Cast Iron and Metal Fireplace Dampers

A fireplace damper is a very important part of the operation of every home fireplace. It’s good to note that an improperly used or malfunctioning fireplace damper can lead to an inefficient fireplace.

Fireplace Damper

Fireplace Damper

A fireplace damper is a metal frame that shapes the throat of the fireplace and features a hinged lid, or valve, to regulate the draft and to close the throat when the fireplace is not in use. The damper keeps heat from escaping and warming the outdoors. By closing the damper partway, the heat circulates lower and remains in your home to provide warmth not matched by gas or electric heating systems. It will give you a chance to make a significant savings in your heating bills.

Besides a damper will reduce the number of times you will need to tend a fire in your fireplace. When starting a fire, oxygen is needed to allow the combustion process to ignite. Opening the damper lets air in the fireplace. Leaving it open will allow the fire to build up so that when you close the damper it will keep blazing for a longer period.

The types of fireplace dampers that are available include throat-mount, which is made of cast iron, and top mount. You can buy them in fireplace stores or built to your fireplace’s exact dimensions. If you have a large flue and/or an unconventionally shaped one, you will more than likely need to have one made to order. Damper/cap combinations are commercially available as well. You can buy them in home improvement stores, fireplace stores, and online retailers at low prices. Properly working dampers form a seal which don’t allow air to seep through. As a fireplace gets older, the metal plates that form the damper become warped from the effects of heat and moisture. As the seal worsens, more air can escape up the chimney even when the damper is closed.

Fireplace Damper Functioning

It’s good to note that regular monitoring of Fireplace Damper is required. It needs to be checked time to time for safety purpose. Generally the dampers have a metal-to-metal form that prevents leakage. With some of the newer fireplace designs, closed dampers can be particularly dangerous because burners can be combust by the simple flip of a switch.

Remember that before lighting a fire, the damper should be completely opened. Some people try to operate the fireplace with the damper partly closed just to generate more heat into the room. But instead of providing more heat, it results into smoke. So forget about efficiency and open the damper until the fire is out.

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