How Does a Fireplace Damper Work?

A fireplace damper can be opened or closed via chain, latch or handle. The damper allows smoke to escape when the fireplace is in use and keeps cold drafts from coming in when the fire is out.

The fireplace damper is a key part of the anatomy of a working chimney. These dampers are metal flaps that either block or allow the flow of air into the fireplace. The damper is placed just at the chimney entrance behind the fireplace lintel. The damper flap should be easy to see when looking up inside the fireplace.

It is possible to adjust the flap by pulling on a lever, chain or handle that is next to the damper. Making these adjustments are best done when the fireplace is not in use. Otherwise, it is easy to get burned on the fire.

The damper flap should be closed when the fireplace is not being used. This blocks the flow of air, water and even keeps animals out of the house. When the fire is about to be used, move the lever to open the flap a little or all the way. The more the flap is opened the more air can be pulled into the fireplace to fuel the fire.