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What Are Chimney Dampers?

Chimney dampers are also known as throat dampers. It’s a seal or lid inside the chimney flue that operates by a pull or chain system located towards the top of the firebox. The chimney damper covers the flue and prevents the cold air from drifting down into the chimney and making its way into the home. We open the damper so the smoke can make its way through the chimney when using the fireplace.


If you are looking at chimney dampers either for repair or installation then you have come to the right place! We at Expressway have years of experience with both repair and installations of an array of chimney dampers.


These devices have a few jobs. They help keep cold air out, send smoke away as well as help control the intensity of your fire. These dampers are usually located in the flue of your chimney. 



Chimney Damper: Open or Closed?

In order to properly work your fireplace damper plate must be open to allow smoke to leave your home. Closed will make sure to keep drafts out. How to tell if the damper is open or closed depends on the type of damper you have. Your house will quickly fill with smoke if you start a fire with a closed damper. You should get into the habit of checking whether the damper is open or not before starting a fire for safety reasons.


Here are different methods you can use to determine if the damper is open or closed. An open damper will let air circulate freely in the chimney flue. You should be able to feel cold air by moving your hand or face into the fireplace.


Note: This is not a foolproof method if you have a top-mount damper. Cold air stored in the chimney flue can give you the impression that the damper is open.


A visual check is one of the surest ways of checking whether the damper is open or not. Simply stick your head in the fireplace and look up. If you have a throat damper, the closed damper immediately above your head will block your vision. You should be able to reach up and touch the closed damper.


If you have a top-mount damper, check for daylight at the top of the flue. If you can’t see daylight at the top, the damper is closed. The current position of the controls (cable, rod, handle, etc) can help you determine if the damper is open or closed as long as you’re familiar with the chimney and its controls. If you find yourself in an unfamiliar house, it’s best to perform a visual check after looking at the control position.



Do Not Start a Fire in the Fireplace if You Are Not Sure the Damper is Open! 


Some sources suggest you can check whether your damper is open or closed by simply starting a fire in your fireplace.  Starting a fire with a closed damper is extremely dangerous and should never be used as a testing method.


Having smoke fill your house is more than an unpleasant experience. You risk damage to the interior of your home, your belongings, and, most importantly, your health when a closed damper causes smoke to become trapped in the house.


If you ever start a fire without being sure that the damper is in the open position, keep an eye on the flames and smoke and open the damper as soon as you notice that airflow isn’t sufficient.


A closed throat damper will cause smoke to fill your house immediately when you start a fire. If you have a chimney with a closed top-mount damper It might take a few minutes for smoke to start filling the house, but you will eventually notice that there isn’t enough airflow.


It’s always a good idea to check the controls before starting a fire since a partially open damper wouldn’t allow for proper airflow even though you can feel a draft.



Common Chimney Damper Problems

Just like with anything else there are some signs to look for. Which include: 


  • Flue damper plate being off track
  • Cold air drafts
  • Incorrect operation
  • Damper won’t close
  • Damper won’t open
  • Broken damper

Why Choose Expressway

We at Expressway would love to handle all of your chimney damper and other home needs. However, we know that there are a ton of options to choose from. So why choose us? We could talk about quality and the Expressway advantage. However, we let our work speak for it self. Feel free to check out our reviews or even look at some of our previous work. We know that after you take a look, you will see just how much pride we take in each project. For more information feel free to fill out the form below or give us a call at 631.772.6363 today if you are looking for a qualified chimney company for Long Island.



The Most Dependable & Affordable Chimney Contractors On Long Island

bad chimney in need of replacementExpressway Roofing & Chimney has your chimney needs covered! If you’re looking for a Long Island chimney company that won’t beat around the bush with awful customer service – our free, fair and honest quotes are completely transparent. Our business model was designed around the concept of fairness, openness and honesty for our fellow homeowners across Nassau and Suffolk counties. Trust in Expressway Roofing & Chimney just like our long list of Long Island homeowners that have dealt with our residential roofing services over the last 20 years.