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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!

Why You Need A Chimney Cap

While all chimney components serve an important purpose, few protect your chimney as well as the chimney cap. Because of its location at the top of the chimney, however, chimney caps are often overlooked. Understanding the importance of the chimney cap, especially during the spring, can help ensure yours stays in good condition and can protect your fireplace system for years to come.

What is a chimney cap?

Chimney caps are fitted hoods made out of metal such as aluminum, stainless steel, or copper. They are designed to cover and protect the top of the flue. While chimney caps have a solid top which keeps moisture out, they feature mesh or wire sides; this allows smoke, hot air, and gas to safely vent while keeping animals and debris out of the chimney.

Is my chimney cap damaged?

Few of us spend much time on our roofs; because of this, chimney cap damage may go unnoticed until signs of the damage begin to appear. Chimney cap damage is often discovered through a chimney inspection. Chimney leaks, blockages caused by leaves and branches, or animal entry can all be caused by chimney cap damage.

Repairing and replacing your chimney cap.

If your chimney cap is damaged, it may need to be repaired or replaced. Because chimney caps come in a variety of sizes and styles, it is important to have a chimney professional help you find the right cap for your chimney.

While chimney caps serve an important purpose in protecting your home, they can also add a decorative flair to your roofline. Different metals, sizes, and styles can create a unique look that complements your home’s exterior while still protecting your chimney system.

Why you need a chimney cap this spring.

While a chimney cap is an important part of your chimney all year long, it is especially important in the spring for two reasons:

  1. Animal entry.
    Spring is known as the season of baby animals, and an unprotected chimney is an inviting nesting spot for many animals. Birds, squirrels, roof rats, and many other animals will attempt to nest in a chimney; chimney swifts, a protected migratory bird, are known for nesting in chimneys each spring and are protected by law. While a nesting animal might not seem like a hassle, they can cause strong odors, damage to the flue and other chimney components, and chimney blockages.
  2. Water entry. April showers bring May flowers – and chimney leaks.
    Heavy spring rains can cause chimney leaks if your home has a missing or damaged chimney cap. Even small amounts of water can damage interior fireplace components; the firebox and damper, for example, are built to withstand heat but are easily damaged by moisture.

This spring, don’t let your chimney go unprotected. Have your chimney cap inspected to ensure it keeps moisture and animals out of your flue. For more information on the importance of your chimney cap or to schedule your next chimney inspection, contact Clean Sweeps of Michigan today!

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