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The Advantages Of A Top Sealing Damper

When it comes to fireplaces and chimneys, much of the technology is as similar today as it was several decades ago. However, there have been several advancements in the fireplace industry that are advancing chimney technology into the 21st century. One of the most popular new advancements in the chimney industry is the top sealing damper.

The Advantages of a top sealing damper - Seattle Wa - Pristine Chimney

What is a top sealing damper?

A top sealing damper is a chimney damper that is located at the top of the chimney structure, sealing the entire chimney and flue off from the outside. This is different from the traditional throat damper that is located at the top of the firebox; throat dampers only seal off the firebox, leaving the rest of the chimney exposed to outside air.

Top sealing dampers continue to grow in popularity because of their safety, functionality, and efficiency. By sealing off the entire chimney when not in use, there is minimal risk of animals, debris, or moisture entering the chimney. Likewise, keeping the chimney sealed off from outside air can minimize fluctuations in air temperature within the flue; this can make it easier when starting a fire by eliminating the need to warm up the flue, as well as help save money on heating and cooling costs.

Will a top sealing damper replace my chimney cap?

Because a top sealing damper sits at the top of your flue instead of just above the firebox, it takes the place of and has the functionality of a chimney cap. In some ways, top sealing dampers may even be better than a chimney cap at keeping out moisture, debris, and animals; because it forms an airtight seal when not in use, there is no chance of anything getting into the flue when the damper is closed.

Just like a throat damper, top sealing dampers should always be opened any time the fireplace is in use. Opening the damper when starting a fire, burning, or letting a fire extinguish prevents the backup of smoke and dangerous gasses such as carbon monoxide in your home.

How are top sealing dampers more efficient?

One common question about top sealing dampers is how they can be more efficient. While a top sealing damper may not burn firewood better or produce less smoke or creosote, they can impact your monthly heating and cooling bills. By sealing off the entire chimney structure from outside air – as opposed to leaving it open to temperature changes – the air temperature in the chimney and surrounding rooms is less likely to change. In turn, a more standard temperature with fewer fluctuations can cause the heater or air conditioning to engage less; by keeping the temperature standard inside, you can save money each month on the utility costs associated with losing conditioned air.

A top sealing damper can do more than just make your fireplace more efficient; it can also save you money on heating and cooling costs every month. For more information on what a top sealing damper can do for your fireplace and chimney system, contact the experts at Pristine Sweeps today!

By Aaron Woodward | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

The Importance Of Using Seasoned Firewood

When it comes to your wood burning fireplace or stove, the kind of firewood you’re using can have a major impact on your burning experience. While it may seem like all wood is created equal, there is a surprising amount of variation between different types of wood. Whether you prefer hard or soft woods, oak or ash, it is important that any kind of wood you use is seasoned.

What is seasoned wood?

stacking firewood - Seattle WA - Pristine Sweeps

Seasoned firewood is wood that has been chopped, cut, stacked, and allowed to dry while being exposed to the elements for between six months and one year. This drying process is what makes seasoned wood different from fresh cut wood, and there is no substitution for the time seasoning takes.

When wood is cut, it has an extremely high moisture content of between 40 and 50%. The amount of water in green wood is what causes it to pop, hiss, and smoke when placed on a fire; the flames must first evaporate the water before the wood can burn. This causes sluggish fires that burn slowly at low temperatures, creating larger amount of acidic creosote.

By allowing wood to season, the moisture levels are significantly reduced. Well-seasoned firewood will have as little as 10-20% water left at the end of the seasoning process. Reducing the moisture content in the wood allows it to ignite faster, burn hotter, and create less smoke while it is burning.

How to tell if wood is seasoned

It doesn’t take an expert to tell the difference between green and seasoned firewood! Once you know what to look for, it is extremely easy for anyone to tell if wood has been seasoned. The following are some easy ways to tell green and seasoned wood apart.

  • Appearance: Freshly cut wood will have smooth ends that can even appear wet or damp because of sap or moisture evaporation. Seasoned wood, however, has darker ends with prominent cracks or splits due to the lack of moisture.
  • Sound: Hitting two freshly cut logs together will create a deep “thud” sound. When two seasoned logs at hit together the pieces will create a hollower “clunk” noise.
  • Weight: Because of the high moisture content, freshly cut wood is much heavier than seasoned firewood.

If you are still having trouble telling if your wood has been well seasoned, ask! Reputable dealers and distributors should be able to answer questions about the firewood you are purchasing, including what kind of wood it is and how long it has been seasoned for.

Storing your seasoned firewood

Storing your seasoned firewood correctly guarantees that you will have good quality wood to burn all season long. Wood should be placed on a rack that sits off the ground to prevent ground water from rotting the bottom layer; this also helps to keep insects, rodents, and other vermin out of the wood pile. While the top of your wood pile should be covered to prevent rain or snow accumulation, the sides should be left open to help continue the seasoning process and evaporate any moisture that gets into the stack.

Using the right firewood can make a major difference in the safety and efficiency of your fires. If you have questions about whether you are using the right firewood for your heating appliance, contact Pristine Sweeps today!