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All About Your Fireplace Damper

All About Your Fireplace Damper Image - Seattle WA - Pristine SweepsMost homeowners know what their damper is and how to use it, but may not understand how it is important to the overall safety and efficiency of the chimney and fireplace.

What is a fireplace damper?

A fireplace damper is a piece of metal that acts as a barrier between the firebox and the rest of the chimney. Located at the top of the firebox, dampers are opened and closed when the fireplace is in use to prevent smoke, gas, and other byproducts of combustion from blowing back into the home. Dampers are also used to help keep moisture, animals, and unconditioned air out of the firebox and home.

Two types of dampers

There are two types of dampers that can be used in your home.

  • Throat damper: Throat dampers have been used for years and are found in the majority of homes. Sitting at the top of the firebox, throat dampers close off the firebox from the rest of the chimney, while the top of the chimney is open to outside air and protected by a chimney cap.
  • Top sealing damper: Top sealing dampers are one of the most recent innovations in the chimney industry and are beginning to be used in more and more homes. Top sealing dampers are located at the top of the flue where the chimney cap traditionally sits. Top sealing dampers are still opened and closed using levers or pulleys when the fireplace is or is not in use. When closed, the top sealing dampers closes off the entire chimney system from outside air. This can help reduce heating and cooling costs as unconditioned air in the chimney is not affecting air temperature within the home.

Signs of damper damage

Whether it’s from years of use or overexposure to heat or the elements, dampers can become damaged and need to be repaired or replaced. The following are three signs that your damper may be damaged.

  • Broken pulley or lever: Pulleys and levers are used so that the damper can be opened and closed when the fireplace is in use. If this mechanism breaks, the damper can become stuck in one position. This can impact the safety and efficiency of your fireplace system – and even prevent you from using your fireplace altogether.
  • Loss of airtight seal: If you can feel or hear air coming through the damper when it is closed, your damper has most likely lost its airtight seal. This can happen after years of exposure to heat or if the damper has been forcibly opened or closed.
  • Rust: Rust on the damper indicates that there has been a chimney leak. If the leak has already been repaired, the damper can be replaced before the rusting metal deteriorates further. If the leak is new, its source should be identified and repaired before you repair the damper; this keeps future damper damage from occurring.

The damper is an important part of your fireplace system; it protects your home from exposure to outside air while helping the fireplace to vent safely and efficiently. For more information on fireplace dampers or to schedule an inspection to check on the condition of your damper, contact Pristine Sweeps today!

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

Schedule Your Chimney Sweeping Appointment Now!

Schedule Your Chimney Sweeping Appointment Now Image - Seattle WA - Pristine SweepsWith summer in full swing, most of us have absolutely no interest in starting a blaze in our fireplaces! However, because they are not being used now may be the perfect time to have your chimney swept!

Summer is often considered the “low season” for chimney sweeps. This year, beat the fall rush by scheduling your chimney sweeping during the summer! By scheduling your chimney sweeping appointment now you can be sure your chimney and fireplace are ready to go once fall arrives in a few months.

The importance of yearly chimney maintenance

Regular yearly maintenance is one of the best ways to extend the life of your chimney and ensure your fireplace burns safely year after year. The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends that homeowners have their chimneys swept and inspected at least once per year.

During a chimney sweeping, a CSIA certified chimney sweep will use brushes, brooms, and other tools to remove ash, soot, and creosote from the flue. Doing this can help your fireplace burn and vent more efficiently as well as reduce the risk of chimney fire. A chimney inspection may be performed at the same time; during a chimney inspection, the accessible portions of the exterior and interior of the chimney will be checked for signs of damage or deterioration.

Why schedule your chimney sweeping this summer

While it may seem like an odd time of year to have a chimney sweeping done, there are a number of benefits to summer chimney maintenance. Below are four reasons to schedule your chimney sweeping appointment now!

  1. Get an appointment that fits your schedule. In today’s hustle and bustle world, it can be hard getting service appointments that fit into your schedule. However, since this is our low season, it is easier than ever to schedule an appointment time that is convenient for you!
  2. Less waiting before services. Whether you’re waiting for a routine sweeping or are having an emergency repair done, there are often fewer waits before services during the summer. This is especially important if you are waiting to have certain masonry repairs, such as leak resolution, done.
  3. No waiting to use your chimney. If you wait to have your chimney swept until you’re ready to use it, you might find that it’s not ready when you are. Because so few homeowners use their fireplaces during the summer it makes it the perfect time to have repairs and maintenance done – your chimney gets cleaned and you don’t have to wait to use it!
  4. Think ahead and be ready for fall. Instead of waiting for fall to arrive before thinking about chimney maintenance, be proactive and get it done ahead of schedule. This will allow you to use your fireplace as soon as the first cold snap arrives – no waiting required.

Don’t wait until temperatures cool down to think about having your chimney swept. Instead, schedule your chimney sweeping appointment now to beat the rush and be ready for fall! Contact Pristine Sweeps today to set up your next appointment!