A chimney damper is important in keeping your fireplace sealed off when there is no fire roaring. It acts as a barrier from weather, debris, and critters, and prevents heat loss. This helpful chimney feature can turn dangerous, however, if you are not aware of it at all times.
Open and Closed Case
People often forget to open their chimney dampers when they build a nice warm fire. Unfortunately this can cause serious problems, as it blocks the use of the chimney. Your room will soon fill up with smoke, and even worse, you can start a chimney fire.
Sometimes, in the interest of preserving heat, people only open their dampers part way. While this seems logical enough, a chimney damper was not designed for “partial use” so you run the same risks as simply not opening it at all.
If you open the damper, after that fire dies down it’s easy to forget to close it again. This opens your home up to a mess of problems, the least of being heat loss. You can end up with all sorts of flammable debris in your chimney or an unwanted animal in your home. Always remember to use it properly every time.
Out of Sight, Out of Mind
Because you don’t see the chimney damper, it’s easy to forget it’s there, but, just like every other part of a chimney, your damper must be maintained. Rust and corrosion can undermine the functionality of your damper, and built up debris can fall down into your fireplace if you haven’t cleared off your damper for a long time. All these things can block your chimney and contribute to house fire. Don’t forget to maintain your damper.
The Swinging Door
The flap on a damper can catch or slip out of alignment and no longer close. When this happens, it’s easy to put off repairing it. This is a mistake. Even if your fireplace is not in use while your damper is broken, the chimney is compromised and when you do fix the problem, you could find more damage has been done. Water let in can mix with chemicals already in your chimney to form acid that will eat away at your lining. Pests can build nests that will start fires, or crawl into your home. Ignoring a broken chimney damper can open you up to a world of costly repairs and safety hazards.
No Replacement for Safety
A constantly used or older chimney damper knows when to give up. You should too. If your damper is not up to standard, do not put off getting a replacement. Attempting to use a damper that is past it’s time can result in any number of the hazards listed above. There are plenty of great options out there for damper replacements, so don’t put yourself and your home at risk.
If you have a chimney damper it must be used correctly every time and it must be maintained, only then can you be assured your health and your home are safe.