Now that it is fall and the weather is turning colder, it is time to make sure that the damper is functioning properly in your fireplace. Through years of usage, the damper lid can warp or become damaged. If this is how your damper lid looks or is, you will need to replace this part of the flue. The damper is that metal thing in the chimney. If it is not working properly then it allows the cold outside air to come down the chimney into your house. but this is not all. It also lets your warm air to escape out the chimney. Over time, the dampers can warp and they need replacing. You don’t need to hire a professional to come in and replace the damper lid for you. This is a job that you can easily do on your own.
Preparing to Remove the Damper
If it is winter and you just used the fireplace, you will need to wait until it cools down. All right, think of an oven. You wouldn’t reach inside right after you turned the fire off, would you? Of course not, because it would burn you severely. You would wait until the oven cooled and you could reach in safely without burning yourself. The fireplace is the same. Wait until the logs are no longer burning or smoldering and the inside of the fireplace is cool to the touch. If you don’t, you run the risk of burning yourself.
When the fireplace is almost cool, it is a good idea to begin preparations. You should put down a large piece of plastic or a tarp in front of the fireplace to keep the mess down to a minimum. Do this before you begin to cleaning the fireplace. Chimneys are messy with soot and ashes. You don’t want to track that through your house.
Clearing Out the Fireplace, Find the Damper
Put on your leather work gloves. Remove the charred pieces of wood and throw these into a metal trash can. Now, it is time to remove the grate and set it aside.
Get inside the fireplace and take a flashlight or trouble light along. You will need to light up the chimney, so you can find the damper. Once you are inside, look up and you will find that the damper. It should be located only a foot or two above the fireplace opening. It is important to have sufficient light to see what you are doing.
As you look in that area, find the bolts that are holding the damper in place. You will need to remove those bolts with an adjustable wrench. Turn the bolts counterclockwise to remove them. Put the bolts in your pocket or a small container. Don’t loose the bolts because you will need to replace them when you install the new damper lid.
When you have the bolts removed, reach up and turn the damper lid sideways in the flue. This will allow you to remove it from the rod that holds it in place.
Installing the New Damper
Before installing the new damper lid, check it against the old one. You need to make sure that they are the same size or replacing the damper lid will do you no good. If you haven’t bought a new damper lid yet, simply take the old one to the store with you to buy a new one. You can find damper lids at most hardware stores or home improvement stores. I live in a rural area, so I would try the lumber yards, Menards, Ace Hardware, Runnings or Bombgaars. By taking the damper lid to the store with you, will help you to find the right size that will fit in the flue.
Now you are ready to install the new damper lid. So get back into the fireplace and turn the trouble light on. You will need to turn the damper lid sideways to place it back on the rod. Fit the damper lid in place. Now find the four bolts that you removed earlier and reinstall them in place.
Put the grate back into the fireplace. You can even put some wood on it. Now fold up the piece of plastic that you had protecting the floor. All you have to do now is light the fire, settle in your favorite chair and enjoy the warmth and ambiance.