In a chimney flue, a damper closes off the fireplace from letting hot or cold air in or out of the home. It remains closed and hopefully sealed when the fireplace is not in use. When you first start a fire, you open the damper all the way. The chimney and flue will heat up and a natural convection process will take over. At this point, advanced firemakers might slightly close the flue damper to minimize heat escape.
This traditional type of damper is found in brick and stone fireplaces just above the firebox. There is a iron or steel frame with a plate that opens by pushing a handle or turning a knob. It closes but not usually tightly.
Some throat dampers are either open or closed, while others can be adjusted once a fire is started.
Technology improvements have led to a range of more improved construction products for fireplaces. By placing the damper at the top of the chimney, it serves multiple purposes. It still has the same effects as the throat damper for fire starting and maintaining, but it also has additional benefits including keeping critters and water out. Another benefit is that starting the fire might be easier because the air circulating in the open flue is a bit warmer.
The throat damper can be easily controlled with a handle and it has a rubber seal around it, creating a better seal and therefore better temperature control and heat efficiency.
If your damper is broken or needs repair, you have some options. You can repair it or you can implement some newer technology and get it replaced with a more energy efficient model.
If you have a throat damper that is open or closed only and you use your fireplace a lot, you might benefit from a top sealing model. It will decrease leaking energy out while the fireplace is not in use and it will help you control the heat when the fire is lit.
Valley Chimney Sweep is certified in top mounted damper installation. We can come out and advise you on the most efficient and economical model for your home.