How to Install a Fire Damper

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  • 1-4 hours
  • Intermediate
  • 60-500
What You'll Need
Fire damper
Metal screws, nut and bolts (depending on damper)

A fire damper is a mechanism that regulates the moisture and oxygen entering a fireplace. It controls the gas emissions and how they exit through the chimney. It also regulates the amount of combustion that takes place when a fire is burnt. A fire damper has a lock that is enabled so that you cannot close the damper while there is a fire burning, therefore harmful gases are continuously removed from the room.

A fire damper will also help slow down the spread of fire through walls, floors, and partitions. It is made with a steel frame and fusible link, which is a heat-sensitive device. Once the fusible link is opened, the damper is closed, which means the fire cannot get through and migrate to another area of the building.

There are different kinds of fire dampers on the market. A manual damper needs to be adjusted every time you light a fire to ensure you have the proper airflow, whereas an automatic damper will regulate the airflow based on the ambient room temperature.

Fire dampers are a requirement for all buildings if you want to follow the regulations. They must be sleeved, and all the sleeves must be secured with the use of retaining angles.

Buy the Fire Damper

Depending on where you live you can buy a fire damper directly from a manufacturer or a construction wholesaler. Do your research on the prices and different models and make sure that you get the right size damper. Based upon your personal needs you might want to buy an automatic damper, or, you might decide you'd rather have a manually operated model. Either way, the information is readily available and you should be aware of the difference before you buy anything. If you are installing the damper into the wall, you will need a vertical damper, but for installations into the ceiling, you will have to get a horizontal damper.

Gain Access to Area Where it Will be Installed

Look at your house's blueprint to figure out the best way to access the duct where the fire damper will be installed. You can install it either into the wall or the ceiling. It is usually easier to access the ceiling if you have a false ceiling, but you must be prepared to have to remove a bit of your wall or ceiling to install the damper.

Securely Install the Damper into Wall or Ceiling

Using metal screws, secure the damper to the sleeve. If you have wood stud type construction you will need to make sure that you fill around the opening with filler pieces so the damper works properly and the room is sealed. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s instructions to the letter since different dampers work and are installed differently.

Test the Damper to Make Sure it Functions Properly

Light a fire and make sure the damper is working properly. Keep the fire lit for an hour or so. Using a manual damper is a matter of trial and error since you will not know to begin with which setting is ideal for your home.