Improve Your Chimney’s Efficiency With a Top-Sealing Damper

The family is settling in around the fireplace. Popcorn, blankets, and drinks are on hand for movie night. The only thing that is missing is a roaring fire.

…but for some reason, you can’t get the fire to start. When you do manage to get a few flames going, it’s only a matter of time until it’s back to smoldering ash. What’s the problem?

There could be a few scenarios at play here, but a common cause is an issue with airflow. This could be the result of a blockage somewhere in the chimney or it could be due to a faulty damper. If it is the damper, we have something that might work better for your chimney system: a top-sealing damper.

For more than 20 years, Lords Chimney has built, repaired, and upgraded chimneys and fireplaces all over Houston and Beaumont. If you want to ask us about installing a top-sealing damper, schedule an annual inspection, or inquire about any of our other chimney services, don’t hesitate to get in touch. You can reach us by phone at 281-497-4000 or by requesting an appointment online.

What Is a Top-Sealing Damper?

The top-sealing damper is without a doubt one of the best innovations to be introduced to the chimney industry. Designed to create an airtight seal at the top of your home, a top-sealing damper will keep energy inside your home and can save you tons of money. 

A test performed by the Architectural Testing Lab in Minnesota determined that installing an energy-saving damper at the top of a chimney can cut heat loss by more than 75%. In addition, these dampers will aid in keeping the elements out. Rain and snow are the chimney’s worst enemies and are capable of doing profound damage to it – so any additional protection you can provide for your chimney is a bonus.

Finally, top-sealing dampers work alongside your chimney cap to help keep outdoor odors, insects, and animals (like raccoons, squirrels, birds, and mice) out of your chimney.

How Does a Top-Sealing Damper Work?

In the past, most dampers were installed at the “throat” of the chimney, just above the firebox. Because they have a metal-to-metal closure that allows warm air out and cold air in, these internal dampers cannot restrict airflow between the home and the outdoors the way a top-sealing damper can.

Most of today’s top-sealing dampers are made of stainless steel and/or cast aluminum and employ a rubber gasket seal that opens and shuts, depending on when the chimney is in use. These dampers typically come with a lifetime warranty. By putting the damper at the top of the chimney, you can prevent cold outside air from traveling down into your chimney flue – and prevent conditioned air from escaping up it.

What Is a Chimney Draft & How Does It Affect a Fire?

A chimney draft is the movement of air throughout a chimney or flue system. It provides smoke and other toxins a clear pathway out of your home through the chimney opening.

Drafts can change due to differences in air pressure and temperature between the interior and exterior of a building. A properly drafting chimney will pull the correct amount of air into the fireplace and will provide you with efficient wood burning and heat output. A chimney that has draft issues may cause smoke to back puff into the room and promote creosote buildup in the chimney.

Why Is a Top-Sealing Damper Better for My Chimney?

Chimneys have been around for centuries and the more traditional throat chimney damper is a tried and true part of a system that functions well. Top-sealing dampers should be looked at as an improvement on what an old-school damper can do and there are some benefits it provides that the other doesn’t.

  • Better regulation of airflow. Warm air from inside of the house can escape up the chimney when a fireplace is not in use, causing heat loss. A top-sealing damper can be closed tightly to create an airtight seal, preventing cold outside air from entering the chimney and warm indoor air from escaping. This helps maintain a more comfortable indoor temperature and reduces heating costs.
  • It’s better at preventing drafts. A top-sealing damper also prevents unwanted drafts from entering the living space. These drafts tend to happen when cold air blows down the chimney making it more difficult to build and maintain a steady fire. It can also invite in foul odors.
  • Protection from the elements. Another benefit of a top-sealing damper is that it can help keep rain, debris, and animals out of the chimney. This can prevent damage to the chimney liner and limits the possibility of blockages that could lead to unsafe conditions and affect chimney performance.
  • It’s easy to use and install. Many top-sealing dampers are designed to be as simple to use as possible. Some models can be opened and closed with a simple pull chain or handle, making it convenient for homeowners to control the damper’s position. Top-sealing dampers are installed at the top of the chimney, either directly on top of the flue or as part of the chimney cap. 

Can a Top-Sealing Damper Be Used With All Types of Fireplaces & Stoves?

Top-sealing dampers are a great option when you want to improve your chimney’s functionality. Unfortunately, they aren’t a good fit for all fireplaces and stoves. Top-sealing dampers are designed specifically for wood-burning chimneys. If you have another type of setup, like a gas insert or fireplace, you should look into alternative solutions.

We’d also have to determine if your flue is the proper shape and size for a top-sealing damper. If you would like to speak to a Lords Chimney service representative about your damper options, reach out to us at 281-497-4000 or get in touch with us online. One of our chimney technicians can inspect your chimney and let you know if a top-sealing damper is the right choice for your setup. 

 

Can a Top-Sealing Damper Be Retrofitted Onto an Existing Chimney?

Yes! A top-sealing damper can be retrofitted onto an existing chimney. Retrofitting involves adding a new component or mechanism to an existing chimney system to improve its performance and efficiency. Top-sealing dampers are often designed for retrofitting onto chimneys that already have a traditional throat damper or no damper at all. 

Is It Hard To Maintain a Top-Sealing Damper?

Top-sealing dampers are pretty low maintenance compared to other parts of your chimney. If you have regular chimney inspections and cleanings completed by a professional, they usually only need a little maintenance from time to time.

With that said, their location at the top of your chimney does make them susceptible to water damage. After a while, you may have to replace worn-out damper gaskets, but that’s an issue we can easily see during an inspection.

Ready To Make the Switch to a Top-Sealing Damper?

You don’t have to deal with any more snuffed-out movie nights – call Lords Chimney to install a top-sealing damper now or complete any other need chimney or fireplace repairs now. Our team of chimney technicians is certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) and we can get your installation completed in no time. Call us at 281-497-4000 or book an appointment online today. Lords Chimney is here for all of your chimney needs.