I'm in a home with a fireplace for the first time and I noticed that
the flue lever has notches cut into it that would allow it to be
partially open. It would seem to me that a flue should always be
completely open when the fireplace is in use and completely closed
when it is not, but it would appear there is something I'm missing.
I've seen this on other flue levers as well. Is there a better way to
use a flue when operating a fireplace?
It probably depends on whether the fireplace has
glass doors. If yes, the experienced user may be
able to fine-tune the rate of burning by adjusting
the door dampers (allowing oxygen in to the fire)
and the flue damper (allowing smoke and hot air
up the chimney.) Without doors, probably no one
can thus adjust the rate of a fire's burning.
(stove user, for heat, nor decoration)
Thank you TH and Don for your answers. I just want to post one more
that was emailed to me from Robert which agree with yours. His answer
was pretty detailed and is probably very good advice.
* ** ** ** *
When you first start a fire in the FP, you will need to have the flue
open all the way. Once the chimney and flue have heated up and
convection begins to take over, you can close down the damper as much
possible. Keep closing it more and more until it begins to allow
into the room, then open it back up just a bit.
A fireplace is a really bad way to heat a room due to the fact that a
tremendous amount of air is drawn out through the flue and this
a negative pressure in the house. This draws in cold air from outside
wherever it can get in. Therefore, closing the damper down, limits
amount of air drawn out and conversely the amount drawn in.
In addition, it helps to have doors on the fireplace that you can
This further limits the air drawn out.
In addition to the airflow drawing in cold air, the rapid flow of air
over the wood acts like a bellows and causes the wood to burn even
faster. So you use more wood and stay colder, unless you close down
NOTE: Badly designed fireplaces may HAVE to have the damper open
completely or they will smoke up the house. You will have to
whether you have a good one or not and whether or not you can close
Good answers all of them. I'll add one thing you probably thought of but no
one pointed out. Once the fire is going, the flue handle is burning hot. I
had an old 'adjuster tool' to adjust mine but the renters disappeared it.
It was sort of like a walking cane with an almost flat but slightly u shaped
(upwards u) 'handle'. This let me scale the flue back and forth as needed a
For now, we build to the back of the fireplace, and are at 3/4 'throttle'
which is perfect for our draft.
Be sure to have it professionally cleaned annually if you are going to
actually use it. It's also cheaper to have it cleaned in late spring or
summer with a regular annual contract. Also be sure the chimney cap is the
kind that bolts on. The cheaper ones that stay on by mere 'tension' dont
work very well if your area is windy at all. Me, we get hurricanes here.
Renters let one blow off and left it off all summer. Short version: 1725$
worth of water damage and we were lucky to get back before the first freeze
or it would have been *much* worse.
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