Do I need a damper clamp?

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Damper clamps, also known as damper locks, are little pieces of hardware like the image above. These small pieces serve a very important purpose: they protect your family from carbon monoxide poisoning.

The damper is the part of the chimney that can open and close. The damper helps to control the draft in a flue. A closed damper keeps cold air out of your cozy home. However, in a gas fireplace, that damper has to stay open. Damper clamps keep the chimney’s damper from closing, allowing dangerous gases to escape the firebox in the case of a gas leak. This piece is imperative to home safety.

It is very common for home inspectors to call out missing damper clamps in real estate transactions. Sometimes a home inspector will call out this piece as missing, but it is not actually necessary. If the fireplace is not plumbed for gas, there is not a risk of a gas leak. Therefore, the damper can be fully opened or closed and a damper clamp isn’t necessary.

If you are experiencing drafty weather through your fireplace, you might be looking for a way around this open damper rule. Typically, your best option is to install some glass doors. This keeps most of the cool air inside your firebox and still allows the damper to remain open. However, be warned, this isn’t always a viable option. These sorts of doors are only available in pre-fab fireplaces if the manufacturer has tested and approved doors as a part of their system. These pre-fab fireplaces are UL listed and require only manufacturer-approved parts.

This sort of installation is very quick, but it can be done wrong. The clamp should keep the damper fully open. If you are unsure about the installation, we definitely suggest hiring a certified chimney sweep to install your damper clamp. Your family’s well-being will be worth the service appointment.

Emily Martinez