Top Mount vs. Throat Dampers
Think of the functions of a top mount and throat damper in the one-sentence melodramatic scenes that follow. Forget to open the chimney damper as you light a fire one time, and you are not likely to forget again—smoke billows into the home. Once a fire dies, forget to close the damper and evidence shows up in a higher heating bill and possible creatures as house guests. A less theatrical comparison of top mount vs throat dampers follows.
What is a Throat Damper?
Most people are familiar with throat dampers because masonry chimneys are virtually always built with one of these. Throat dampers are located at the base of the chimney and just above the firebox. It is easy to determine whether a throat damper is open or closed because it is easily accessible. Simply look up through the opening above the fireplace.
A throat damper is one or two metal plates that seal off or close the chimney to prevent airflow in either direction. They are opened and closed in various fashions but in all cases, the mechanism for operating the damper is also accessible above the fireplace.
If the damper has warped or simply aged so that air can freely pass from the home to the chimney and vice versa even when the damper is closed, repair or replacement is needed. Replacing or repairing a throat damper can be difficult and costly. When a throat damper is no longer working properly, many chimney sweep companies recommend top-mount dampers, though both types can be expensive.
What is a Top Mount Damper?
A top mount damper is positioned at the top of your chimney and replaces the need for a chimney cap. A steel cable is run down the length of the chimney so that the top mount damper is easily opened and closed by positioning the cable in the lock-down or open mode.
Top mount dampers are very energy efficient. They have a silicone rubber gasket that creates an airtight seal. A top mount damper protects chimneys from rain, sleet, and snow as well as animals, birds, and debris from trees.
Top Mount vs. Throat Dampers
If you need to choose between top mount vs. throat dampers for your home, how do you decide? Experts say that you will save money on energy and maintenance costs if you choose a top mount damper. This is a relevant argument because throat dampers often fail the “airtight” test, which means you are paying more than necessary for home heating.
To test whether your throat damper is airtight, light a match and hold it up toward the opening to the chimney. Then blow out the match and if the smoke goes up instead of into your home, you know that air is getting past the throat damper. Switching to a top mount damper ensures that your chimney is airtight–Just don’t forget to close the damper!
Contact Dubuque Fireplace & Patio Today
Are you currently pondering the question of the top mount vs. throat dampers? Contact the NFI-Certified chimney experts at Dubuque Fireplace & Patio. Our qualified chimney sweeps provide reliable advice and chimney services, from chimney inspections, masonry repair, and chimney cleaning to throat damper and top mount damper installation and repair. Call us today at (563) 582-5156!