381-8 Old Riverhead Road

Westhampton Beach, NY

Tel. 631-998-0780

Hours: Tues. - Thur. 9am to 3pm / Fri. 9am to 12pm (or by appt.) / Sat. - Mon. Closed

Our Company Blog

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.


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.

By Julie Dismore on September 23rd, 2015 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , , | Comments Off on When and how to open and close your damper

Why Does My Fireplace Stink?


Chimney Odors

Ideally, a fireplace only has positive effects on your senses: cozy warmth, twinkling light, a gentle crackle. Chimney issues, however, can give your senses an unwanted surprise: musky, acrid odors that tamp down the enjoyment of that fireplace, and with it, your whole home. A healthy chimney won’t be a malodorous one, so if you’re noticing bad odors, it’s likely indicating a problem that needs correcting.Why Does My Fireplace Stink - Westhampton Beach NY - Beach Stove and Fireplace

Common Causes Of Chimney Odors

A good start toward avoiding chimney odor: annual chimney sweeping. A regularly swept chimney is a cleaner chimney, and when there’s less creosote and less debris, odors are less likely. But every chimney is different, and your chimney professionals can help root out the cause of your specific chimney odors. Here are some common culprits that chimney professionals find:

Moisture issues

Encroaching water does a number on chimneys and fireplaces in many different ways — it can erode your masonry, corrode your damper, seep into your ceilings and walls and create a stinky, mildewy chimney. If you’re noticing a musty odor, a professional chimney technician can help figure out whether you have a chimney leak with a chimney inspection. You might have chimney flashing damage or a missing chimney cap, or old and damaged masonry might be allowing too much water to be absorbed. If damage is found, your chimney professionals can help with repairs or replacement parts. To protect the masonry itself — and prevent the water intrusion that can lead to odors — you might want to have a waterproofing sealant applied. Sealants that are specifically designed for chimney masonry keep water from seeping through the masonry, but still allow vapors to escape.

Excess air coming down the chimney

Burning wood creates creosote, a combustible deposit that has a strong odor. And even a properly and regularly swept chimney will have some creosote residue that’s been absorbed into the masonry. In a chimney that’s drafting properly, air is pulled up and out, the creosote odors with it. But if air is being pulled down the chimney because of a wind-related downdraft or negative air pressure, that air and those odors are directed right into your home. Depending on what’s causing air to flow down your chimney, technicians can recommend several different solutions, including installing a top-sealing damper that tightly closes off the top of the flue, or adding a glass fire screen that keeps chimney air contained.


A flue that isn’t topped with a chimney cap can allow animals to nest, roost or fall into the chimney. Even if they just nest and leave, they’ll bring along debris, unwanted odors and bugs, and likely build a nest that blocks the flue. Even worse, young animals that fall into your chimney can get stuck and die. Some animals can be removed from your chimney; others, like federally protected chimney swifts, can’t be — you’ll have to wait for them to migrate. If you hear or smell animals in your chimney, chimney professionals can help clean up the damage they’ve done, and install a chimney cap that will keep unwanted visitors out in the future.

Trust your senses: If you’re noticing a bad smell coming from your chimney, it’s very likely a symptom of a problem that needs addressing. Call your chimney professionals — they can help take care of the symptoms and clear up the cause.

By Julie Dismore on July 31st, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on Why Does My Fireplace Stink?

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)