Fireplace safety is always our #1 concern at 2nd Generation Chimneys, Inc. Before we help you upgrade your fireplace, we always advise you of any safety issues we see first and foremost, as all of our chimney sweeps are trained to do. We can detect hard-to-spot concerns such as a buildup of creosote, issues with the masonry, or signs of a previous fire that put you at a greater risk.
That said, there is one safety concern that you can likely catch on your own. If the fireplace damper is sealed shut, smoke can quickly back up into your home. The fireplace damper is meant to be opened before you use your fireplace each time, and closed shortly afterwards. However, some people still feel that there is time to wait to call for a chimney technician’s services to if they notice a fireplace damper is broken.
When the Damper Won’t Open
When working properly, the damper should effectively trap the air and heat in your home, keeping it from moving out through the fireplace. Of course, you will need it open if you do start your fireplace, as you will quickly notice smoke filling up the room.
If the damper is sealed shut, there is simply no safe way to use your fireplace. And that’s not something you want to happen! Get this repaired ASAP, so that family and invited guests will always have the opportunity to safely use the fireplace without repercussions!
When the Damper Won’t Shut
When the fireplace damper will not open, you may want to get it repaired fast so you can start using the fireplace again. When it will not shut, though, you may take a little longer to call someone in. After all, you’re able to use your fireplace whenever you want. What’s the big deal?
The problem is that you’re spending way more on heating (and cooling in the summer) when your fireplace damper is open. Heat from your furnace is now more easily lost to the outdoor air. And closing the thin glass fireplace doors won’t help.
What Goes Wrong?
So why does a damper get stuck in the first place? Often, there’s a simple solution: cleaning up the dirt that’s made the valve stick. If you decide to try to clean this on your own, grab a mask and some goggles first. Take a chimney brush and thoroughly clean the damper in the fireplace throat to see if it budges. However, we recommend professional fireplace repair service before starting that fireplace again.
Why Pro Service Is Best
If your fireplace damper is stuck due to dirt, soot, and debris, it’s likely because so much of that has been allowed to build up in your chimney in the first place, and this is a problem.
Creosote is a tarlike substance that collects inside the chimney with time, which is problematic because it is so flammable. If this substance is affecting your ability to open a chimney damper, it’s undoubtedly lining your chimney as well. Calling a chimney technician to clean the entire chimney, not just the damper, is an important annual task, and a stuck chimney damper is likely a reminder to get this done!