Fireplace Damper Repair

Your Trusted Fireplace Damper Specialist Since 1987

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Common Fireplace Damper Problems

1. Flue Damper Off Track

Flue dampers can come out of their track causing homeowners difficulty in being able to open or close the flue. Throat damper design only works if the plate stays in open hinge slot. 

2. Cold Air Fireplace Drafts

Many cold air fireplace complaints revolve around damper problems. They are also a common cause for higher heating costs.

3. The Damper was Incorrectly Operated

An incorrectly operated damper will sometimes jump out of its hinge resulting in a cold fireplace. Because fireplace repair often requires specialized tools, casual users are often unable to return the damper to its correct position.

4. Damper Doesn’t Close Completely

Another common issue to a fireplace damper is the inability to close air-tight, which is critical for consumers wanting an energy efficient home.

Since Vestal damper parts are located directly over the flame of the fireplace, “gasketing” the door to its frame isn’t practical. Consequently, the door and frame will warp from just a few fires. Which results in a very leaky fireplace damper, and air loss from the home.

5. Damper Fails to Open

If the damper for a wood stove fails to open when starting a fire in our firebox, getting our stove going will be difficult (not to mention a smokey mess). For this reason a yearly chimney sweep and inspection is necessary.

6. Broken Dampers Need Fixing or Replacement

Broken fireplace dampers may result in smoke being held indoors, cold air drafts coming in or warm air getting out. Due to the loss of homes indoor air broken dampers are a common cause for higher home heating/cooling costs. 

Trust Your Local Fireplace Experts

Full Service Chimney sweeps have repaired dampers in fireplaces across the Kansas City Metro for over three decades!

Allow us to help you solve your damper problems.

Fireplace with working damper operates properly
How to Open or Close Damper to Stop Fireplace Drafts

Throat Dampers vs. Chimney Flues

A fireplace throat damper, often called a chimney damper is the door between the fireplace firebox and the chimney flue. The passageway to the open air (outdoors) is the chimney flue.

So when you want to use your fireplace and have a fire, the damper door needs to be open. Keeping the damper door open allows the smoke and fumes to leave your home and exhaust via the chimney flue to the outside.

When the fire is out and the coals are cool, the damper can be closed, this will stop household air (heating/cooling) from leaving a home through the fireplace and chimney.

How to Tell if a Damper is Open or Closed?

A Chimney dampers controls are located in the fireplace firebox. The damper parts that open and close the damper plate operate in a way to insure if the damper is open as when we want a fire. It should not accidentally close. Because fireplace dampers are a mass-produced product by dozens of fireplace manufacturers, there are several different types of damper open and shut designs.

The only way to know if a damper is open or closed is to view it from inside the fireplace firebox. It is worth the trouble to poke your head in the fireplace and look up (of course, with no fire burning), because it is a “bad thing” to light a fire when we hope the damper is open, when it is really closed.

Different Types

Fireplace throat dampers (frequent among masonry chimneys) are commonly made of cast iron due to its tolerance of high temperatures.

Vestal is one of the types of fireplace dampers most commonly used in our local Kansas City area. These are the (fishbone) “poker” types of chimney damper handle (the control). The most common problem encountered by homeowners of flue dampers is difficulties arising from coming out of their track. The fireplace throat dampers design only works if the plate stays in its open hinge slot. It does this only with gravity to keep it there.

In the event the damper is operated incorrectly, it will jump out of its hinge, often resulting in a cold fireplace. Once this happens, the casual user is often poorly equipped to return it to the correct position, and may require assistance from a chimney professional.


Do All Fireplaces Have a Damper?

Both prefabricated fireplaces and masonry chimneys have flue damper systems. Prefabricated chimneys and fireplaces have a built-in rotary damper plate, not unlike a choke mechanism on a lawnmower gas engine. With the exception of gas fireplaces, most fireplace chimneys have a functioning chimney damper.


What Does a Damper Do in a Wood Stove?

Flue dampers for wood-burning stoves are necessary for the air controls to limit the intensity of burning. Faulty flue dampers for wood-burning stoves can be a safety hazard. If too much air is allowed to the firebox, an unsafe temperature could result.

Also if the damper for a wood stove fails to open when starting a fire in our firebox, getting our stove going will be difficult (not to mention a smokey mess). For this reason a yearly chimney sweep and inspection is necessary (another reason is dangerous creosote build-up).

Keeping your home and hearth safe, warm and dry isn’t rocket science… It’s chimney science!

Top Dampers are a Great Choice

Chimney Damper Caps have even more advantages over fireplace throat dampers. The distance from the fireplace grate allows gasketing material between the door and the frame without the risk of being destroyed by the intense flames. A fireplace/chimney with a top-sealing chimney damper installed will often be warmer, making it easer to start fires and limits cold air fireplace problems.

Another benefit to the chimney top dampers is the ease of the damper handle to operate. The damper parts that open and close, are on the side of the fireplace firebox. So you can tell if your damper is open or closed without sticking your head in the fireplace. Call 913-642-6171 today for assistance.

What Our Customers Say

It was an excellent experience with craftsmen doing repairs or installation on our house. They deserve my highest and most enthusiastic recommendation. Hunter and his crew ( and Joseph on an earlier visit) were professional and pleasant. Hunter and Joseph were cheerful and engaging. They explained the work in detail. They cleaned up after themselves. I can't help but think the owners were hiring and training gentlemen.


Arrived on time and completed the job as promised. Both friendly and professional, answered all the questions I had after the installation was complete. Very happy with the fireplace gas insert that was installed!


We have used them for many years. They are friendly courteous, and take pride in their work. I would definitely recommend them.


Scheduled one day, got in the next due to a cancellation. Very honest group, with no pressure or upselling! Our chimney didn't need to be cleaned, so we were only charged for the inspection. Looking forward to using them again!


Apologies as this post is long overdue, but I wanted to say thank you to Sam and Full Service Chimney for your discovery and recommendation on 11/12. What began as a chimney inspection, cleaning, and fix recommendation for our gas powered fireplace turned into a life-saving appointment for me and my family. Unbeknownst to us, carbon monoxide had been pouring into our home for some time through a hidden but corroded hole in the furnace piping. This explained the couple weeks of headaches we had all been experiencing. Sam alerted me to this situation immediately, turning off the furnace and quickly working up some options on how to best proceed. Within 24 hours both the furnace, water heater and piping were replaced, basically saving our lives. We are still digesting this factoid but wanted to attempt to express in words our gratitude for your quick actions and recommendations. I dont want to dwell on what the alternative would have been had I not scheduled with you guys before it got colder forcing the furnace to run for longer periods. I look forward to enlisting your company again to enact your repair recommendations on the chimney. I would recommend your company to anyone who asks and is in need of chimney service. Lesson learned? Be diligent and proactive with these checks before the winter season kicks into high gear to ensure your family's safety. You never know what might be found. Until our paths cross again, our sincerest thanks and I wish Sam, his family, and Full Service Chimney a Merry Christmas, and wonderful holiday season...especially for ensuring my family had one. Matthew


Your Kansas City Fireplace Damper Repair Professionals

Full Service Chimney sweeps have repaired and replaced tens of thousands of fireplaces and their dampers in the Kansas City area. We can help you too!

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