Chimney and fireplace technology continues to make advances, helping homeowners save money and run their appliances with maximum energy efficiency. One such chimney component that continues to grow in popularity is the top sealing damper.


This clip is courtesy of Richie Baxley at Environmental Chimney Service in Asheville NC.

What is a top sealing damper?

In most fireplaces, the damper can be found at the top of the firebox. The purpose of this damper is to separate the flue from the firebox, keeping the warm air inside your home in while keeping drafts and cold air out.

Unlike a normal damper, top sealing dampers are located at the top of the flue. When closed, they seal off the entire flue and chimney structure from the outside. This prevents any cold air, moisture, debris, or animals from entering the flue when the damper is closed.

Advantages of a top sealing damper

One of the biggest advantages of the top sealing damper is that they help keep chimney structures warmer. This prevents your chimney from being “cold”, which can cause smoke to blow back into your home when you attempt to start a fire. Likewise, having the flue closed to outside air means that rooms near the chimney or flue are less likely to experience dramatic shifts in temperature in the summer or winter months.

Because the top sealing dampers close off the entire flue, they are often considered a more energy efficient option than traditional dampers. They also prevent downdrafts or “whistling” chimneys, which can occur with regular dampers even when the damper is closed. Likewise, when the top sealing damper is closed there is no loss of heated or cooled air from your home, and outside air in the chimney will not affect your interior temperature.

Do top sealing dampers need chimney caps?

Top sealing dampers work as a replacement for chimney caps. Because they seal off the top of the chimney when not in use, it protects your chimney from moisture, leaves, branches, and other debris from falling into the flue.

When closed, the dampers are also effective at keeping birds, small mammals, and raccoons out of the flue and chimney structure. When the fireplace is in use and the damper is open, the smoke from the fire acts as a natural deterrent to keep animals away from the chimney. In addition, the design of many top sealing dampers will keep large animals such as raccoons out even when the damper is open.

Because the chimney is essentially open when the damper is open, it is extremely important to close top sealing dampers when the fireplace is not in use. Without doing so, water, debris, and animals – all of which damage the fireplace and chimney – have easy access to your chimney.

If you’re interested in learning more about top sealing dampers and whether or not it would be the right choice for your chimney system, contact Pristine Sweeps today. Our highly trained and knowledgeable staff would be happy to discuss the pros and cons of top sealing dampers and whether or not it would be a good fit with your fireplace needs.