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All About Energy Top Dampers

Many homeowners mistakenly believe there is only one way to make your fireplace more efficient – replacing it. However, there are several other small changes that can be made to make you’re existing more fireplace more efficient.

One way to improve fireplace efficiency is to install a top-sealing damper. Easy to install and easy to use, top-sealing dampers can immediately improve the efficiency of your fireplace – and evenTwo chimneys with smoke escaping one help reduce heating and cooling costs in your home.

What is a top-sealing damper?

Most chimney systems have a traditional throat damper, located at the top of the firebox; throat dampers seal off the chimney from the fireplace but leave the flue open to the outside air. Top sealing dampers, however, are located at the top of the chimney structure. When closed, they seal the entirety of the fireplace and flue off from the outside.

When the entirety of the flue is sealed from the outside, there is minimal risk of animals, debris, or water getting into the chimney. Likewise, the temperature within the flue stays more constant and is not subject to fluctuations in outside air temperature; in addition to making it easier to start a fire, keeping a consistent air temperature in the flue can help reduce heating and cooling costs.

Do I still need a chimney cap?

Because top-sealing dampers are installed on the top of the chimney structure, they can be used in place of a chimney cap. When closed, top-sealing dampers keep out water, animals, and debris; because they form an airtight seal, there is little chance of even the most motivated raccoon gnawing its way into the chimney.

Similar to a traditional throat damper, top-sealing dampers should always be opened whenever the fireplace is in use. Opening the damper before starting the fire, while it is burning, and while it is naturally extinguishing prevents smoke and other dangerous gasses including carbon monoxide from blowing or backing up into the home.

How is a top-sealing damper more efficient?

While the airtight seal of a top-sealing damper might prevent water, animals, and debris, how is it more efficient? The answer lies in keeping a consistent air temperature within the flue. A top-sealing damper itself will not make your fireplace burn more efficiently, but it can help reduce heating and cooling costs in your home.

Top sealing dampers seal off the entirety of the flue from outside air; this means that whether it is extremely hot or extremely cold outside, the air inside the flue is not affected by temperature changes. Rooms next to the chimney often experience spikes or dips in temperature in relation to temperature fluctuations outside. Sealing off the flue keeps these rooms at a more consistent temperature, which can help reduce the utility costs associated with heating and air conditioning.

A top-sealing damper is an easy, energy-efficient upgrade for your fireplace that can reduce animal entry, help prevent chimney leaks, and lower your monthly utilities! For more information on adding a top-sealing damper to your chimney system, contact Clean Sweeps of Michigan today!

The Benefits of Energy Efficient Top Dampers

When it comes to evaluating how well a fireplace can heat your home, efficiency is often the name of the game. While adding fireplace doors, using a fan, or even installing a new fireplace insert can help improve efficiency. However, one of the best – and most overlooked – ways to help make your fireplace more energy efficient is by installing a top sealing damper!

Throat dampers vs top sealing dampers

damper humorMost fireplaces have a throat damper. This kind of damper is in the “throat” of the chimney; it is a metal plate that separates the firebox from the rest of the flue. Throat dampers are opened and closed using a chain or lever when the fireplace is in use. The rest of the flue is open to the outside even when a throat damper is closed. This is to keep animals, moisture, and debris out of your chimney flue.

Top sealing dampers serve the same purpose as a traditional throat damper, but they do it in a different way. Instead of sitting in the throat of the chimney, top sealing dampers are installed on the top of the chimney structure in place of the chimney cap. This seals the entire flue off from outside. It works to protect the inside of your chimney from moisture, animal entry, and debris.

Benefits of top sealing dampers

A top sealing damper might seem like an unnecessary upgrade for your fireplace system. However, it helps to improve fireplace performance – as well as increase the safety and efficiency of your fireplace. The following are three benefits of installing a new top sealing damper.

  1. Increased energy efficiency – Traditional throat dampers leave the flue open to the outside world. In many homes, this affect the air temperature in rooms surrounding the chimney. Rooms near the chimney is colder in winter or hotter in summer as the flue is open to the outside. Installing a top sealing damper seals off the entire chimney and your home to the outside world. This helps to lower heating and cooling costs as HVAC systems run less.
  2. Improve safety – Top sealing dampers reduce the risk of moisture, debris, and animals getting inside your chimney. This is especially helpful in areas with lots of trees or nesting animals. A top sealing damper prevents leaves and branches – or animals wanting to nest – from entering your chimney. Even small blockages of debris in the flue can increase the risk of accidental chimney fire, prevent proper venting, or cause backups of smoke and gas such as carbon monoxide in the home.
  3. Start fires easier in the winter – When the air temperature outside differs significantly from the temperature in your home, it can be difficult to start a fire. If the air in the flue is too cold when starting a fire, smoke and gas can blow back into your home instead of venting up and out of the chimney. Top sealing dampers help regulate the air temperature in the flue by sealing it off from the outside; this helps make it easier to start fires in the winter!

Top sealing dampers decrease your energy bills and increase the safety and efficiency of your fireplace system! What a wonderful invention! For more information about installing a top sealing damper in your home, contact Clean Sweeps of Michigan today!

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