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Thread: Damper needed?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Chandler, AZ
    Posts
    117

    Default Damper needed?

    Hello All,
    Just inspected a 1996 home with a prefab fireplace. The fireplace is 2 sided (to living room and family room). It is pre-plumbed for gas, but doesn't have any appliance installed. The flue is metal, never used.
    The fireplace/flue doesn't have a damper. In code check it says these are required in masonry fireplaces - does that apply on a pre-fab, non-masonry FP?
    Thanks for your input.

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    Dave Hill
    Buyers & Sellers Property Inspections LLC
    WWW.BuyersSellersPi.Com

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Arnold, MD
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Damper needed?

    I didn't see any other wiser inspectors answer you so I am gonna chime in and say no it does not. If it is designed for gas/Lp then typically the pilot flame would require a constant opening in the flue much like a gas insert would need a damper clip to hold the flue open in a masonry chimney. Only if this was a wood burning manufactured FP would it need a damper I believe. I think ultimately, you would need to see the manufacturers install guide to know for sure but I believe you are ok. Is there a screen and glass in front?


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Chandler, AZ
    Posts
    117

    Default Re: Damper needed?

    Quote Originally Posted by biglebowski View Post
    I didn't see any other wiser inspectors answer you so I am gonna chime in and say no it does not. If it is designed for gas/Lp then typically the pilot flame would require a constant opening in the flue much like a gas insert would need a damper clip to hold the flue open in a masonry chimney. Only if this was a wood burning manufactured FP would it need a damper I believe. I think ultimately, you would need to see the manufacturers install guide to know for sure but I believe you are ok. Is there a screen and glass in front?

    Yes, it had glass doors on both sides. I have a new laptop and didn't want to fiddle trying to make my pictures smaller to post. Thanks for the feed back.
    At this time, the fp only had a grate to sit wood, or gas logs on, and a stub to add a gas appliance.

    Dave Hill
    Buyers & Sellers Property Inspections LLC
    WWW.BuyersSellersPi.Com

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2009
    Location
    Arnold, MD
    Posts
    34

    Default Re: Damper needed?

    Hmm... that doesnt sound like a manufactured fireplace listed for only NG/Lp only....When you look at manufactured FP, always check for a data plate underneath and see what the UL is. A missing damper on a wood burning or gas log starter would be an issue but not a huge deal anyway..At least the combustion will always go up the flue but you would want to recommend a level 2 chimney inspection in those situations.


  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Near Philly, Pa.
    Posts
    1,638

    Default Re: Damper needed?

    Dave, if you recorded the make, model and serial number off the rating plate you could look up the manual. I don't know of any factory built fireplaces that have been made without dampers so most probably someone removed it. Getting an OEM replacement for an old unit would be virtually impossible with most brands that old. A gas stub-out in a woodburning fireplace is often for a possible log lighter and not just vented logs.

    If you did not record this info. look for the rating plate for your answers. Its in there. If it has been removed, call out the fireplace for replacement.

    A pic of the unit and termination cap can probably tell us the make.

    Keep the fire in the fireplace.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    MONTREAL QUEBEC-CANADA
    Posts
    1,266

    Default Re: Damper needed?

    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hill View Post
    Hello All,
    Just inspected a 1996 home with a prefab fireplace. The fireplace is 2 sided (to living room and family room). It is pre-plumbed for gas, but doesn't have any appliance installed. The flue is metal, never used.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dave Hill View Post
    The fireplace/flue doesn't have a damper. In code check it says these are required in masonry fireplaces - does that apply on a pre-fab, non-masonry FP?
    Thanks for your input.
    Bob Haper appears to be the best suited to answer your question.
    Not to take away from Bob's post but, I take a photo of any manufacturing data whenever possible. I carry several clean star cloths to wipe away dust so I can get a clear image whenever possible.

    I do not know if this helps but here is a description of natural gas fireplaces from Natural Resources Canada.
    Direct Vent Gas Fireplace: Means a system consisting of
    A: an appliance for indoor installations which allows the view of flames and provides the simulation of a solid fuel fireplace,
    B: combustion air connections between the appliance and the vent-air intake terminal,
    C: flue gas connections between the appliance and the vent-air intake terminal and
    D: a vent-air intake terminal for atmosphere and all flue gases are discharged to the outdoor atmosphere.
    Think of the damper as (Direct vent)
    Gas flue outlet exhausts combustion/combusted air.
    https://www.continentalfireplaces.co...nt-technology/


    Typically a damper will not be the typical/usual masonry fireplace damper door.
    IE: perforated hollow metal bar or bars at the top of the fire box.

    Robert Young's Montreal Home Inspection Services Inc.
    Call (514) 489-1887 or (514) 441-3732
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