Is a Damper and a Flue the Same Thing?

While the chimney may seem like a simple structure, it compromises several integral components explicitly designed to reduce the risk of fire and exposure to dangerous gases, including carbon monoxide. Among the two most essential parts are the chimney damper and flue. Although some homeowners may use the terms interchangeably, they are two distinct chimney components that serve separate but equally vital functions.

chimney flue, amherst nhThe Flue

The flue is a pipe in the middle of the chimney, and when correctly sized and installed, it allows homeowners to enjoy a burning fireplace experience safely. It extends from just above the throat damper to the chimney crown at the top of the chimney. When you light a fire in the fireplace, the chimney draft carries the smoke, soot, and exhaust up the flue where it exits the chimney. It also protects the interior masonry walls from the fireplace’s high temperatures, so it doesn’t spread to combustible materials in your home. Many flues are also lined with clay tiles to protect the duct and further insulate the interior masonry from the heat, flames, and sparks. An unlined flue is more vulnerable to heat and fire-related damages. When flues need to be relined, many homeowners choose a stainless-steel flue liner. It increases energy efficiency, are easier to maintain, and are more durable than other types of flue liners.


chimney damper, keene nhThe Damper

The damper is like a door that is typically installed in the throat at the base of the flue to control the airflow in the chimney. The damper must remain open when there is a fire burning in the firebox. Otherwise, smoke and exhaust will be forced back into your living space instead of up the flue. An open damper also fills the flue with oxygen to fuel the fire. When the fire is extinguished or burns out, the damper should be closed. It forms an airtight seal preventing heat loss and keeping rain, snow, and debris out of the fireplace. It will also prevent cold gusts of wind from chilling your home.

As previously mentioned, dampers are traditionally installed in the chimney’s throat. However, many homeowners are opting to install a top-sealing damper. Its location at the top of the chimney increases energy efficiency, so homes will stay warmer in winter and cooler in summer. It also further protects the flue from wind, rain, snow, small animals, and debris.

Chimney Inspections and Cleaning

Annual chimney inspections and cleaning are essential to maintaining a safe and efficient fireplace.  Damages or obstructions to the damper, flue, or flue liner can restrict the airflow impeding the ventilation of smoke and fumes. Also, creosote, a byproduct of combustion, accumulates inside the flue and can also build-up on the damper. The flammable material increases the risk of fire and exposure to carbon monoxide when a chimney is not regularly cleaned. A damaged or inoperable damper reduces energy efficiency and allows moisture to seep into the firebox that can lead to costly repairs.

First Thing

John RantaJohn Ranta
17:01 22 Mar 24
They arrived on time, worked quickly and showed me the results. Prfessional throughout. jr
william greenwilliam green
23:21 14 Mar 24
Really helped me out can't say enough good things highly recommend!!!! The young man that came to my home was very knowledgeable and friendly great attitude all around answered all my questions and left me stress free best of all left no mess.🤙🏻🤙🏻
Michael Dell'OrtoMichael Dell'Orto
18:39 14 Mar 24
Jaime ConleyJaime Conley
17:13 14 Mar 24
Sarah GilliattSarah Gilliatt
01:46 13 Mar 24
A very thorough and careful job done! Thank you.
Larry CookLarry Cook
15:11 07 Mar 24
I wanted to give 5 stars but they are very busy which meant I had a good wait for both the inspection/cleaning, then for a quote on repairs and then for the repairs. Their prices seemed a little high to me but I have nothing to compare with as they were highly recommended by someone I trust and other companies had plenty of negatives reviews which kept me from getting additional quotes. I am happy with the work and they promptly returned to fix a mistake that had been made. Chris the inspector, Jennifer in the office, and Alex and his repair crew were all pleasant and took the time to answer all of my questions. Alex and his crew even took their shoes off (it was winter) before entering my house without even being asked! So if you are not in a rush and want to ensure you chimney is as safe as possible then I think you'll be happy with Black Moose.
Rebecca DeFuscoRebecca DeFusco
22:35 21 Feb 24
After a recent sweep of our chimney, it was discovered that our flue tiles were cracked. Black Moose techs were hard working, detail oriented and professional! Nice jobs guys! See you next year for my cleaning!
Karen CKaren C
14:52 14 Feb 24
Excellent I highly recommend Black Moose Chimney and Stove; Kelly and Liam are awesome, they did a great job. Extremely professional, arrived early, went through everything with a fine tooth comb ensuring pellet stove was thoroughly cleaned. They also were respectful of my home, conscientious and cleaned up after themselves. Made sure stove worked prior to leaving and told me to call promptly if anything came up afterward. Will definitely use them again.
Denise ClarkDenise Clark
16:32 31 Jan 24
We've had Black Moose clean our chimney for a number of years.But recently, we had an emergency situation at our home involving our chimney & oil furnace flue, which was caked full of soot from a malfunctioning furnace. They came & cleaned out both flues in no time, even going up on the roof with snow on it! They cleaned up after their work in the interior rooms where the oil furnace and the woodstove are located. Great work. Reasonable prices. Very nice people. You can't go wrong with Black Moose.
Joe GJoe G
18:30 24 Jan 24
Goods: The technicians know their business, very efficient in cleaning/inspection along with cleaning up after the 'dirty work'.Others: Communications could be more effective. Despite early coordination about scope of work (multiple flues within same chimney) the estimate provided did not reflect this and the final invoice was significantly more than the estimate provided.Quote for follow-on chimney relining was significantly more than that offered by other companies in the area (and far more than neighbors experienced for similar work accomplished by other companies)