Why It’s Important to Close Your Damper in The Summer
During Atlanta’s hottest months, closing your fireplace damper will help your home stay cool and keep chimney odors out.
The damper is a vent inside the throat of a fireplace. It should always be open when your fireplace is in use to allow air from outside to feed the fire and combustion byproducts, like smoke and carbon monoxide, to escape. When your fireplace isn’t in use, it should be closed to prevent heated or cooled air in your home from escaping. It also has a watertight seal to prevent moisture, debris, and animals from getting into your home through the chimney.
Myth Busting Rationales for Leaving the Damper Open in the Summer
We have heard many myths about why homeowners should leave the damper open in the summer. The three most common myths are that leaving the damper open will air out your chimney, allow hot air to escape and has no role in keeping water or animals out. All three are false. The chimney damper is the last line of defense to keep water and critters out of your home. Even if you have a chimney cap, it is a good idea to keep the damper closed in the summer. Chimney caps can become damaged creating a pathway for rainwater or pests to get into your chimney. Closing the damper will ensure that they can’t get into your home through the fireplace.
Your cooling system will be forced to work overtime if you leave the damper open. Despite what many people believe, hot air in your home won’t escape up the chimney if you leave the damper open. Instead, hot gusts of air from outside will flow down the chimney while cooled air escapes. The hot, humid air that the damper lets into the chimney won’t air out chimney odors. It may actually cause your chimney to smell. When the moisture in humid air interacts with creosote buildup in the chimney, it can produce a foul odor. Downdrafts of warm air through the chimney can also bring soot and dust with them that can aggravate allergies.
Don’t believe the myths! Closing your fireplace’s damper during the spring and keeping it closed all summer is smart.
One Exception: Fireplaces with Gas Logs
The only instance when you should leave your fireplace damper open during the summer is if you have gas logs in your fireplace. Even when no fire is burning, the pilot light under the gas logs produces carbon monoxide. This invisible, odorless, tasteless gas is highly toxic. It is important to always keep the damper open when you have gas logs to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Controlling the temperature in your home is especially important during Atlanta’s hot summer months. Making sure your fireplace damper is in the closed position is a simple way to keep your home cool and utility bills down. If you feel a draft coming from your chimney, even when the damper is closed, it is an indicator that the damper’s seal is damaged or warped. Repairing or replacing a damper is an inexpensive repair that can make a major difference in your home’s energy efficiency. Give our team at Chimney Solutions a call if your damper needs repaired! Summer is the best season for chimney maintenance.