Remember to Close Your Chimney Damper for Summer!

June 16, 2020

Now that warm weather is here to stay, there’s one important thing to do before you start enjoying some summer fun: remember to close your fireplace damper! Leaving your fireplace damper open during the summer can have a number of consequences, some expensive and some dangerous for your health. In today’s post our Cary chimney contractor will correct some common misconceptions about leaving chimney dampers open, and what you can do to ensure your chimney is fully safe and secure this season.

What is a Fireplace Damper?

A fireplace damper is a metal plate located at the top of your chimney’s firebox. It can be opened or closed with a lever in order to seal off the fireplace from the rest of the chimney. When properly installed, dampers create an airtight seal that prevents airflow between the chimney and the rest of the house.

Will Keeping My Damper Open Cool My Home?

Long story short: no. This is a common misconception people have about fireplace dampers that simply isn’t true. The thinking behind the theory is that, since warm air rises, any warm air in your home will travel up and out of the flue. However, the opposite is true. If you leave the damper open, regardless of whether it is hot or cold outside, it will allow outside air to enter, countering the effects of your cooling system and driving up your utility costs.

Will Keeping My Damper Open “Air Out” My Chimney?

Another common myth about dampers is that leaving them open helps “air out” the chimney from odors and toxins. However, this is incorrect. Leaving the damper open will simply allow odors and toxic chemicals (i.e. carbon monoxide caused by creosote) to enter your home. This can be especially bad during the hot, humid months of summer, and even more so if your chimney has significant creosote buildup. Once the creosote smell seeps into your furnishings, carpeting, and drywall, it can be very difficult, if not impossible, to remove!

Won’t The Chimney Cap Be Enough to Protect My Chimney?

Nope—although chimney caps are great at keeping water, debris, and animals out of the chimney, they do not block airflow or drafts. In addition, the cap can be shifted by summer storms, or damaged by animals or falling branches. When this happens, the homeowner usually does not find out until a bird or squirrel enters the house. Even worse, the homeowner might not find out at all, and rainwater will continue to damage the masonry and destroy the chimney until the damage is significant enough to be discovered. Flammable debris can enter the chimney system, too, posing a fire risk the next time you light a fireplace.

Keep Your Chimney System Safe with Our Cary Chimney Company!

In order to avoid all the issues described in this post, there’s one important thing to do twice a year: schedule a chimney cleaning and inspection. A chimney cleaning and inspection will ensure that your chimney cap is secure; that there are no cracks or water damage issues in the chimney; and that harmful, bad-smelling creosote is removed. If you would like to schedule a chimney inspection in Cary, please click here to request a free service estimate from Nexus Chimney Services!