How Do You Open a Chimney Damper?

Written by kimberly johnson
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How Do You Open a Chimney Damper?
Dampers block exterior air when the fireplace is not in use. (room with fireplace image by Dumitrescu Ciprian from

A fireplace damper is a metal plate that shuts over the opening to the chimney. The damper is opened and closed via a small loop or bar that is located on the upper interior of the fireplace. When the fireplace is not in use, the damper should always be closed to prevent heat from escaping from the interior of the home. When a fire is lit in the fireplace, the damper should be open to allow smoke to escape through the chimney.

Skill level:

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  1. 1

    Pull back the fireplace screen so that you can easily access the interior of the fireplace. Squat or kneel down in front of the fireplace and look up into the top interior of it.

  2. 2

    Locate a small metal loop or bar which is usually located near the front of the fireplace or in the upper centre of the fireplace. If the bar is located near the front, slide it all the way to the right to open it. If the bar is located in the centre of the fireplace, push up on it slightly to dislodge it from the locking mechanism and then pull forward slightly to allow the damper to fall open.

  3. 3

    Stick your head into the fireplace and look up to see if there is a clear opening into the chimney. If you can see into the chimney, then the damper is open. If there is a flat metal object blocking your view to the chimney, the damper is closed.

Tips and warnings

  • Since the damper is made of metal, allow the fireplace to cool down completely before attempting to close it or a burn may occur. Alternately, use an oven glove or a cloth to close the damper to prevent burns.

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