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Chimney Damper Installation

Your chimney is made up of many parts. These parts need to function properly in order for the chimney to do its job correctly. What happens when the chimney doesn’t work properly? The efficiency drops, fuel and energy go to waste, and fire risk goes up. In addition, it will also require more maintenance than usual. One of these indispensable parts is the damper.All About Chimney Damper Installation - Suffolk NY - Chief Chimney

The Chimney Damper

During the cold months when a fire is burning in your fireplace, stove, or insert – the damper is very important! With it you can control the intensity of the flame and prevent smoke from filling your home. You should never close your damper completely when a fire is burning. This is because it closes the vent, letting hazardous gases into your home. It is also helpful during the off-season, keeping hot air from falling from the chimney into the house, or letting conditioned air leave through the chimney. A damper closed securely can save you in energy costs.

Common Damper Problems

Like every part of the chimney, even a good damper can go bad over time. There are many factors that can affect the damper. These include water leaks, soot, and creosote buildup. Also, natural occurrences like tornadoes, earthquakes, and fires can affect it too. Some older homes may have an outdated damper that is less efficient or worn out. Maybe your damper isn’t worn out, but it doesn’t fit securely enough to prevent a draft. What’s the only thing worse than burning too much electricity running an air conditioner? Running an air conditioner and still feeling a warm draft! You can prevent this occurrence by having a new damper installed.

Top-Sealing Dampers

Energy-top, or top-sealing dampers, take all of the benefits of a traditional damper, and improves upon them. This damper is installed at the top of the chimney, instead of the interior throat of the chimney, and functions as a cap as well as a damper. When the fire is burning, the damper stays open to vent the fire properly. The damper also keeps animals, debris, and weather out year-round. This is just like a cap, except the tight seal closes it completely when the fire is out. That means that you save on heating/cooling costs when your fireplace isn’t in use. You don’t have to buy a complicated chimney sealing kit or climb on the roof with a tarp. You simply pull the chain located next to your fireplace, and it closes securely.

What better way to protect your chimney than from the top down? With the energy-top dampers, you don’t have to worry about critters crawling into your flue. It also prevents humidity mingling with your chimney soot that can make it stink!

Homeowners love the benefits and the savings so much, that more and more are having their throat dampers replaced with these energy-top dampers. If you’re interested in one, now is the time to make the change. You can still save on energy this summer if you schedule your appointment now. Contact Chief Chimney Services and let’s talk chimney dampers. Call 631-863-2460 or make an appointment online!

Advantages of a Top Sealing Damper

Around this time of year, the cost of the heating bills always spike wildly. No one wants to be cold during the winter, so sacrificing a few extra dollars to kick up the thermostat often seems worth it at the time. Yet when the bills come, a blanket suddenly sounds like a better choice. For those who rely on a fireplace to provide heat for the home, there are some options for cutting costs. One way to save some money is to utilize a top sealing damper.

top-mounted-damper-chimney-suffolk-ny-chief-chimney

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

The damper in the fireplace is a mechanism that controls the flow of air through the chimney. It is generally made of steel or ceramic to stand up to the heat of the fire and it opens and closes with a handle, pull chain or lever. Most fireplaces utilize the damper in order to vent the toxic fumes from the fire. Therefore, the damper should be open while the fire is burning and until the fireplace has cooled once the fire has been extinguished. Any other time, keep the damper closed to keep the warm air inside the house.

One common type of damper is known as the throat damper, which is located just above the firebox at the bottom of the chimney. These install very easily, so they are very commonly found in many homes. The other type, known as the top sealing damper, sits high in the chimney, and is less frequently seen. However, the top sealing damper does have its benefits.

The way these two dampers differ is based on the draft, or how the air flows through the chimney. Warm air rises, so when the fire starts, the warm air moves up through the chimney. This draws out the smoke and other toxic fumes while also pulling fresh, oxygenated air into the fire from the home, creating a steady flow of air. In a throat damper, the chimney is primarily filled with heavy, cold outdoor air, so the hot air moves more slowly up through the chimney at first. If the initial fire is too large, it could end up filling the house with smoke. On the other hand, the top sealing damper allows the chimney to fill with the warm air from the house prior to lighting the fire. Thus, when the fire starts, the hot air and smoke can move quickly up the chimney. This saves time and fuel when first lighting the fire, making the top sealing damper an easy choice.

For more information on a top sealing damper, contact the professionals at Chief Chimney Services, Inc. If you live in the area of Suffolk County, the experts at Chief Chimney can even install a top sealing damper in your chimney to help you save money right away.

Holy Smoke! My Fireplace is Smoking!

It’s one of those nice cool evenings when you just want to sit back and enjoy the warmth of your fireplace. You gather up the wood and get the fire started, but just as you’re getting comfortable a waft of smoke floats by your nose, and then more and more smoke is building up in your home. That definitely is not a good sign. Something is preventing your draft from working properly and smoke is escaping your fireplace.

If you notice smoke thickening in your fireplace and slowly spreading throughout your home, that's not normal! Have it inspected to know what's causing it.

If you notice smoke thickening in your fireplace and slowly spreading throughout your home, that’s not normal! Have it inspected to know what’s causing it.

Of course smoke should go up the chimney, not into the living area. That’s the very purpose of the chimney, to allow the harmful gases from combustion to exit the house not dwell in it. As you might have already figured out, your smoky fireplace might be an indication of an underlying problem.

Possible Causes

Moist Wood

The first thing that you can do by yourself is to check the kind of wood you are burning. Certain types of wood just naturally produce more smoke – the more moisture the wood contains, the more smoke (and production of creosote). That is why a drying process is necessary before using any kind of wood to burn in your fireplace.

Chimney Problems

Other more critical issues that could cause a smoking fireplace are chimney related, particularly pointing to the airflow, or the lack of it. When proper airflow is impaired smoke easily flows back into the house causing a lot of problems for homeowners, ranging from discolored furniture to severe health risks. That’s why you always want to make sure your fireplace and chimney are well-kept by having them inspected annually.

The most common impediment to proper chimney function is the presence of obstructions within the flue. These can come in the form of creosote buildup, dead leaves, and unusually, small animals. Creosote buildup is an inevitable occurrence with chimneys that are frequently used. Creosote is a normal byproduct of burning wood and over time it mounts up on the walls of the flue, narrowing the passageway of smoke as it tries to get out. This is the very reason why a regular chimney sweeping should be done because creosote is also very flammable and might even cause an unnecessary chimney fire. As for leaves and animals, having a chimney cap or crown installed will help you solve your troubles as it provides a barrier against these unwanted visitors inside your chimney. These accessories also hit two birds with one stone by complimenting the waterproofing of your chimney as well.

If you have a chimney damper installed, also make sure that it is still functioning properly. Otherwise, replace it because if it is always closed or will not open anymore, it defeats its purpose of controlling the amount of air flowing down to the fireplace. Instead it will be a trap for the rising smoke, which will have nowhere else to go but back down into the fireplace.

Whatever the reason for your fireplace and chimney woes, Chief Chimney Services, Inc. is ready to serve you. Contact us today for an inspection so we can help you determine the root of the problem. After which our licensed experts will do what they do best until your fireplace and chimney seem almost brand new. Soon you’ll be back having relaxing nights by your fireplace.