Damper clamps are very inexpensive and are easily installed. Most hardware stores, home improvement centers and fireplace shops carry damper clamps.
Damper Clamps are for Safety
Fireplaces that have gas log sets or gas log lighters are now days normally required to have a damper clamp installed. The reason for this is that if the damper is closed and there is a gas leak, then the gas may not be able to travel up the flu and end up spreading into the room where the fireplaces is. Once this gas comes in contact with an ignition source, then a fire or explosion may occur.
Also, under some circumstances, having a properly installed damper clamp will prevent carbon monoxide from a pilot light or other sources, from exiting into the room where the fireplace is located; carbon monoxide is a poisonous and odorless gas.
Remember that some fireplaces can be lit by simply flipping a switch on a wall. Should a child flip the switch and the damper was not properly open, then the room might start to fill up with smoke and carbon monoxide.
Fireplace manufactures recommendation for installation
Checking a fireplace manufactures recommendations on their installation requirements is wise; also consulting a fireplace contractor or professional chimney sweep can provide information for site built fireplaces. Often it is recommended to install the damper clamp so that the damper is in a full open position, however, home owners are often concerned that a fully open damper will allow excessive cold air to enter the fireplace when the fireplace is not in use. Therefore, many home owners and some professionals will install the clamp so that there is only a small gap, not a fully open damper.
Keep The Damper Fully Open When You’re Burning a Fire
Remember that when using the fireplace that it is important to have the damper in a full open position, otherwise the fireplace will not draft properly and you may get smoke rolling out of the front of the fireplace and staining the wall and ceiling areas with smoke stains.
If there is smoke on the face or front of the fireplace, check these 3 things
Naturally check to see if the damper is closed and that it is operating properly; and if it is OK then there are several other things that you should check next. Check for obstructions in the chimney, burping and negative air pressure. (Read more on checking these)
Rectangular and circle shape dampers
Note that there are basically two types of damper shapes, one, is a round one (or square shape) found in manufactures fireplaces, and the other is a rectangular metal blade, found in site built brick, stone /masonry fireplaces. The clamps work easily on both types.
Where is the Damper?
The damper can be found at the top inside area of the fireplace box. Just get down on your knees and look up inside the front of the fire box. Wear safety glasses and make sure there is no fire burning ☺.
Who Can Add a Damper Clamp?
Home owners will often add a damper themselves. Fireplace companies, as well as some chimney sweeps and handymen will also do this type of work, however, it is generally the homeowner or buyer who does the work. Normally it can be done in less than five minutes.