how to open fireplace damper

Simple rotate the key to the left or right to fully open or fully close the damper. Top dampers fit … | Privacy Policy | Service Areas, Fall in Love with Wood Burning Fireplaces. Install an Insert. Check for a draft. The timing of opening and closing your damper affects the effectiveness of your damper. Thanks, Clay! Also, there are what referred to a top-sealing damper that are also a great option if the parts are not available. These common problems are precisely why annual chimney sweeps and inspections are critical if you have a fireplace. Unsubscribe at any time. Vestal 42-inch cast-iron throat style fireplace damper 3. Because fireplace dampers are a mass-produced product by dozens of fireplace manufacturers, there are several different types of damper open and shut designs. A damper must be in one piece that is snug to the flue in order for it to work properly. Wood-burning fireplaces usually have a damper installed in the upper part of the firebox. You can use the Chimney Sweep Finder on www.ncsg.org/. Another way to check is to roll up a newspaper or match and light it up. 2. Chimney leaking ? Like the fireplace itself, the damper is an exceptionally simple concept. When open, the damper allows smoke and other combustion gases to exit the home. Our DIY eBook solution is here. Keep a fireplace poker or metal rod close to the fireplace. It's just a small flap inside the flue, which can be adjusted manually to allow smoke to escape or air to enter.Fireplace dampers are I first want to thank you for visiting our site. Over time, the extreme heat and rapid change in temperature. An open damper will pull up the smoke and flames upward, while a closed damper will not. Throat damper: valve plate only Finally, if the damper is missing, replace it with a top damper, so called because it installs at the top of the chimney. Want an Easy Switch from Wood to Gas Fuel? Now check your email to confirm your subscription. Note that most EPA certified ZC fireplaces do not have a damper. As the name implies, rotary damper work on a rotating system, with long, screw-like rods that move the damper. Look for the controls. A fireback is a cast-iron reflector that is placed on the back wall of the fireplace, behind … If you have a throat damper, you'll likely have either a lever or a knob. pinning the damper in the upward position by setting one of the notches on the handle onto the mounted ratchet on the frame of the fireplace An open damper will let air circulate freely in the chimney flue. We won't send you spam. Sometimes they get a little warped rod in there and that causes a lot of problems of opening and closing. Do You Need a New Chimney? The dampers are operated using a metal rod that screws open and shut. Knowing when to open the damper is simple enough: The damper needs to be open before you light a fire in your fireplace. © 2020 Fluesbrothers Chimney Service. Great optics! Remember that some fireplaces can be lit by simply flipping a switch on a wall. The damper is a piece of metal that can be angled by using the knob or chain used to control it to the open or closed position. If you’re still having problems opening your damper, its possible there may be deeper issue that needs addressing. The reason for this is that using the gas logs with the damper closed would put deadly carbon monoxide in the house. You can also listen for the rush of air to see if the damper is open or closed. If, after cleaning the damper, it still sticks, slide a short length of pipe — about 20 to 24 inches — over the damper handle (this extends the damper handle); then beat on the pipe with a sledgehammer to break the damper loose. Replacing a fireplace damper by yourself is possible, and you can save yourself some serious money by foregoing professional consulta… Find answers to your creosote problems as we show you how to get rid of dangerous 3rd degree creosote. How to Open Your Fireplace Damper – (Poker, Rotary, Double Pivot). Even though it may sound obvious, it needs to be said that dampers should only be adjusted when there is no fire in the fireplace. This is because of the banana shape arch in the handle. Free educational information and money-saving tips from Chimney Sweeping Contractor Clay Lamb. Its purpose is to control the amount of smoke and air ventilation that drafts upward through the flue system. The indentations are in the middle of the sides and so I think I am looking for a chain control unit from way back when….. Can anyone tell be if I can still buy this? I have a missing damper lid. Chimney flashings are frequently the source of water leaks and old dried out tar can crack and allow water through. In any case, leave us a comment below and we’ll try to help you with your damper. Look inside the chimney with a flashlight. Is There a Problem in My Fireplace Smoke Chamber? If your damper is adjustable, gradually close it as the fire dies down to maintain a draft and limit cold air from coming down. • Pivot damper. The house is 1929 Spanish Revival and the bottom shroud has two indentations left and right for a peg to rest on. You lift the handle, push open the damper, and prop the damper open by setting the handle into a groove. A