The chimney is made up of many parts—many of which you may never see! As a homeowner, there are parts of the chimney system that you won’t see, but that you will use every time you use your fireplace. The parts of the chimney and fireplace system work together to continuously keep your family and home safe all winter.
The Damper Assembly
Your damper assembly may be part of your masonry, part of your appliance, or part of your chimney top! Getting to know your system is the first step in using it properly and safely.
Some dampers only have two settings: open or closed. If your damper can only be fully open or fully closed, the system is simple. You have to keep the damper open while a fire is burning—otherwise, the smoke will not escape, the air will not flow, and the fire will smolder. If your chimney damper can be adjusted, then you have a little more freedom to use it for different functions.
Lighting Your Fire
In order to burn, your fire needs oxygen, fuel, and heat. Without an open damper, the oxygen is not present in the equation. Before attempting to light a fire, open the damper completely, and if your appliance has vents, open those fully. You may find that your kindling will ignite without the damper open. However in this situation, many homeowners end up wasting kindling (and time) because, without enough oxygen, the fire will burn up without catching the wood.
Maintaining Your Fire
As your kindling burns and your fire moves to your larger fuel, the heat will push up the chimney. At this point, you can close your damper halfway. That is enough to let the fire vent, but not enough to lose too much heat. If your damper doesn’t allow for partial closure, it should stay open until your fire is extinguished. You may lose heat up the chimney, but the continuous airflow will burn your fuel hotter, providing adequate heat for your room.
Types of Dampers
If you aren’t satisfied with your current damper you can have it inspected or replaced to ensure your system is at its best. We can help you if you don’t like the way it functions, or you aren’t sure it is working properly. Northwest Fireplace and Chimney installs new throat dampers and top sealing dampers. Top sealing dampers must be open while a fire is burning. When the fire is out, they save you money year-round. A top-mount damper seals with a tight rubber seal, so no conditioned air escapes during the summer, and no heated air escapes during the winter. These are especially beneficial for homeowners that use the fireplace periodically. Protect the chimney from the top-down with a top-sealing damper.
Northwest Fireplace and Chimney puts safety first, and that starts with the chimney system. If your system hasn’t been cleaned or inspected in the last 12 months, schedule your services today. Your chimney expert can tell you all about your system, what kind of damper you have, and how to use it.
Schedule with Northwest Fireplace and Chimney now, and choose Northwestern Indiana’s #1 choice for comprehensive chimney care. Call 219-413-2349 or schedule online today.