A Top Mount Damper
Are you smelling or seeing smoke in your home, days or even weeks and months after using your chimney? If your answer is yes, it may be the result of several weather-related factors.
It’s important for you to know that the presence of a smoky smell is not the end of the world. However, you will of course want to reduce and prevent it, and our team can help.
The Undeniable Impact of Weather on Your Down Draft
First, let’s get to the root of the issue. Once you notice the smell, reflect on the weather that week. Has it been rainy or humid? What about high levels of wind? If so, the downdraft of air within your chimney is likely the culprit.
Humidity: A downdraft happens on humid days because water particles in the air outside make it denser than the air inside your home. It may be hot or cold outside - the temperature is not the factor. Rather, it is about the air density. You may not have used your fireplace since March, but when a humid day in July arrives, you’ll begin to smell smoke for this reason.
Wind: When it is a windy day outside, it also can push the air down through the chimney. This is particularly likely to happen if you lack a gasket to fully seal off airflow to the outdoors.
Our Concern: Aromatic Hydrocarbon
If you’d like to understand the science behind it, essentially air goes through your chimney and picks up aromatic hydrocarbon in the process. As oxygen flows, it is interacting with the creosote, the byproduct of having burned wood within your fireplace. Air is then leaking through the iron damper near the opening of your fireplace. This is what is causing the smell.
Keep in mind that you will want to avoid extensive exposure to this, particularly while cleaning your appliance. This is why our team utilizes professional safety equipment during regular inspections, cleanings, and repairs.
The Upsides of a Top Mount Damper
Your solution to this lingering and unexpected smell of smokiness is a top mount damper. Unlike cast-iron options, a top mount damper has a gasket that seals. In turn, it doesn’t leak, and air won’t be able to find its way through. Essentially, a top mount damper stops air at the top of your chimney at the source rather than letting it fill up. This prevents air from getting smelly in the first place.
Next time your nose tingles at the sense of smoke in the same room as your fireplace, recognize that perhaps you should consider investing in a new damper.
Here’s an example of a top mount damper, for your reference:
Note: Besides the huge perk of a sealing gasket, we don’t recommend cast- iron dampers because they aren’t energy efficient. They allow hot air to move upwards and leave your house. They’re also a bit rickety and should be replaced in general.