Chimney Dampers – Does Your Hillsborough Home Need a New One Installed? We’re Here for You

Chimney dampers play a big part in keeping your chimney’s air flow regulated when fires are lit, as well as keeping your home better protected during the off-season, when your system isn’t seeing as much use. That said, sometimes dampers break down or become stuck, which can create numerous problems for the homeowner, leading to leaky chimney problems, indoor air issues, and more.

If you live in Hillsborough or any of the surrounding areas, the team at Highpoint Chimney Services is here to help. We can either replace your damaged damper or upgrade to one that’s more reliable and energy-efficient. We’d be happy to discuss your needs soon and set you up right – call today to get started.

What Is a Chimney Damper?

When lighting fires in your firebox, the smoke, fumes, and gases produced need somewhere to vent, which is why keeping your flue open and cleared out is such a necessity.

But when fires aren’t lit, having an opening in your flue isn’t exactly ideal. It leaves an open space for downdrafts, odors, and pests to enter, and it’s an easy spot for your conditioned air and heat to escape too.

Fortunately, that’s where chimney dampers come in. A chimney damper is typically made of metal and is located either at the top of the chimney or just above the firebox, depending on the style you have. It’s meant to regulate the flow of air and smoke in a chimney when fires are lit, then seal it up when not. Most dampers can be opened or closed by a lever or chain near the firebox opening.

Is a Chimney Damper Necessary?

When it comes to home care, there are lots of tips, recommendations, and suggestions from home servicing companies that homeowners need to take into consideration. But if you took every piece of advice and bought every recommended tool or gadget, you’d find yourself overwhelmed with new things to install, maintain, and keep track of – and your budget will likely suffer as a result too.

Because of this, homeowners need to consider which recommendations to take seriously and which they don’t need to worry as much about.

So… Is a fireplace damper necessary?

We care about the communities we serve – they’re the ones we work, play, and live in too! So, rest assured, we’ll be the first to tell you which chimney components are optional and which are an absolute must. And chimney dampers fall in the latter category – this is something every system should be equipped with.

Why? Because, without one, regulating the airflow in your chimney flue would be next to impossible. By controlling the flow of air and smoke, the damper can help to create a more consistent burn. This can also help to prevent the buildup of creosote in your flue, which then minimizes the risk of chimney fires.

And when your fireplace isn’t in use? In these cases, you’ll likely have your heat running (in the winter) or your A/C cranked up (in the summer). In either case, the damper can be closed up, so you don’t have a big open hole in your chimney letting air out or downdrafts in. This keeps your temps in check, putting less strain on your HVAC system and ensuring your energy bills don’t spike.

Can a Chimney Damper Be Replaced?

Definitely. In fact, sometimes upgrading to a more modern damper option is one of the best moves a homeowner can make.

Over time, a chimney damper may become damaged or worn out, which results in heat loss, lowered efficiency, and potential risks for your home, like smoke backup (if it’s stuck shut) or animal entry and indoor air quality issues (if it’s stuck open). The good news is that replacing your chimney damper isn’t an invasive or difficult endeavor when you trust one of our experts for the job.

The process typically just consists of removing the old damper from your flue, then installing a new one in its place. That said, ensuring that the new damper is properly fitted and sealed to prevent air leaks and other issues is imperative – again, this is why hiring a tech that knows their stuff is a must.

It’s also wise to consult with your professional tech about what type of damper is best for you. Selecting a model that’s appropriate for the size and type of your chimney can make all the difference between something that works great and gives you peace of mind or something that only invites more stress and headaches.

So, if you’re experiencing issues with your damper, don’t wait to reach out. This is something we’re completely equipped to help you with.

How do you replace a damper on an old fireplace?

Do you have an older fireplace in your home? Sometimes, these need to be handled differently, especially if yours is a historic fireplace that you want to maintain a certain look for. No worries – we’re trained, experienced, and always take your needs and considerations into account, so rest assured we can handle the job.

In the end, replacing a damper on an older fireplace versus replacing one on a newer or more modern setup shouldn’t be too different of a process. That said, we’ll always be sure to take your concerns and unique needs into account ahead of time, so we can move forward with ease, clarity, and peace of mind.

What’s the Difference Between Chimney Caps & Chimney Dampers?

There’s no denying that chimneys are complex systems made up of a lot of different parts. And sometimes, if two components have similar functions, it can be easy to get things mixed up. All that said, knowing about the various parts of your system, how they function, and what to look for in terms of damages can be beneficial, allowing you to spot issues long before they turn into bigger problems.

So, what’s the difference between your cap and your damper? Well, both keep out outside debris, animals, rain, and downdrafts. That said, a cap is immovable, installed at the top of your flue and staying put to keep your system protected around the clock.

