A fireplace damper is most commonly found in the throat of a chimney made of masonry, sitting above the firebox. The damper is designed to seal your fireplace shut whenever you are not burning a fire. In order to keep heated air from escaping your home, a damper is necessary. Otherwise, the air will flow up the chimney, thus not providing any warmth to your home. Keep in mind that both wood burning and gas fireplaces use dampers.
One of the features of your fireplace that needs to be checked by a professional every year is the damper. When you have an overall check up of your fireplace, the damper should automatically be a part of the package. When your damper remains open, even just a little bit, or if your damper leaks, you could be spending hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars every year for nothing.
The majority of fireplace dampers have a metal-to-metal form that when sitting together appropriately, it prevents leakage. However, as years pass, that metal can start to warp due to all the heat from fires and moisture from rainy and cold seasons. When this occurs, the seal starts to loosen, which starts to allow warm air to escape up the chimney instead of into your room.
In the past several years, new damper technologies have been designed and if your damper is old and worthless, you might consider having a more updated one installed. The cost of a damper is reasonable and a professional can replace or repair yours with little trouble.
Just remember, your fireplace should be a source of heat for your home. If your damper is not doing its job properly, the fireplace is losing its effectiveness and your heating bills skyrocket. Your fireplace is a valuable asset to your home so you need to ensure it is always in the best working condition possible.