So, you move into a stunning new Belleview, FL home with a beautiful wood-burning fireplace. Now that winter is almost here; it’s starting to get a little cooler on the Emerald Coast. However, before you light the fireplace, it is essential to use the damper correctly. Unfortunately, many folks leave it open all the way without realizing there is a more effective way to control the intensity for a longer, more energy-efficient fire-burning experience. So, let’s look at how using the damper correctly will provide more heat & lower fuel costs, and how to take care of your damper with regular inspections.
A fireplace damper may be installed either in the throat just above the firebox or a spring-assisted top-sealing damper at the top of the chimney. The purpose of a damper is to regulate the airflow so you can enjoy your gas or wood fuel heating appliance safely. When open, it allows harmful contaminants to exit your home at the top of the flue while fresh air is drawn into the fireplace to fuel the fire. When closed, it keeps the warm air inside your home. It also prevents water, pests, and debris from damaging the firebox.
First, ALWAYS ensure the damper is fully open BEFORE lighting the fireplace. Otherwise, you and your home may be covered in soot and ash if the chimney back puffs.
The damper has notches, so you can partially close it (throttling), like a manual stick shift in a car. Next, when an intense fire burns in the fireplace, you can manually set the damper in the first notch position, slightly closing it. Then, if you want to reduce the fire intensity further, throttle the damper in the second notch. The damper will be half open. If you notice or smell smoke in your home, toxic carbon monoxide exhaust is entering your home. Throttle the damper back to its fully open position and open a window to vent the fumes quickly. Then you can partially close the damper as long as there is no smoke from your fireplace. Throttling the damper in this manner allows you to safely reduce the air intake for a more efficient, longer-lasting, and enjoyable flame experience.
You must extinguish the flames in a wood-burning fireplace before going to bed or leaving your home. After the fire burns out completely, it is safe to close the damper. Closing the damper will lock the heat inside your home, keeping it warmer longer. Otherwise, the warm indoor air will go out of the chimney, and it will be cold and drafty when you wake up in the morning.
The damper needs regular maintenance and could need repairs. The heat, corrosive combustion gases, and moisture can damage the damper and gasket, which allows air and water to enter your fireplace and home. Annual chimney inspections and professional sweeping will help prolong its lifespan.
If your damper is challenging to open or stuck, or you’re unsure how to use it, call Doodlebuggers® at 850.400.3189 in Pensacola or 850.204.2533 in Destin to schedule an appointment today. Or visit a Doodlebuggers® showroom near you for the best selection of top-performing fireplaces, stoves, and accessories. You can also contact us online.