How to Safely Use a Fireplace Damper

Ever wondered about safe fireplace damper use? Here's the key: Never close the damper while a fire burns!

Closing the damper, even a little, is a big no-no. Why? Because it restricts airflow, trapping smoke and dangerous fumes like carbon monoxide (CO) inside your home. CO is an odorless and invisible gas that can be deadly, so keeping your damper open is crucial for safe fireplace enjoyment.

Note: This advice is for masonry and builder's fireplaces only and does not apply to modern high-efficiency EPA-certified fireplaces. These modern fireplaces have a 'primary air control' for the reburn cycle, which functions differently.

How to ensure safe fireplace damper use:

  • Always open the damper completely before lighting a fire. This allows for proper chimney damper ventilation and draws smoke and CO safely out of your home.
  • Keep the damper open throughout the entire time you have a fire burning.
  • Only close the damper once the fire has completely burned out and all embers are extinguished. This helps maintain heat within the house and prevents drafts from pulling cold air in through the chimney.


By following these simple fireplace safety tips, you can enjoy the warmth of your fireplace while keeping your home safe from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, smoke backdraft, and possibly chimney fires.

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) also provides a handy guide to chimney maintenance to ensure your family’s safety and fire enjoyment.

How to Get Free Expert Advice on Safe Fireplace Use

Fireplaces are fantastic for creating a cozy ambiance, but your loved one’s safety comes first. While this blog provides a great starting point, there's no substitute for personalized advice from a hearth expert.

Visit your local We Love Fire® dealer today! Our friendly and knowledgeable staff can answer all your questions about safe fireplace damper use, proper fireplace maintenance, and choosing the perfect fireplace for your needs. They can also help you navigate building codes and ensure your fireplace installation meets all safety regulations.

Below is a list of fireplace and grill stores that service Virginia (VA)

Manassas, VA

Winston's Chimney Service
11301 Industrial Road
Manassas, VA 20109

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Mechanicsville, VA

Hearth & Home Shoppe
8151 Mechanicsville Tpk
Mechanicsville, VA 23111

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Roanoke, VA

Dixie Building Products Inc.
3342 Melrose Ave NW
Roanoke, VA 24017

Warrenton, VA

Costello's Warrenton Fireplace & Hot Tub
251 West Lee Hwy
Warrenton, VA 20186

For more information, contact your local fireplace and grill store..

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