A damper, on the other hand, can be opened and shut, so smoke can safely escape when fires are lit. In addition, while caps are always at the top of the flue, dampers can be installed either in the throat of the chimney or at the top near the cap.

What’s the Difference Between Chimney Flues & Chimney Dampers?

Your chimney flue is the interior lining of the chimney that ensures any smoke, gases, carbon monoxide, or other byproducts of combustion can exit the home safely. But doesn’t the chimney damper have a role in this too? What’s the difference between the two?

Essentially, the flue is the tunnel that guides these fumes out, while the damper is installed inside of the flue and regulates whether or not those fumes and gases have the ability to escape or not. If your damper is shut, for instance, smoke will simply back up into your home – which is why this is the first thing we suggest checking if you’re dealing with a smoky fireplace.

How Much Does It Cost to Replace a Chimney Damper?

It’s clear your damper serves an important and necessary purpose, which means that, if it’s damaged, old, or worn out, a replacement will be in order. But what can you expect to pay to have your new damper professionally installed? Well – it depends on a few different factors…

Type of Damper

There are a range of different damper types and models you can invest in with some being more costly than others. For instance, a lock-top damper, which is more modern and installed at the top of your flue, is usually more expensive than a more traditional throat option. Remember though, lock-top dampers tend to offer more reliable protection, which means a lower chance of damages.

Like with anything, consider how paying less upfront might impact your budget down the line. Sometimes the cheaper option ends up costing you more over time due to an increased risk of damages and a higher need for regular replacements.

Chimney Size

The size and shape of your chimney can also have an impact on how much you pay for your damper installation. If your chimney is larger or has multiple flues, the cost of the damper and installation may be higher than it would for a smaller, simpler chimney. Additionally, if the chimney is difficult to access or requires special equipment to reach, your labor costs may go up.

Extra Maintenance

Does your chimney need to be cleaned or repaired before your damper can be installed? This is another important consideration that can affect your final bill. This is something we’d be happy to help you with. Call us out for an inspection, so that you can see where you stand.

In the end, prices can vary quite a bit, so this isn’t information we like to give out upfront. We’d rather consult with you about your specific needs, wishes, and setup, so you have the most accurate estimate going into the job.

Got Questions?

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Chimney Damper FAQs

When you’re not well-versed in chimney maintenance, the various components and moving parts can lead to lots of questions. Fortunately, we’re here with answers. In addition to everything we’ve covered above, here are a few other common questions we face when working with chimney dampers.

Should a chimney damper be open or closed?

Chimney dampers should open when the fireplace is in use, ensuring smoke and potentially hazardous gases can escape. When the fireplace is not in use, though, close it up to keep your home temperature regulated and to prevent downdrafts, animals, and outside debris from entering and triggering issues.

How do I know if my chimney has a damper?

Every chimney should have a damper installed, but if you’re unsure, there’s a few ways you can check for one:

  • Use a flashlight to look up into your flue. Dampers are usually located right above the firebox, so look for a metal device that can open and close – that’s your damper!
  • Check the top of the chimney. Sometimes dampers are located at the top of the flue, so if you shine your flashlight up and see a metal door at the top, this is likely it. Sometimes these can be seen from the ground outside of your home as well.
  • Check for a lever. Is there a lever or chain near your fireplace? Your chimney damper controls are typically near the fireplace opening, so if you have these components, they should be linked to the device.
  • Schedule an inspection. If your sleuthing still didn’t leave you confident on your damper’s whereabouts, call us in – we’d be happy to take a look.

What is a lock-top damper?

Lock-top dampers are installed at the top of the chimney, rather than the base, like a traditional throat damper. Many opt for these because they offer a tighter and more reliable seal. In addition, since they’re installed higher up, they can help the chimney cap keep out rain, downdrafts, debris, and animals when the fireplace isn’t in use. Finally, they keep your flue warmer, which can make things easier come time to light a fire in the cooler months.

Sound like the right fit for your home? Give us a call, so we can get yours installed.

We’ve Got Your Chimney Needs Covered

Keeping your chimney well-maintained is a must, but knowing which areas need attention and which are doing just fine isn’t always easy. We’re here to take the stress off. Schedule annual inspections with us, and let our team do the heavy lifting when it comes to your fireplace needs. We’ll get everything taken care of, so you don’t need to worry about a thing.

Whether you need a new damper installed, chimney leak services completed, masonry issues attended to, or your annual maintenance booked, we’re here for you. We’re a full-service company, so rest assured, we do it all.

Reach out now to get started – dial 908-864-4114 or book online with us today.


Lock-top dampers provide a tight seal at the top of your chimney and can help reduce the need for chimney leak repairs.