Your chimney is a complicated system of parts, pressure, and temperatures that work together for a purpose. If any part of the chimney system stops working, the system fails to vent your fire properly. One important part of the chimney system that sustains damage over time is the damper. It often goes unnoticed until it stops working altogether, because it’s hidden from view. What causes a damper wear-down, and what prevents erosion?
How the Damper Works
The damper is an important part of the system that generally sits at the throat of the chimney. However, top-mount dampers sit at the top of the flue. It opens and closes in order to allow for easy lighting, and to allow airflow up and out of the flue. The damper will ideally have a tight seal when closed, and a firm position of both open and closed. When the damper is worn down due to environmental exposure, use, or physical damage, it may become less effective (with a faulty seal), or stop working altogether (when rusted and stuck in one position).
The Danger of a Damaged Damper
A damaged or faulty damper prevents the fire from venting out the chimney. Even if the damper is stuck in a partial position of open, the fire and ventilation will be less effective because air will not flow smoothly up and out. A damper stuck in the closed position will obstruct airflow completely, causing your fire to struggle to stay lit, and pushing all the smoke and hazardous gases directly into your home! This is a recipe for disaster–and a hospital bill.
Prevent Damper Damage
Most damper problems occur due to neglect. When the chimney isn’t cleaned regularly, the damper becomes coated in chemical byproducts of the fire, which corrode the damper assembly over time. It also clogs, which keeps it from opening and closing fully. Other chimney problems affect the damper as well. A chimney leak can allow your damper to rust and weaken. Spalling masonry or falling clay tiles can damage it physically as well. Just like with the rest of the chimney system, routine maintenance can prevent most of the costs and damage that can occur during the life of your chimney.
Schedule a chimney sweep and inspection and you can rest assured that all of the parts of your chimney system are in good shape. A comprehensive chimney care company like New Buck Chimney Services can gauge your damper wear-down and pinpoint a cause as well.
Have your damper replaced before it causes a major issue for your household. If you are experiencing a smoky fireplace, and troubleshooting hasn’t resolved it, you need to stop using it and call a professional today. If you or a family member has inhaled smoke, seek medical attention.
A faulty damper can be a serious thing–for your chimney and your health. Don’t neglect either one! Let New Buck Chimney Services have a look. Call us today!