Why You Should Close Your Damper This Summer
With summer upon us, what to do with your fireplace can be confusing. One of the most common questions is what to do with your fireplace’s damper. Your first instinct may be to forget all about it and worry about it in the fall, which would be a mistake. Should you close it? Should you leave it open? Don’t worry; we have the answer for you. Here are some reasons why you should close your damper this summer.
Don’t Listen to Non-Professionals
As a chimney sweep service, Ye Old Brit has seen thousands of chimneys over the years, and our chimney techs have the training to understand why your damper needs to be open during the summer. You may hear from a neighbor or friend that keeping your chimney’s damper open will let air circulate and keep your chimney dry; the opposite is actually true. Your masonry chimney is coated on the interior with a substance known as creosote which is a sticky and highly flammable substance (which is why you should have your chimney professionally cleaned) that, when exposed to heat and humidity from outside air, will produce a very unpleasant acrid smell that will permeate your whole house. It’s that kind of misinformation that can cause you problems. Before we delve into why you should keep your damper closed, let’s look at what it is.
What is a Chimney Damper?
Your chimney’s damper is a movable metal plate designed to open and close and allow airflow in and out of your home through your chimney. When open, it allows smoke and deadly gases to escape from your fireplace and its chimney’s flue and exit your home. When your damper is closed, it keeps hot and humid summer from entering and cool air from escaping. Basically, it’s a gatekeeper that controls the air exchange between your home and the outside world.
The majority of dampers are manually operated and can be found near the base of the chimney, right above the firebox inside your fireplace. There are also top-sealing dampers which are installed at the apex of your chimney that provide an even tighter seal.
Why Should You Keep Your Damper Closed in the Summer?
Now that we’ve explained what a chimney damper is, let’s delve into why keeping this little gatekeeper closed during the summer is essential.
In the summer, air conditioning keeps our homes cool, dry, and comfortable. However, an open damper can create an exit for the cool, conditioned air to escape and sweltering exterior air to invade. An open damper makes it harder to keep your home cool and forces your air conditioning system to work harder, increasing your energy use and, subsequently, your power bill. It also makes your home less comfortable overall.
Bugs and Birds
When a damper is left open, chimneys can be an inviting entry point for critters like birds, squirrels, bats, raccoons, and insects like bees or wasps. A closed damper serves as a barrier against these unwelcome guests from entering your home.
An open damper can allow rainwater to enter your chimney, leading to several problems. Moisture can damage both the damper itself and other chimney components. Plus, it can seep into your home’s structure, causing damp patches, mold growth, and even structural damage in severe cases.
To Sum Up
Your chimney damper is more than just a component of your fireplace. It’s a tool for maintaining energy efficiency, indoor comfort, and home safety. So, remember, as we enjoy the sunny days of summer, be sure to keep your chimney damper closed. It’s a small act that can significantly impact your home’s comfort and safety.
Having Issues With Your Damper? Ye Old Brit Chimney Sweep Can Help
If you are encountering issues with your chimney’s damper or just want to have your chimney inspected and cleaned during the slow summer months, contact us.
In the San Bernardino, Palm Springs, Mountain Resort areas, and nearby SoCal Inland Empire, call 909-880-2120 or fill out our contact form.
We are members of the Golden State Chimney Sweep Guild, and our chimney sweeps are certified by the National Chimney Sweep Guild, so you can count on our skill and experience to care for your fireplace and chimney.