Fireplaces and chimneys have so many different components that work together to make sure you have a roaring and cozy fire burning all winter long. But it’s almost overwhelming to consider all of the different options you have to choose from in order to ensure you have the safest, most efficient fireplace.

One of those components is a chimney damper, or often called a fireplace damper. With a damper, the two most common types are either a throat damper, which is placed at the bottom of the chimney, or a lock-top damper (also called a top-sealing damper), which is placed at the top of the chimney. Both serve the same purpose. However, they have different features and considerations that set them apart.

The chimney professionals at Highpoint Chimney Services are here to help you understand these differences so you can make an informed decision about the best damper placement for your fireplace. 

What Is a Chimney Damper Used For?

a gray stone chimney on a snow-covered roofHaving access to a damper you can open and close helps with the following:

  • Help control the efficiency and intensity of the fire.
  • Ensure waste, smoke, and gases from the fire are properly vented from your home.
  • Prevent warm or cold air from outside of your home to enter through the chimney and fireplace.
  • Maintain comfortable temperatures inside by preventing warm or air conditioned air from escaping out of the chimney.
  • Prevent unwanted things like rain, animals, and debris from coming into your home.

Now that we have discussed why you need a damper, let’s figure out which damper is the best option for you. 

What Is the Difference Between a Lock-Top Damper & a Throat Damper?

A throat damper is considered the traditional fireplace damper because it has been used for years. In fact, the first patent ever filed for a damper actuating tool was back in 1975.

Typically, a throat damper is an adjustable plate that fits in a flue or chimney, and sits right above the firebox. These types of dampers can be either a plate that either slides across the air opening or is fixed in place in the flue, so when it is turned, the angle of the plate allows more or less airflow.

Back when food was cooked over a stove powered by wood or coal, adjusting the flue was a way of controlling the temperature. It’s the same concept with fireplaces. Adjusting the damper allows more air to be drawn into the fireplace which results in bigger flames.

a large tree with green leaves being blown sideways by the windThe problem with dampers back in the old days was that gusty winds would make the dampers flutter. While they have come a long way since then, some dampers still do not remain fully shut because they have to be light enough in weight, so that the operating lever can open and close them easily. Even a slightly opened damper can cause a significant loss of heat in the winter, and cold air in the summer. Talk about a waste of energy.

There was a huge need for a damper that would completely seal the chimney off from these drafts and drastic temperature changes people experienced in their homes. Which is why the lock-top dampers were invented.

Like we mentioned before, both types of dampers serve the same purpose. But what makes the lock-top different – and far more superior than the throat damper – is its ability to create an air-tight seal, essentially eliminating the problem with drafts and heat or cold air loss. 

Not to mention, when the lock-top damper is closed, it works with the chimney cap that provides an extra level of protection, preventing anything at all from entering the chimney.

What Is the Best Damper Placement?

Determining the best damper placement ultimately depends on several factors, including personal preferences, climate conditions, and specific fireplace needs. Unfortunately, there is never a one-size-fits-all answer. However, Highpoint Chimney Services has many certified chimney technicians available to help determine what is best for your fireplace. With over 20 years of experience, you can trust us to listen to your concerns, provide professional advice, and guide you in making an informed decision. 

Call or Book With Us Today

We are committed to ensuring your fireplace operates safely and efficiently, guaranteeing you peace of mind while enjoying your fireplace. Call us today at 908-864-4114 or schedule an appointment online.