How to Use a Damper on a Wood Stove

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A damper on a wood stove is either mounted in the chimney or in the stove itself, and it is used to block off the air flow going out. Put a damper in an open position when starting a fire in a wood stove with help from a certified home inspector in this free video on home carpentry.

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Video Transcript

Hello my name is Mark Blocker and in this segment we are going to cover how to operate a damper on a wood stove. What the damper is on a wood stove it is a device that is either mounted in the chimney just above the stove or in the stove itself and it blocks off the air flow going out so we can regulate how much heat is lost. With the damper in a wide open position or no restriction to air flow, as the fire starts to burn you are going to have a lot of heat loss going up your chimney. All we want to do is let the smoke out and keep the heat in and that's the purpose of a damper. Any time that you go to operate a damper like if you are going to start a fire or add wood to a fire you are going to want to make sure the damper is in an open position and that is told by the vertical position of the handle. I've got it open right now and I'm going to add a couple pieces of wood. The reason you want to do this is you want to make sure you have no restriction. If you open the fire door and you have a restriction in the damper or in the ventilation system it is going to cause smoke to come out as you open the door so we want to move the restriction, open it up before we attempt to light a fire or add wood. Once you have got a fire lit or a good burning fire going and you have got good air flow movement going through what you want to do is regulate this damper down so it slows down the smoke coming out so we just have it open enough to let the smoke out and not lose our heat and about 3/4 position is about normal, maybe a little bit more if you have got a lower burning fire or a lot of coal, a little bit less if it is just a freshly lighted fire. What the damper is is a way to restrict the heat loss through the chimney, that's what a damper is.

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