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Fireplaces and chimneys are designed and built in the same way for hundreds of years. With new developments in safety and technology, there are ways to improve fireplace performance and efficiency – without installing a new fireplace or insert. Top sealing dampers are one of the ways to improve the safety and efficiency of your fireplace system.

What are top sealing dampers?

a masonry chimneyMost fireplaces have throat dampers. This is located at the top of the firebox; throat dampers separate the firebox from the flue. Throat dampers are opened and closed with a lever or pulley system when the fireplace is in use. While this allows hot air, gas, and byproducts of combustion to safely draft out of the chimney, it allows the flue to remain open to outside air when not in use. Homes with throat dampers also require a chimney cap to prevent moisture, animals, and debris from entering the flue.

Top sealing dampers operate with the same principle as traditional throat dampers. They are opened when the fireplace is in use and closed when the fireplace is not is use. The major difference is their location. Top sealing dampers are located at the top of the chimney structure where a chimney cap normally sits. This allows the entire flue to be closed to outside air when the fireplace is not in use. It also works to prevent extreme air temperature changes in the flue and protect it from moisture and debris.

Three reasons every chimney needs a top sealing damper

Installing a top sealing damper may seem like an unnecessary fireplace upgrade. However, there are a number of benefits to installing a new damper in your fireplace system. The following are three reasons why every chimney needs a top sealing damper.

  1. Lower heating and cooling costs. Top sealing dampers save money in two ways. First, traditional throat dampers constantly leak. They have a metal-to-metal seal, which allows air to leak. This air leaking gets worse over time as heat, age, and further warp. This leaking allows heated air from your home to escape up the chimney as cold air enters, which increases your heating costs.
  2. Protect against moisture. Water is one of the most damaging forces to fireplaces. While chimney exteriors are designed to withstand moisture from the elements, interior fireplace components can easily be damaged by water. Because they create an air-tight seal when not in use, top sealing dampers protect against water entry.
  3. Prevent animal entry. Because the entirety of the flue is closed to the outside with an air tight seal, it is impossible for animals to find their way in when your damper is closed. When the top sealing damper is opened when your fireplace Is in use, the smoke, gas, hot air, and byproducts of combustion are a natural deterrent to animals.

Because throat dampers leave the flue exposed to outside air, it can be extreme temperature changes. This can affect the air temperature in the rooms adjacent to the chimney – and increase heating and cooling costs. A top sealing damper seals the entire flue from outside air; this helps reduce temperature changes in the flue and maintain a consistent temperature in the surrounding rooms.

Don’t delay – install a new top sealing damper today to improve the safety and efficiency of your fireplace. Contact Jack Pixley Sweeps for more information to start saving money today!