As a homeowner, it is important to know your fireplace and chimney system. How you use and maintain it will determine its safety and efficiency. Using the system improperly can make it difficult to light and maintain a fire. Your fire’s heat, beauty, and safety starts with the damper.
Get to Know Your System
If you have a traditional open-hearth fireplace, your damper may be adjustable. Other systems, including many styles of pre-fab fireplace appliances only have two settings: open or closed. If you have a closed unit such as an insert or stove, you can safely close your damper without exposing your home to smoke and carbon monoxide. However, closing the damper will cause your coals to smolder, increasing the amount of creosote produced. Some homeowners allow coals to smolder in a stove overnight, but this practice means you will need more frequent chimney maintenance.
Lighting the Fire
Your fire needs oxygen to burn, no matter what type of fireplace or appliance you have. While you are lighting your fire, the damper should be fully opened to allow air to flow freely. If your appliance has a vent, this should be opened so that it pulls air out of the room, into the fire, and out the chimney. Without adequate airflow, your kindling and wood shavings may burn, but will not light your wood. This will waste time and kindling as you repeat this process until your fire is lit.
Maintaining the Fire
Once your fire begins to catch, the heat will begin to rise up the chimney along with the smoke. To avoid losing too much heat through the chimney, but continue to allow adequate ventilation, close the damper halfway. If your damper only has two settings (open or closed), you need to leave your damper open to avoid smoke and carbon monoxide exposure.
Open fireplaces lose heat, sometimes costing homeowners 3 times the amount of wood and utilities. You can improve efficiency of your system by installing an insert directly into your existing firebox. You can save money during the summer by choosing an energy-saving damper for your open fireplace. Avoid issues with your fireplace, chimney, and avoid wasting time, money, and resources by burning the proper wood and using the system correctly. Using the damper properly can save you more than money. Protecting your family from carbon monoxide exposure can save lives.
Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep installs, repairs, and replaces dampers. If you aren’t satisfied with your throat damper, we can install an energy top damper that will save you money year-round. We can be your choice for comprehensive chimney maintenance for all four seasons, and we’re just a phone call away. Call Billy Sweet Chimney Sweep at 617-469-4528 or make an appointment using our online scheduling tool today.