Wood stove damper question.

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by r.h. in okla., Oct 23, 2005.

  1. Is the damper in your flue a solid piece or does it have a big hole in the middle? The first wood stove I bought was a used stove from an estate auction. I went to town and bought the stove pipes and a damper that was one solid piece. The stove worked great and would really heat the house up good. In fact sometime the temperature would be controlled by how wide we would leave the front living room door open. I used that stove for about 4 years and then it got too burned out to use anymore. Then I bought a brand new stove (heartland) and it came with a damper to use. This damper was made with a big hole in the middle. It works good also as we don't have to keep the living room door open quit as often to control the heat. But when it is one of those bone chilling northern fronts it doesn't seem to heat the house very good and it seems to use a lot more wood then when we had the solid damper in.
     
  2. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    A damper that is wide open (vertical position) will allow the woodstove to burn at maximum capacity. You see, when the damper is vertical it is just like having no damper at all. In other words, the damper in this position is allowing all the smoke and gases to move up the chimney and therefore the woodstove is drawing the maximum amount of fresh air into the firebox whihc allows the fire to burn as hot as possible. Consequently, when a damper is open in the vertical position, it makes no difference if the damper has a hole in it or not.

    Dampers are used to "slow down" a fire. A damper works like a "jake brake" on a semi-truck (if you know what thas is). A damper in the closed (horizontal position) slows the movement of smoke up the chimney. Consequently, the amount of fresh air entering the firebox will be reduced when the damper is in the horizontal (closed) position. When the fire recieves less air it burns slower and cooler.

    So, to answer your question, a hole in a damper would have no effect when the damper is in the open (vertical) position. A hole would have an effect in the closed (horizontal) position by allowing more aire into the firebox compared to a solid damper and thus allowing a hotter fire in the closed position.

    Now tell me about those bone chilling northern fronts that you experience in tropical Oklahoma.
     

  3. Oh, you want to hear about our bone chilling northern here in Oklahoma? Well I'll tell ya about em. For the most part of winter we stay around in the low to mid 40's around here but at least a couple of times a winter we do dip way down in the low teens that can stick around for a couple of weeks. That hurts when your a spoiled southener! :cowboy:
     
  4. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

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    Is the hole in the damper some kind of safety feature? Oklahoma might seem tropical to you Cabin Fever, but I've seen it at -15 with a wind chill of - 70. That's when I use my gas heat & be thankful that it'll warm up in a week or so. I have to respect you folks for being able to survive up there.
     
  5. bgak47, I don't know why the damper is made with a hole in the middle. The hole is about 2" across and the damper came with the purchase of the new stove. It is a volzengang heartland woodstove.
     
  6. thedonkeyman

    thedonkeyman Well-Known Member

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    How high up the Pipe should a damper be ?
     
  7. I've seen them located at different levels. Some I've seen about eye level. I have mine just above the top of the stove, and I've seen some located just as soon as it came out of the back of the stove.
     
  8. caroline00

    caroline00 Well-Known Member

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    we just bought that stove. Having the damper where they say to put it, we cannot trouble open it up more than an inch... what are we doing wrong?

    Actually, I think we have decided to put it higher in the chimney.
     
  9. Cabin Fever

    Cabin Fever Life NRA Member since 1976 Supporter

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    One possible reason for having the hole in the damper is to make it so the owner cannot totally turn off the flow of smoke up the chimney. Perhaps, if a solid damper was used with this particular stove, and the damper was fully closed, smoke would back up and the stove would leak smoke.
     
  10. JAK

    JAK Well-Known Member

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    Interesting question. If it is low it might help create turbulence that helps heat transfer to the flue. If it is higher it might stop less heat loss to the outside when the stove is shut down. It is less likely to get fouled and corroded by creosote if it is closer to the stove, I should think. The Russian Fireplaces have a heavy sliding damper for shutdown after the fire is out, to keep the heat in the house.
     
  11. CurtisWilliams

    CurtisWilliams Well-Known Member

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    The fewer joints below the dampener, the less the risk of CO poisoning.
     
  12. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

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    Co2 might be the reason for the hole in your damper R.H! A safety precaution to keep you from killing yourself by closing the damper too far.
     
  13. raymilosh

    raymilosh Well-Known Member

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    when i buy dampers, they are never solid. they always have a few slits to prevent them from stopping the flow entirely. When those holes get creosoted closed and creosote builds up o nthe walls of the pipe such that the damper effectively seals off the chimney, it begins to smoke in the house.
    If your damper came from Vozelgang with a hole in it, I'd assume they knew what they were doing and use it as it is.
    By the way, it sounds like you're running your stoves pretty hot if you burned one out and have to open the door on the house. The damper and the air vents allowing air into the stove can be used to really slow down and cool down the fire. The fire, the wood and the stove will all last longer.
     
  14. bgak47, that is what I was thinking. It might have something to do with co2 poisoning. That is one reason why I haven't changed it back to solid.

    raymilosh, the other stove was purty well used when I bought it from the estate auction. I think one reason why it heated up so much is cause it was a much heaveir cast iron stove. Once heated it stayed heated a long time. The one I have now is a little bit smaller and lighter. I can move it in and out of the house by myself. The older one I had to have my wife help me. The one I have now still heats the house good. Right now we are in the low to mid 50's for daytime high, and nights are down to freezing and I'm only throwing one log in at a time. I just dread any cold northerns that might come our way this coming winter. When we do have one seems I continuesly have to keep throwing logs in to keep the house fairly comfortable. Much more so then I did with the old stove and solid damper.