Residential Chimney Caps & Dampers: Hidden Sources of Visible Problems
Imagine if you could see air – all the air in your home including where it moved when your fireplace was burning. In the case of a properly maintained and cleaned chimney system, you’d watch the air get pulled into the combustion chamber. As the wood burns, you’d see the warm air and other gases leave the fireplace, rising up the chimney.
At least, that’s how it should work.
If your chimney’s damper or chimney cap aren’t working or are simply gone, that air flow begins to look a lot different. It can mean cold air – as well as rain and water and debris – can flow down your chimney and into your home. It means smoke can’t escape and can instead fill your living room, and it doesn’t take a Fresh Sweeps technician to tell you that’s not healthy.
Let our CCP certified technicians fix or replace your chimney cap or damper so you can get back to enjoying your home’s fireplace once more.
Fresh Sweeps Chimney Cap & Damper Watch List
Worried you might need a new chimney cap or get damper repair? Here are three things you can look for.
Item #1: Air isn’t moving from the room into the heating appliance.
Here, the flames struggle to stay lit or grow to a useful, heat-producing size. Trying to adjust the flame level produces little difference in the flame size, with frequent flameouts during the day or night.
Item #2: There’s a strong draft, almost like a breeze, moving across the room.
The opposite of stagnant air, it seems like there’s always too much movement as air gets pulled from vents, under doors and even around exterior windows. Even with the fireplace or stove operating, the room never gets quite warm enough.
Item #3: Air is coming back into the room from the chimney or flue.
Room air seems stagnant and you may even feel – or smell – like fumes are coming out from the fireplace or stove. In extreme cases, the flame is wildly dancing about, swirls like a tornado or looks like it is being smashed down by air pressure from above.
Why Do I Need a Chimney Cap?
The chimney cap and damper are important to the proper functioning of a chimney system – they support healthy airflow to aid combustion and they make sure fumes travel out of your chimney system. But what exactly are they?
Chimney caps are a common fixture of all categories of heating appliances, from wood and pellet fireplaces to gas and oil stoves or furnaces. If you’re able to see to the top of your home, they appear at the upward end of the chimney pipe that extends through the roof or at the top of the brick chimney.
Whether they are flat, pointed or have a more ornate look, these metal caps help control airflow. As fumes rise through the chimney, they are dispersed into the outside air through the cap. Going the other direction, into the house, they guard against unwanted moisture, dust, plant materials and animals from entering.
Fresh Sweeps technicians inspect the cap or caps for their integrity, checking both the cap itself as well as how well it’s attached to the chimney. While they may seem unimportant, their value to the operation of the chimney system is crucial.
What Does a Damper Do?
The damper is the “throat” of your chimney system and it is usually right above the combustion chamber or at the very top of the chimney. The damper, which is usually controlled using a chain, handle, or latch, can be opened or shut to allow air down the chimney and exhaust up and out. When closed, it seals away the chimney from cold air outside the home.
When a damper breaks or isn’t sealing properly, it can be a real headache for you. If it can’t open, it means you can’t have a fire – smoke will simply fill the combustion chamber and pour out into your home. If it won’t close, it means cold air is always rushing into your home.
Fresh Sweeps can repair and replace these dampers for you, bringing your home’s chimney system back up to working condition. Unlike many kinds of do-it-yourself home repair projects, this one warrants our professional service because of it’s difficulty and the risks associated. An improperly installed and malfunctioning damper can have serious health and safety consequences.
WARNING: PROFESSIONALS ONLY RECOMMENDED
Repair or replacement of chimney caps and chimney damper controls is 1) difficult, 2) risky and 3) necessary because it affects the health of occupants and the home’s fire safety status. Go to the Online Scheduler to book a chimney inspection right away to see if you need a new chimney cap or damper repair.