March Home Maintenance To-Do List

Fire burning in fireplace.

To-Do #5: Fireplace Maintenance

Closing fireplace damper.
Closing fireplace damper.
When warm weather has arrived and your fireplace is no longer needed for the year, shovel out any ashes and make sure the damper is closed to prevent drafts, rainwater, or animals from entering your home through your chimney.

Once the fireplace has cooled down, take a look inside to locate the damper. The damper is a metal flap that closes over the opening to the chimney flue.

It will have a handle—with a metal loop, lever, or set of chains—usually located near the front of your fireplace opening to use to close it.

It may require a flashlight to see how to close the damper, and you may also want to wear work gloves to keep your hands from getting sooty.

Types of Dampers:

  • Metal loop dampers can be closed by hand, or by inserting a poker into the loop and moving the flap closed.
  • Lever dampers are closed by lifting slightly on the lever to disengage it, then pushing or pulling it closed.
  • Chain dampers are closed by pulling on first the longer chain to disengage the mechanism, then the shorter chain to close the flap.


  1. Was looking for a link to the grout information talked about on the front page and did not find it.

    LOVE your TV show. I am hesitant to try these home improvement things, but I love to listen and build up my courage!

    Thank you

  2. sealing: is it necessary? What is the best sealer.
    How to clean: I use a paste of baking soda and water which works great, but is quite a chore. Anything better?

    Thank you


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