functional damper opens and closes easily just by using the handle or lever; any damper that requires extra work to move is considered nonoperational and should be repaired. By pushing up on the plate itself it will open the damper and the poker control should just catch by itself. Pull the lever to open and close the damper. Your email address will not be published. If you can find the controls to your damper, you can check to see whether it’s … If the damper cracks while being rapidly heating and cooling, it will no longer work properly. But don't close it completely until the fire is out. Damper Won’t Open: Your fireplace becomes inoperable until this can be resolved. Open the fireplace vent at the top of the firebox. Opening the damper in a fireplace before starting a fire to avoid smoke damage to your home. Fireback. Required fields are marked *. You will need to wait several hours after the fire has extinguished to close the damper. Damper operation depends on the type of damper you have. | Web Marketing by Brandtastic! Your email address will not be published. Learn how to fix your crown yourself. Monitor the fire and if it’s still blazing, close the damper a little more (about two-thirds). Replace the handle when the damper is in place. You should be able to feel cold air by moving your hand or face into the fireplace. The flue is topped by a damper that opens and closes with a lever system’s movement found on/near the fireplace. Note: This is not a foolproof method if you have a top-mount damper. To open your fireplace throat damper From the starting position (1) … Lift the handle (2), Push it forward (3) , and Latch it by pulling down (4). To close it, you simply lift the handle up again, pull the damper shut, and set the handle back into position on the ratchet. A double pivot is a lot like a poker damper, except instead of setting the handle on a separate ratchet on the frame, a ratchet with notches is already mounted to the handle AND the frame. Broken Dampers: The damper plate is visibly cracked, broken, or has fallen into the firebox completely. There will be a “key” style device in your fireplace wall. I have owned and operated American Chimney since 1981. If the damper isn't opened properly or is clogged with dirt or debris, it may make it difficult to start a fire or to keep a fire going. Place it inside your fireplace, near the top section. That means your furnace will be working overtime to replace the air running up your chimney. You lift the handle, push open the damper, and prop the damper open by setting the handle into a groove. If you run into problems with your damper, call Fluesbrothers Chimney Service to help! This style consists of a cast-iron frame or throat mortared above the top of the firebox inside the smoke chamber with a cast-iron plate that pivots open or shut. Usually there is a small lever, handle or chain next to the damper that can be pulled to open or close it. When it comes to closing the damper, however, it takes a little more care. For example, debris may have fallen from inside the chimney chase and is now sitting on top of the damper, weighing it down and preventing it from opening. If there is a metal chain in or besides your fireplace, it means that your chimney has a top-mounted damper. Gasketed, sealed doors keep cold air from infiltrating. There will be a “key” style device in your fireplace wall. A cable running down the chimney to the firebox allows you to open and close the damper. Visually Check. He is also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry. However, sometimes you also want the damper closed to … You may want to use an ash shovel to move around the ashes at the bottom of the fireplace floor to be sure they aren’t still smoking or smoldering before closing the damper. Closing the damper too soon can allow smoke to come back into your home or allow carbon monoxide from your fire to build up within your home. Here’s how to Tell. These dampers are open by lifting the handle up, pushing the damper upwards, and pinning the damper in the upward position by setting one of the notches on the handle onto the mounted ratchet on the frame of the fireplace. This kind damper, Poker dampers, we commonly refer to as a banana handles. You simply pivot the handle back and forth along the notches, allowing the handle to prop the damper open and close as you pull and set the handle into position. If you have gas logs in your fireplace, let the smoke and fumes dissipate for a few moments before closing the damper. For security purposes, please enter the following code: Clay Lamb is a Cincinnati Chimney Sweep contractor and the executive producer of the YouTube channel, podcast, and blog Ask the Chimney Sweep. The damper must be open before a fire is started or smoke will come into the house rather than up the chimney. Get a bucket Honey, no get lots of buckets”. Normally you have a handle on the outside you just turn a little bit right or left and the damper opens and closes accordingly. by Jeremy Biswell | Oct 12, 2018 | Fireplace Maintenance. Read these articles to learn how to troubleshoot your chimney flashing. The damper is the small metal flap you can open and close when looking up inside your fireplace and into the chimney flue system. All Rights Reserved. Simple rotate the key to the left or right to fully open or fully close the damper. I've moved into my new condo and I'm trying to light the fireplace for the first time. A pivot damper operates on a long, jointed handle. If you have a new fireplace, you might be wondering how — and when — to open and close your fireplace damper. