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Fireplace Dampers Save Money From Going Out the Chimney

Fireplaces serve as sophisticated, functional additions to any home. In the chilly Boston winters, cozying up in front of a softly flickering fire makes for a lovely evening. As the drifts of snow pile up, the fireplace keeps the home comfortably warm and inviting. Even during the warmer months, the fireplace acts as a beautiful focal point of the home, encased in elegant stone, marble or brick. Just as with any working unit in the home though, certain steps must be taken in order to keep your fireplace functioning properly. Specifically, ensuring your fireplace has a functioning damper installed not only keeps the fireplace in good shape, it can also save money.

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What is a damper?

A damper is a solid plate inside the flue of your fireplace that opens and closes using a handle, pull chain or latch. When burning a fire, the damper stays open so the smoke and other dangerous gases escape through the chimney instead of filling your home. The damper is generally made of metal or ceramic so it can withstand the extreme heat.

Dampers can be located in different parts of your flue. In the past, dampers could be found just above the fireplace, and these are known as throat dampers. More recently, the trend has become to place the damper at the very top of the chimney, which is called a top-sealing damper. Because of the way the chimney heats up when a fire starts, the top-sealing damper is more efficient at shuttling smoke out of the home. Regardless of the location of the damper, you can always adjust it to properly release smoke once the fire has been lit.

Why is a damper so important?

According to the experts at Above and Beyond Chimney Service, having a fireplace without a damper or a fireplace with a damaged damper can cause serious problems and even cost you money. One benefit of a functioning damper is preventing critters from entering your home. When the damper sits in the closed position while the fireplace is not in use, birds, bats, bugs, rodents and other critters cannot enter your home. In addition, a closed damper keeps rain and snow from leaking in and damaging your chimney and fireplace. A damper also stops musky, fireplace smells and outdoor odors from seeping into your home.

Perhaps most importantly, a properly installed damper can save you money on energy. During the winter, a fireplace without a damper allows the expensive warm air in your home to escape through the chimney. In the summer, cool air in your home will leave through your chimney as well. Either way, adding or repairing a damper in your flue can save you up to 25 percent of otherwise lost energy, which can drastically reduce your utility bills throughout the year.

What can I do about it?

Adding a damper to your fireplace can save your home from infestation, water damage and smoke damage. It can also save you precious dollars on utility bills. To top it off, the installation of a damper is fast and affordable, especially when you hire the right experts. If you live in the South Boston or South Shore area, contact Above and Beyond Chimney Service for a consultation.