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How To Open A Flue In A Fireplace

How To Open A Flue In A Fireplace

In addition to improving the health and safety of those residing in your house, a well maintained fireplace can significantly lower energy costs. You’ll need to know how to open the fireplace flue before you can start a fire.

A knob, lever, chain, or hook control is often present on a fireplace flue that has a damper fitted. By kind of damper, these are various techniques for opening a flue:

  • Right-turn a damper control knob
  • A fireplace’s internal lever needs to be pulled out.
  • Release a hook-mounted chain control.

Although these are some typical methods for opening a flue, not all dampers are created equal. We’ll talk about how to use various dampers and whether the damper and the flue are the same thing.

Are Damper And Flue The Same Thing?

How To Open A Flue In A Fireplace

The portion of the chimney that extends upward toward the sky from the fireplace or firebox is known as the flue. The damper is positioned inside the flue, typically close to the top of the chimney opening or at the bottom of the throat. It could also be a cap covering the chimney.

Its controls are on the exterior or just inside the fireplace mouth, and it is built of metal or another fire-resistant material. The damper is a device that resembles a vent or a cap and is used to regulate the airflow in the home’s flue from the outside to the inside.

Can A Chimney Flue Exist Without A Damper?

Your chimney might not have a damper if it is an older model open fireplace. There might not be a damper if there are no controls outside the fireplace or if you can’t discover any controls right inside the mouth.

If you peek into the chimney from the bottom, you may also determine if you have a damper. It is simple to see a throat damper or bottom damper. If a chimney cap or higher damper is open, it may be noticeable from the outside.

What Signals An Open Or Closed Damper?

There are a few ways to determine whether the chimney flue damper is open. Checking to see if there is a draft is one method. Put your hand inside the mouth of the inactive chimney during cooler months. Your damper might be open if there is a draft.

You might also determine whether the damper is open by looking at the control settings. There are several different controls. Here’s how to make sure some of the most typical ones are open. The damper settings should not be played with after starting a fire or while it is blazing.

Right-Turn A Knob On The Damper Control
A cast-iron or metal knob damper control typically protrudes from the outside of the fireplace. They can be pulled, pulled, or turned from right to left and are sometimes referred to as poker dampers.

When turned to the right, knob dampers are normally in the open position. Pushing the damper will open it if the knob is one that you pull or push.

You Should Raise The Fireplace’s Lever
Some fireplaces include a lever that is located right at the firebox’s opening. The end of this lever may be shaped like a circle or in any other way. This sort of damper handle is raised to the open position. Some levers have a left to right movement. Typically, dampers are opened by moving the lever to the right.

Disengage The Hook Of A Hanging Chain Control
A chain or levy-style control is used to operate top dampers that are situated towards the top of the chimney or on the exterior. When released or pushed in, these dampers are in the open position. Pull the chain tightly or in your direction to close.

What Do The Fireplace’s Two Levers Do?

How To Open A Flue In A Fireplace

Your fireplace may have two levers if it has an air vent. One will operate the interior damper, while the other connects to the vent. On the left side of your fireplace, there might be a vent lever. For the vent to open, this lever needs to be in the upward position. The exterior air kit is another name for this.

When Should The Flue Be Shut Off?

When you are not using your fireplace, the damper in the flue should be in the closed position. In both cooler and warmer months, open fireplaces can result in greater energy costs. Without a fire, an open flue is equivalent to a roof hole.

In The Summer, Should Damper Be Open Or Closed?

It’s possible that some homeowners were instructed to leave the damper open throughout the summer to encourage hot air to escape the house. Many specialists claim that this is a widespread yet incorrect assumption. It’s crucial to keep the damper closed during the heat.

Airflow and temperature transfer are managed by dampers. When the damper is open, the smoke and fire-related debris can rise and leave your house. Your home is shielded from pests, leaves, and other debris by a closed damper.

How Long After A Fire Should The Flue Remain Open?

The dampers should never be closed while the embers are still burning. It is okay to close the flue once the ember bed has gone entirely cold or into complete dormancy. The damper control could still be warm to the touch even after the fire has been put out. Within hours after a fire, take caution and gloves or another instrument to operate the damper.

On A Gas Fireplace, Should The Flue Be Open Or Closed?

In the summer, a gas fireplace is used in a different way. Many fireplaces have an ever-burning pilot light.

In this situation, don’t ever shut your flue. Turn off the gas leading to the fireplace before closing the damper on a gas-powered fireplace.

What To Do If The Chimney Flue Won’t Open?

How To Open A Flue In A Fireplace

Make sure they are still connected if the controls on your chimney damper aren’t operating. You might be able to visually check that the parts are still attached to the main draw of the damper in the majority of fireplaces. If you believe you require an interior repair or replacement, speak with a professional.

Rust can be the cause if the damper control is stuck in one place. A high-temperature lubricant could be used to lubricate the hinges. If the area where you wish to apply the lubricant is close to the fire, seek safety advice from an expert or the lubricant manufacturer.

According to WD-40, you can use their lubricant to keep dampers in good condition. High temperatures don’t affect the performance of this Spray and Stay Gel lubricant.

Debris could also be to blame for a damper that isn’t working properly. Always check the damper and controls for foreign objects before lighting a fire. The damper and flue can both experience major issues as a result of soot buildup. Frequently use a chimney cleaning of expert grade to remove creosote accumulation.


Keep your fireplace flue in good shape now that you know how to open it and when it’s better to leave it closed. You can securely use your fireplace for many years to come by doing routine maintenance on this frequently ignored component of your chimney.

How To Open A Flue In A Fireplace

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Written by HVAC Contributor

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