Dampers controlled the rate of combustion in all kinds of stoves and
fireplaces. Without them a good many homes would have burned down. If
all the fireplaces in North America were closed off or removed we
could save one pile of money on energy. The wasted heat from
fireplaces is totally unnecessary.
re: "It can also be used to slow down a fire, perhaps?"
I had a friend that moved into an renovated farmhouse. It had a great
room that was both the living room and dining room, separated by
furniture. There was a huge fireplace in the living room area and a
coal burning stove in the dining room.
They had been using the coal burning stove for a few weeks (topping it
off 3 times a day) and had used the fireplace for small fires on
One wintry evening they threw a party and built a huge fire in the
fireplace, leaving the glass doors open for effect.
The house kept getting colder and colder so the husband went to check
the coal stove. The temperature was down and the coal was almost out.
Curious as to what was going on, he opened the door on the stove,
coating himself and most of the dining room area with coal dust.
Turns out the fireplace was pulling air down the coal stove chimney
and putting the coal out. Once he opened the door, the rush of air
spewed coal dust everywhere.
What a mess!
Years ago, I was helping my boss install a furnace. Of course, it was
cold. So, the folks lit a fire in the fireplace. The make up air came
donwn the furnace chimney, which was drawing pure fireplace smoke. The
bitter acrid smoke was really killing me. I ended up wrapping a
shopping bag over the end of the flue, and some duct tape. And then go
open a cellar window to let some make-up air in.
No, dampers are not universal. My Heat N Glo Northstar doesn't have one.
It's airtight and fire is controlled by air in, not restricting smoke
I thought it was strange when it was installed a couple years ago, but it
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