When previewing apartments, one of the features that can stand out the most is a fireplace. However, that fireplace and its fireplace flue can also be intimidating, if your previous residences didn’t have one. Here’s everything you need to know about fireplace flues, if you’d like to consider a rental with a fireplace.

What does a flue do?

A chimney flue does a few differnt things.  It keeps rain and wildlife from getting in, but it also keeps household heat and air conditioning from getting out.  Much like vents for boilers, and breeches for water heaters and furnaces, your flue is a chimney pipe or duct that allows gases from fires to exit your home without exposing your indoors to the outdoors, and keeping fireplace heat inside.

What is a flue damper?

The flue damper is located inside the chimney and controls the opening, allowing smoke to escape and to control the amount of heat in the room.

The adjustment of the flue as you use your fireplace is critical.  If your flue damper – the part of the flue that maintains the size of the exterior opening – is manual, there are a few things you need to know. When starting your fire, your flue should be open all the way, for optimal heat and for safety. Then as your fire burns, it should be open just enough to pull the smoke from the fire slowly up through the chimney and outside. But beware: The flue lever, which is what controls the damper, can be very hot and hand protection should be worn. Luckily, many modern fireplaces have automatic, known as barometric, dampers that make the entire process hands-off.

A chimney flue is important to understand. Now you’ll feel more confident as you preview apartments or rental homes with fireplaces!   And if you choose a rental with a fireplace, we know you’ll enjoy the cozy factor. Pets also love to sleep in front of a fire!

Related: How to host a winter wine tasting

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