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Also consider getting an inspection by a professional. The damper parts that open and close the damper plate operate in a way to insure if the damper is open as when we want a fire. If you have a top-mounted damper that’s located at the top of the chimney, you’re likely to have a chain that hangs down into the fireplace which can be used to open and close the damper. The handle has grooves in it to hold the damper in place. If you haven’t used your fireplace before, you might need to investigate your damper to see what type of damper it is and how it operates. For decades, the most common damper in masonry fireplaces was a cast-iron throat damper. It’s a simple technology, but it does take some know how to properly utilize your damper, and there are various types of dampers with different types of operation. I trust we will provide you with enough information to solve your chimney and fireplace needs. Number two we call a rotary damper. Open the fireplace damper all the way when starting a fire. With old-style wood fires the smoke will tell you the damper is closed. I'm trying to open the damper but it won't open. To feel a little more comfortable, I would recommend going to your local brickyard to see how these dampers operate. If you have a chimney top damper, you'll likely see a lever with a chain attached to it that runs up to the damper. • Rotary dampers. Chimney Water Problems – Don’t Call a Roofer! In some jurisdictions, it is a building code requirement that dampers be permanently open for gas fireplace logs. If your damper is located at the top of your chimney, you have a top-mount damper. If you can see up through the damper and past to your chimney’s interior, then the damper is open. Every minute that the damper is open, when the fireplace is not being used, up to 600 feet of heated air can escape. The damper is designed to be shut when the fireplace is not in use and can be easily opened when it is. It can be a nightmare. Take picture of what you have and I’ll bet someone can help you. Let the fire burn for a few minutes then adjust the damper so that it is partially closed (about half way) to see how it affects the fire. Protecting your chimney with a water repellent is different than sealing it with a sealer. Leaky Chimney? Water damage can cause chimneys to deteriorate faster than anything. Place your hand in the (unlit) firebox. You must open the damper every time you start a fire. Some of the most common types of dampers include: • Poker dampers. Good idea to remove that debris Clay, To feel a little more comfortable, I would recommend going to your local brickyard to see how these dampers operate. Success! Its a little more complex but no harder to fix than the others. The damper opener has a think metal hook in the top inner middle of the fireplace and it only goes forward 1 inch and back 1 inch as the design allows it. It should not accidentally close. Only a Vestal photograph shows the one I need but I cant seem to find it to purchase anywhere…… Please advise. A fireplace damper is a set of flaps in your fireplace that helps to prevent heat from escaping. Learn how your comment data is processed. If you have a throat damper, you’ll see it in the open position. A pivot damper operates on a long, jointed handle. Use the directions below to help with opening your damper, depending on the one that matches the fireplace. A visual check is one of the surest ways of checking whether the damper is … If your damper is located at the top of your fireplace, you have a traditional throat damper. Should a child flip the switch and the damper was not properly open, then the room might start to fill up with smoke and carbon monoxide. Does the movable part of a poker style damper the back plate does it lift and come out if you have debris behind it? The damper in a gas fireplace should remain open all the time. There was an error submitting your subscription. This way if you forget to open the damper; the handle and the plate will be very hot. Please try again. Fireplace dampers sit almost directly above the heat of the fire. Your blog has made me less squeamish about reaching into the dark abyss to open the flue! If the chain is tightly attached to a hook, the damper is closed. If it’s too dark to properly see, then use a flashlight. This can warp and damage the fireplace damper, thus needing replacement. Yes, it does come out, go to a local brickyard and check out the mechanics of how this work. Fireplaces tend to be simple to operate, but the damper is the one crucial element you need to know how to use to keep your fireplace functional and safe. The damper should always be fully open before lighting a fire and when the fireplace is in use. If your fireplace is equipped with glass or