How to work a fireplace damper

Written by lauren wise
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How to work a fireplace damper
(Courtesy of Photobucket)

There are many different types of fireplace dampers, depending upon the type of fireplace and the age and style of the house. It is important to have the damper open every time you burn a fire, or else the household will fill with smoke and the damper can become clogged quite easily.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Gloves (optional)
  • Protective eye wear (optional)

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  1. 1

    Figure out what type of damper your fireplace has. Look for a handle, lever or latch right above the firebox in front on the upper metal part of the fireplace. Or, there might be a chain hanging off one side in the opening of the fireplace.

  2. 2

    Pull the mechanism down to open. You will hear the sound of brushing metal, and you should feel almost no resistance. If you are unsure if the damper is open, reach your hand into the chimney and see if you can feel any cold rushes of air. If you are still unsure, try closing the damper by pulling up. You will feel resistance against the metal if the damper is closing. This way you know it was open. Reopen the damper before you light a fire.

    How to work a fireplace damper
  3. 3

    Light a fire in the fireplace. Make sure you follow all the safety regulations and precautions for your household and neighbourhood fires. Keep the grating or mesh curtain closed at all times. Wait until the fire is completely out before you close the damper so you do not risk build-up of smoke.

  4. 4

    Pull the mechanism up to close. It is important to close the damper because in very cold climates cold air will enter the household and waste the heating energy. It can also provide a place for birds to make nests or get stuck.

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