381-8 Old Riverhead Road

Westhampton Beach, NY

Tel. 631-998-0780

Hours: Tues. - Fri. 9am to 5pm / Sat. 10am to 2pm / Sun. - Mon. Closed

When and how to open and close your damper


While we have no doubt that your fireplace and chimney are well-maintained and inspected regularly, all the various parts can still be confusing to the homeowner. There is so much that isn’t seen from the exterior, and it is hard to remember that there is a lot more going on inside your stove and fireplace. The damper is one of the most essential parts of the fireplace, and is the most important for ventilation, saving you time and money in the long-term.

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What is a damper?

Anyone who has ever lit a fire with good intentions and ended up with a smoke-filled house has quickly realized the importance of a damper. A damper is a metal or ceramic flap that controls the passing of various gases in and out of your home. They are found in fireplaces with both wood and gas fires because both emit gas. A manual control by some sort of handle, latch, or chain moves the flap located in the chimney. A very simple device, yet necessary to keep in top working order.

How to open and close a damper:

The handle, lever, or chain, is usually located in the firebox. To open or close it, move or pull the device into the open position. If you are unsure of the position, it will be clear after a fire is lit. Use a pair of pliers or an oven mitt if it’s hot to the touch to change the position. The damper is imperative in keeping your house well ventilated when a fire is lit in your fireplace or stove, and should remain completely open until the initial smoke subsides. Once the fire is established, the damper can then be adjusted to control its intensity. When the fire begins to die down, slowly close the damper as the smoke subsides, only closing it fully when there is no longer any flame or visible smoke. By keeping it completely closed when the chimney isn’t in use, it also saves you money by keeping cold air from coming into your warm house. The best benefit of a damper is that you control the airflow, not Mother Nature.

As always, we emphasize the importance of keeping your chimney professionally swept and inspected. During our exams we check to see that your damper is in working order, but knowing how to work your damper will come in handy on these cool nights! Keeping your fireplace clear of ash and soot will also allow the damper to do its job more effectively, and will save you money in the long run. For other questions give Beach Stove and Fireplace a call at 631-998-0780 and we will answer any confusion you may have about the mysterious chimney.

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Our Location

Beach Stove and Fireplace is located on Old Riverhead Road between Montauk Highway and Sunrise Highway. From Sunrise Highway take exit 63 south, travel 1.2 miles and turn right at the 381 complex (just north of Gabreski Airport)