Many people rely on the heat generated by their fireplaces to keep their homes warm throughout the winter months. Fireplaces are usually seen as a more cost-effective way to heat their homes, as opposed to relying on central heating systems alone. However; a chimney that isn’t operating effectively could end up costing you money. How efficiently your damper performs could mean the difference between saving money or throwing it away.

Energy Efficiency & Dampers Image - Burlington VT - Brickliners Custom Masonry & Chimney Services

What is a Damper

A damper is the metal door in the throat of the chimney, usually above the firebox. When a fire is burning, the damper should be open to prevent heat loss and allow smoke to escape through the chimney. When the fireplace is not in use, the damper should seal tightly to keep warm air from escaping. Because of this open and close action, a damper should open and close easily and seal completely. A certified professional will be able to examine your damper and make sure it is functioning correctly.

How a Damaged Damper Wastes Money

There are several ways a malfunctioning damper can end up costing you hundreds of dollars more a year. Because a damper essentially acts as a window, a damper that is unable to fully seal allows about 14% of your warm air to escape through the chimney. Also, a damper that does not fully open while a fire is burning can cause multiple issues. For one, it doesn’t allow air to circulate properly; therefore, not allowing the fire to get enough cool air to burn efficiently. Secondly, it can cause smoke and other dangerous chemicals to be pushed back into your home. Making sure your damper is performing optimally may cost you a little upfront, but will save you hundreds in the future.

How Can I Save Money

There are several ways you can make sure your fireplace is performing optimally this winter. The best way to make sure your whole fireplace is working properly is to have your fireplace and chimney inspected by a CSIA Certified professional sweep. They will make sure all parts of your chimney, including the damper, are working efficiently and safely. Another way you can save money is to fully close your damper when you are not using the fireplace. You should also avoid running both the fireplace and central heating system at the same time. A heat-air exchange system can be useful for saving money because it blows warm air back into the room. Simply adding caulking around the fireplace hearth can also reduce heat loss and save you money.

If you have not had your annual chimney inspection performed, now is the time to get it done. Not only does an inspection and cleaning ensure your chimney is safe for use, but it also ensures all equipment is performing at its best. If you have had your inspection but feel that your chimney is not performing as efficient as it could be, we would be happy to check it out. Give us a call today to setup an appointment!