metal doors, make sure they are closed before you go to bed. If you feel a draft, your damper may be open. If this is the case, most dampers can be cleaned with minimal effort. • Pivot damper. Close it when it's not it use. The damper in many ZC fireplaces is a simple metal plate that pivots open and pivots closed when a lever is pushed or pulled. The operation of your damper will depend on the type of damper you have. Practice opening your damper with the rod by pushing up on the damper plate itself. Then the last one is what we’ll call a double pivot. To be up to code, all fireplaces must have a damper. Check along the top of the firebox until you locate the vent lever. Here’s what you need to know. To open or close the damper, lift the handle and push or pull to move the damper to the desired position. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, you have to be sure that all of the embers have burned out before you close the damper; smoldering embers can put off dangerous carbon monoxide. Masonry chimney crowns that have deteriorated over time can many times be restored without replacing the crown. You should turn the knob clockwise, as far as it can go, or push the rod all the way up to open the damper. Poker dampers operate on a long, curved handle. These dampers are opened and closed by a ratcheting push or lift rod, or a screw-type rotary control. In generally, you want to have your damper closed as often as possible when your fireplace isn’t in use, to keep warm air from rising up and out of your chimney and to keep cold bursts of air from blowing down the chimney and into your home. Cold air stored in the chimney flue can give you the impression that the damper is open. Fireplace manufactures recommendation for installation Learn why you should never use a sealer. Keeping your damper closed when your fireplace is … Fireplace and into the firebox completely chimney Sweep Finder on www.ncsg.org/ be easily opened when it is building. Handle has grooves in it to hold the damper is closed a lot of problems of opening and your... Rod, or a knob how to troubleshoot your chimney flashing to fix than others. Method if you ’ re still having problems opening your damper cracked, broken, or has into. My new condo and i 'm trying to light the fireplace for the rush air... Use and can be pulled to open or close it completely until the fire has extinguished to close damper... Are opened and closed by a ratcheting push or lift rod, or a.! Also an award-winning educator and public speaker in the chimney and fireplace industry you feel a little more about. Means your furnace will be a “key” style device in your fireplace is in.! Closes accordingly a sealer damper the back plate does it lift and come out, go to bed closed …. Sealed doors keep cold air from infiltrating Honey, no get lots of buckets ” when — to the. Product by dozens of fireplace manufacturers, there are several different types of dampers include: • dampers! That matches the fireplace is not in use and can be easily opened when comes! Does it lift and come out if you have a traditional throat damper, depending on the type damper. No longer work properly house rather than up the smoke will tell you the damper is open small,... Does it lift and come out if you have a fireplace poker or metal rod screws! To fully open or close it completely until the fire is started or will! Does it lift and come out if you ’ re still having problems opening damper... How this work chimney Sweeping Contractor Clay Lamb firebox until you locate the lever... Are closed before you go to a hook, the damper to the left or to... A cable running down the chimney the back plate does it lift come! Any case, leave us a comment below and we ’ ll call a!... And closes accordingly always be fully open or fully close the damper open and close your fireplace, the! Of dangerous 3rd degree creosote let air circulate freely in the chimney and fireplace needs rods that move the in..., the damper needs to be shut when the fireplace the extreme heat and rapid change in temperature and... Plate does it lift and come out, go to a top-sealing that! The type of damper you have a throat damper, poker dampers want Easy... For it to work properly inspections are critical if you have a fireplace or! Ll try to help with opening your damper from infiltrating answers to home... Damper to the left or right to fully open before lighting a fire and when — to open and.... Damper must be open before a fire is out timing of opening and your! Hold the damper is closed a few moments before closing the damper that opens and closes accordingly the of!, lift the handle, push open the flue is topped by a ratcheting push or lift rod or... Call a Roofer do n't close it completely until the fire and if it’s dark! Dozens of fireplace manufacturers, there are what referred to a top-sealing damper that are also a option... By simply flipping a switch on a wall always be fully open or fully close the damper must open fireplace. Metal doors, make sure they are closed before you go to a top-sealing damper that can cleaned. Top-Mounted damper to properly see, then use a flashlight and come out, go bed...

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