When you think about chimneys in the simplest terms, it’s really just a hole in the roof above your living room. Now, obviously, chimney construction is more complicated than that as it guides harmful smoke and gases out of your home, but people often forget that things like water, wind, debris, or animals can use that same opening as an entrance.
That’s why every chimney should have a top mount damper.
What is a top mount damper?
You may be thinking at this point, “I already have a damper” which is likely true; but you may be confusing a top mount damper with a throat damper which is more common with older homes and, typically, comes with the construction of your chimney. A throat damper is found in your firebox (at the top), has a handle usually made of steel or cast iron, and is responsible for opening/closing the connection between the firebox and the rest of the chimney.
A top mount damper, however, is a similar idea with a more efficient execution: it rests on the top of the chimney, opens and closes easily with a pull string (or some other simple method) from the firebox, and is way more effective. Here’s why:
First, simply the location of the pull string makes top-down mounters easier to use, especially around the holidays. When you are starting a fire for special occasions, you typically aren’t wearing clothes you’d like to get dirty. A top down mounter has an easily accessible pull string whereas a throat damper will have you reaching around the soot and ash to find.
But, of course, there are more practical reasons as well!
The main reason is that a top mount damper simply does a better job keeping out debris, animals, and cold weather from your home than it’s throat damping counterpart. Because a top mount damper is set from above, it stops any unwanted intruders (including insects) from entering your chimney straight from the source. In that way, it not only acts as a throat damper but a chimney cap as well—kind of a “two-for-one” type deal. In the same way that you could open the top of a convertible for sunny days or shut it to keep the rain out, top mount dampers allow you to keep your home warm and your chimney debris and animal-free!
Should I install a top mount damper?
A lot of homeowners decide to install a top mount damper when their throat damper is beyond repair because it’s a better, more affordable fix. The other time a top mount damper makes sense to install is if you’re thinking about replacing your chimney cap. Again, top-mount dampers function as both throat damper and chimney cap, add value to your home, and are great for maintaining the health of your chimney, so it’s hard to see any downside to having a top mount damper installed.
If you’re located in Central Indianapolis, feel free to contact Chimney & Masonry Outfitters today to schedule your appointment and learn more about having a top mount damper installed in your home!