Chimney Dampers and How they Can Save You Money
The arctic 2013-14 winter saw a soaring demand for utilities needed to combat the cold. There were even some record-setting days for use of electricity in the state. Unfortunately, along with increased demand came much higher costs for many residents. Gas and electricity increased by as much as 30% or more for many residents. It’s tough to tell whether the next winter will be as bone-chilling as the last; but, either way, it’s smart to find ways to lower the cost of utilities. Look no further than your chimney dampers for a way to significantly cut the size of your utility bill.
According to research, as much as 8% of the cost of heating a home in wintertime is attributed to heat lost through the chimney; and the chimney damper is usually a big part of the problem. Dampers should always be closed when the fireplace is not in use. If left open, a damper is no different from an open window that allows heated or cooled air to escape.
Even when they are closed, throat dampers do not form an effective seal that prevents air from passing through. They are usually made with steel or cast-iron. If a damper becomes rusted or corroded as a result of moisture in the chimney, the seal created by the damper will be even less successful. Another problem that can occur with dampers is caused by the new norm in houses, which is that they are very airtight and can cause negative air pressure. The easiest place for outdoor air to enter your home is through the chimney.
A Simple Damper Test
If you are unsure about the level of effectiveness of your damper, here is a simple test. Hold a match or burning incense up to the damper where it forms a seal. Then blow out the incense or match and take note of where the smoke trail goes. Either of the following scenarios provides indications that you do have a leaky damper:
- If the smoke blows back into the room, it means wind is down drafting through the chimney and into your home.
- If the smoke goes up the chimney, it is getting past the closed damper.
Another method is to place a dollar bill between the damper plate and the damper as you close it. Next, give the bill a gentle tug. If the bill slides out easily, your damper is leaky.
What many homeowners today do to help seal off the chimney more effectively is to have a top damper mounted. The following are some fast facts about top-mount dampers:
- They do not inhibit the chimney draft.
- They open and close easily from inside the firebox.
- They are effective replacements for throat dampers that leak.
- They prevent the loss of heated and cooled air from inside the home.
- They reduce the amount of noise from outdoors.
- They will help to reduce odors coming from the chimney into the home.
A top mount damper can help you cut utility costs. It is installed at the top of your chimney flue and locks securely to provide an excellent seal. Our chimney professionals are trained and qualified to install your top-mount chimney damper and help you improve the efficiency of your chimney system. Give us a call today.
Chimney Solutions, Inc.
1155 McFarland 400 Drive, Alpharetta GA 30004