View Full Version : Fireplace Damper Lock

Jul 8, 2008, 03:15 PM

I received a home inspection report from a prospective buyer that indicates that "The damper for the fireplace gas starter is not locked open. Operating the gas starter with the damper locked open will...(all sorts of bad things)". My question is two fold:

1) Is having the damper locked open with a gas starter a code requirement? Why even have the damper at all if it needs to be locked open? Should I tell thie prospective buyer that this is ridiculous and if you are not capable of understanding the concept of a damper and its proper usage you should continue to live with your parents?

2) I assume since a inspector noted this as an issue, there are standard products to resolve this issue. Where do I find them? How much will this cost to fix (approximately $100, $200, etc.)? I will have to have a professional install it so I can not do it myself via the contract.


Jul 8, 2008, 06:03 PM
The fact that your buyers inspector noted something doesn't mean you must fix it. You can read the report, look up at the buyer and say "SO WHAT" You can find the best answer to your question by contacting the building department for your area, it isn't code in my area. We all have dampers and ignotors and I don't know anyone who has their locked open. You are correct, locked open makes them totoally useless.

Jul 8, 2008, 06:06 PM
I believe that it is a requirement that dampers be permanently open for gas fireplace logs. The reason being that using the gas logs with the damper closed would put carbon monoxide in the house. With wood fire the smoke will tell you the damper is closed. Not so with gas logs. I wouldn't think that the requirement means a lock and key device. Drill a hole and put a bolt through it or clamp it open with a small C clamp, wire the handle in the open position or just remove the damper. You could just tell the buyer, you fix it, I'm selling the house as is. Unless you are selling a new home that you built everything doesn't have to be perfect.

The solution to having a permanently open damper is glass doors to the fireplace.

Jul 9, 2008, 10:39 AM
I'd like to hear what your building inspectro dept has to say. We are talking about an ignitor and not gas logs. Maybe the inspectoir will say there is a difference between codes for ignitors than logs. Come back and tell us.

Jul 9, 2008, 10:44 AM
Thanks Bob, missed that point.

Jul 9, 2008, 10:51 AM
That's OK, when I saw your poist I had to reread mine because I thought I read it wrong too. LOL

Dec 16, 2009, 11:28 AM
Anyone have a solution for this? I just bought a home and got the same report. How do I lock the damper open. 3 hardware stores and no one has a clue what I'm talking about.

I guess this is now code in California, so I suspect more people are having this problem.

Mar 12, 2010, 03:48 PM
We just completed a home inspection and our home inspector told us that a damper lock is basically a tiny C-clamp that holds the damper slightly ajar (not wide open). It is recommended to be used whenever you plan on having the pilot light burn continuously so as to prevent CO from building up. If your pilot light is off, no lock is needed.

Aug 7, 2010, 07:17 AM
I am a State licensed Professional Home Inspector and it does not really matter if it is Code or not, it is a matter of SAFETY. If you forget to open the damper after the Summer, with gas flames ( which happens because there is NO smoke ) the Carbon Monoxide will be "pumped" into the living space and you may get sick or worse before you notice it ! The Device in question does NOT keep the damper Open all the way, it simply keeps it from shutting completely- It is basically a metel "C" clamp from a hardware store screwed onto the damper - Simple !

Oct 4, 2010, 08:21 PM
Ditto ligon165. The clamp is actually an electrical clamp that is used to support conduit to steel beams in construction. It keeps the damper from closing completely.
e-mail me and I'll send you photos of how it's used. s.bauer@mchsi.com

Oct 31, 2010, 10:04 AM
Now this is interesting. Inspectorgadget comes to a 2 year old post, gives me a bad rating, no comment and then moves on. I see others continue to tag onto this old post as recently as Oct 4. This is an olddie guys and I am unclear what gadgets issue is. I know of no EPA rule about locking fireplace dampers and stand by my 2 year old answer, call the local building inspector to see what is code in your area. Maybe gadget can come back and tell us what the heck he is trying to say by doing his copy/paste about the EPA, it makes no sense to me at all.

Oct 31, 2010, 03:33 PM
Bump Gadget we are waiting for you to explain yourself

Apr 26, 2011, 05:38 PM
We just had our home fumigated (April 2011). When the gas company representative came to turn the natural gas service back on he too noted that our gas fire place did not have the damper locked in the open position. He r"Red Tagged" the fireplace, the gas valve for the firplace and place a red tag inside the fireplace and stated, "we needed to have it repaired."

I haven't any products in local stores on on line yet.

Apr 26, 2011, 05:48 PM
William41,Gas fireplaces are Required to be vented to the Exterior, If the damper is allowed to close completely then the gas is not vented to the exterior, besides the "Code", it is a possibility you may forget to open it and make everyone Sick or Worse! A small Steel "C" clamp found at major home centers hardware dept, Works Very Well and is very inexpensive...

Apr 26, 2011, 05:52 PM
Read my comment's about the Metal "C" clamp found at hardware stores for clamping wood or other materials.

Apr 26, 2011, 05:54 PM
You still need the stop on the damper, in case you light it and then forget to open it, this happens you know ?

Apr 26, 2011, 05:54 PM
Its frequently a common item used by electricians to hang fixtures from steel girders. I just did a quick search and found none. Try a fireplace shop

Apr 27, 2011, 12:12 PM
Here's a quick picture of a couple different kinds of damper clamps... see images below.

Click on this link for more info...

Gas Log Fireplace Flue Damper Clamp for Safety New on eBay! (http://compare.ebay.com/future/130507319796?var=svip&sort=BestMatch)