How Much Does a Fireplace Damper Cost?
The fireplace damper is a cast-iron or steel door that will open and close at the base of the fireplace. To put it in simple terms, picture it as the door to the chimney. Keeping a fireplace damper open allows the smoke to exit the home through the chimney; closing it would cause the smoke to fill the house instead. Keeping the damper open when there is no fire, however, can cause warm air to be wasted by escaping through the chimney. A fireplace’s damper should be closed when there is no fire but open when there is a fire. Over time, the damper may not open properly or can become stuck if it gets rusty when rain seeps through. If a homeowner fails to take care of the damper, the draft and heat from a fire will be lost.
How much is it?
- On average, the cost of repairing a fireplace damper is going to depend on how it is installed in the fireplace. While most dampers sit on top of the smoke chamber, some may have cement on top of them. The cost will also depend on whether the fireplace is an insert or a true brick fireplace. A chimney top damper, which sits on top of the chimney can cost $150 to $500, depending on the size and features. A throat damper, which is an inflatable seal to replace the original damper, can cost $40 to $110. For instance, the pillow plug retails for $40 to $60.
- When you add in the professional labor for a damper, the costs can tack on an additional $200 to $300, bringing the total to $350 to $800. Since all jobs are unique, consider getting a quote from multiple contractors at HomeAdvisor.com.
- Northlineexpress.com, an online fireplace retailer, sells a handful of fireplace dampers that range from $80 to $500.
- According to Home-Style-Choices.com, they state that a throat damper can cost $40 to $100, while a top damper can cost $150 to several hundred.
What is going to be included?
- Traditional fireplaces will have a damper just above the “firebox,” known as the throat damper. Usually, this damper is going to be made from iron or steel with a plate that opens by pushing a handle. This damper is designed to help draw the warm air up and out the chimney, preventing the heat from escaping. These are usually aftermarket dampers that “plug” the chimney. Acting like a balloon, it will inflate and deflate when pulling the handle. These type of devices are relatively easy to install.
- Another type of damper is a top-sealing damper. This damper is installed on the top of a chimney and has a gasket that helps keep the warm air in and cold air out. The stainless-steel cable will connect to a handle in the fireplace to easily open and close it.
What are the extra costs?
- When installing a fireplace damper, the contractor may notice something else that needs to be repaired, replaced, or cleaned. Make sure that you prepare for these extra costs to keep your fireplace in good condition.
Tips to know:
- If you plan on getting a chimney sweep in the future, consider getting the repair done then. Many have claimed that they were able to get the problem resolved without having to pay extra. Most of the time, it will require a slight adjustment and no parts will be needed.
- To replace a damper, clean out the fireplace of all debris. Once the fireplace has been cleaned, locate the damper with a flashlight and remove the metal rod which is fixed to the damper. It will usually be attached with four nuts that can be removed with a wrench. When choosing a replacement, always make sure that the damper is the same size. Bring the damper with you to the local hardware store so that you are certain the match will be exact.
- Before purchasing one, know what your intentions are. If you do not want the heat to escape, consider an inflatable seal. However, if you want to prevent pests and damage in the future, it may be ideal to buy the entire flue.
How can I save money?
- Try doing the job on your own before hiring a professional. The job is not that hard to do and can take less than an hour. If you are on a strict budget and know the damper is going bad, consider getting a temporary inflatable damper.
- If you are unsure what you are doing, get a professional opinion. Many companies are more than happy to come out to offer an estimate. If the damper does not need to be replaced, it may need a simple cleaning or tune up, which can save you hundreds.
- Regular cleaning and maintenance of the fireplace damper can prevent repairs. Clean out the damper each time you clean all the ashes and debris from the fireplace.