, and the fact that it should be open when you’re ready to start a fire. Using a fireplace damper is also a good way to control any possible fires. You can control a fire, by opening the damper completely, and then after it burns a little bit, partially close it, and see how it affects the fire.

A fireplace damper has many functions, but one of the most important ones is to help start a fire in your fireplace. In order for a fire to ignite, it needs oxygen which means the damper has to be open. With the damper being open, the fire will continue to build and allow smoke, soot, and other contaminants to vent and travel up through the chimney.

When the chimney damper is left open completely, the burning fire allows the heated air to escape, causing the fireplace to operate efficiently. The burn rate would increase too, needing more wood to fuel the fire.

If the fire is dwindling or there are a few burning embers left, partially closing the damper will reduce the oxygen level in the chimney. The burn rate will be decreased too, allowing the fire to run longer. A downdraft will force the heated air back into the fireplace, and increase its efficiency.

When Should I Leave The Fireplace Damper Open?

You may be wondering when the damper should be kept open, or if it should always be closed. We recommend leaving the damper open when you have a fire going. We don’t recommend leaving the damper closed, because the fire can’t vent through the fireplace very well, and the fire can’t burn properly. Not only can leaving the damper closed affect the burning fire, but it can also allow carbon monoxide poisoning to enter the home. We recommend closing the damper after the fire is completely out because it’ll prevent the heated air from escaping through the chimney and will keep debris and other earth elements out of the flue.

Will My Fireplace Damper Need To Be Repaired?

Your damper may need to be repaired over time because just like any home appliance or accessory, wear and tear can happen. Some factors that may lead to repairs are the intensity of the heat, and how it can warp the damper, but also the moisture and other debris. If the damper gets damaged over time, the conditions can make it difficult to open and close. If you are having trouble getting your damper open and closed or just need your chimney cleaned, schedule your chimney sweep with Valley!

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