The flue in your chimney lets you choose how much air flows up the chimney when using your fireplace. The flue should be adjusted to make sure that your fire is safe and efficient. You can adjust the damper to prevent air from escaping when you are not using the fireplace as well.
You should keep the fireplace flue closed when you aren’t using it. This will prevent hot or cold air from escaping up the chimney. However, you should make sure that it is completely open before starting the fire and whenever you are using the fireplace. If you light a fire and it is closed, the smoke will enter your house. Keep the flue open until the fire is completely out.
It is important to open and close the fireplace flue at the appropriate time. I wasn’t aware of this. We enjoyed our fireplace this winter many times, and we are now in summer, and I realized that I left the flue open. So I researched the topic, and this is what I learned.
Should the Fireplace Flue Be Open or Closed?
You should keep the fireplace flue closed when you aren’t using it, but it is very important to open it all the way before you light a fire. You should keep it completely open until the fire is out all the way. When you aren’t using the fireplace, closing the flue will keep hot or cooled air in the home. An open flue is similar to opening a window, so keep it closed.
However, if you leave it closed when you light a fire, the smoke has nowhere to escape. It will return back into your home. This is why it is very important to make sure that the flue is completely open when you light a fire. You need to keep it open until the fire is completely out and there is no more smoke.
What Types of Flues Dampers Are There?
There are two main types of chimney flue dampers. The first is a throat damper. This type is very convenient, and it closes the base of your chimney. This is similar to closing your windows. It is easy to see if it is open or closed because you can lean over and take a look. It usually opens or closes with a knob or a rod. This is the type we have for our chimney.
Another type is a top mount damper, which seals the chimney cap. It insulates the entire flue. The advantage of this type of damper is that it prevents animals, debris, or insects from falling down the flue. You will usually find a controlling cable or handle on the wall of your fireplace.
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How to Know If Your Flue Is Open or Closed
How you determine whether the flue is open or closed depends on what type of damper you have. If you light a fire and it is closed, it is easy to tell because smoke will back up into your home. For this reason, it is important to know whether the damper is open or closed at all times.
One way to find out is to feel for a draft. When the flue is open, the air will circulate through the chimney, and you should be able to feel air that is the temperature of the outdoor air. You can also take a look in the chimney. Look up the fireplace to see if you can see the sky outside. If you have a throat damper, you will be able to touch it to see if it is open or closed.
Another method is to become familiar with the position of your rod, your handle, or other device that controls the flue. Learn the position the device is in when it is open and when it is closed so that you can double-check when you plan to use the fireplace.
How to Open Your Fireplace Flue
There are different types of controls to open and close your fireplace flue. Throat dampers usually have a rod, and you will push it or lift it to open the damper. They could also have a knob that rotates, and they are usually located on the outside of the fireplace. If you have a top mount damper, you will likely pull a chain or a handle that is spring loaded. When it is open, the chain or the handle isn’t secured, and when it is closed, it is.
When you have a throat damper, look for a rod inside the fireplace. If you can push it further, then you will open it. If it has a knob, you may need to try it out. Turn it all the way in one direction and look to see if it is open or closed. Then, you should make a note of which way opens it and which way closes it.
If you have a top mount damper, you should pull the chain. When you pull it down, then the damper will spring open as long as you don’t secure the chain. This is a great way to make sure that the flue is open anytime you plan to start a fire.
As you get to know your chimney, you will find it easier to tell if the flue is open or closed. This is important because you need to open it every time you want to start a fire, and you will want to keep it closed when you aren’t using it.
Video Demonstration: How to Operate Your Damper
I was surprised to learn how many different types of dampers there are. You must become familiar with the type you have before you light a fire. Lighting a fire without opening the fireplace flue will make smoke spill into the house, which can be very dangerous.
This video from the Chimney Safety Institute of America goes over the most common types of dampers and shows how to open them. You could potentially have one different from the ones shown in the video. If you are unsure how to open your damper, you should contact a professional before lighting a fire.
If you have a fireplace, it is important to know whether or not the flue is open. You will want to keep it closed unless you are using it. When you use it, make sure that it is open before you light the fire, and keep it open until the fire is completely out.
There are different types of dampers for your chimney, so you should start out by knowing what kind you have. A throat damper is at the base of the chimney, while a top mount damper is at the top of the chimney. It is much easier to tell whether the throat mount damper is open or closed. You should take the time to familiarize yourself with the type you have so that you can operate your fireplace safely and keep it closed when you aren’t using it.