What Should You Do When You See Rust Around A Fireplace Damper?

What Should You Do When You See Rust Around A Fireplace Damper?

January 23, 2024

An,Inspector,Inspecting,An,Old,House,To,Be,Sure,EverythingFireplaces are a cozy addition to any home, providing warmth and ambiance on cold winter evenings. However, like any part of a house, fireplaces require regular maintenance to ensure their optimal performance and minimize the risk of hazards. One common issue with fireplaces is the presence of rust around the fireplace damper. The damper is a metal plate that controls the airflow and prevents drafts when the fireplace is not in use. Rust around the damper can be not only unsightly but also indicate potential issues with the damper’s functionality. In this blog post, we will explore what you should do when you see rust around a fireplace damper and how to address this issue effectively.

1. Assess the extent of the rust:

Before taking any action, it is important to evaluate the extent of the rust. Is it a small, localized spot, or is it covering a larger area? If the rust is only surface-level and limited to a small area, it may not require immediate attention. However, if the rust has spread and is causing structural damage to the damper, it is crucial to address the issue promptly.

2. Understand the potential causes:

Rust around a fireplace damper can be caused by various factors. The most common reason is moisture exposure. Fireplaces are often exposed to rain, snow, or high humidity levels. Over time, this constant exposure can lead to rusting. Other factors that can contribute to rust formation include poor ventilation, condensation, and the accumulation of creosote or other flammable residues.

3. Consult a professional:

If you are unsure about the severity of the rust or lack experience in dealing with fireplace issues, it is wise to consult a professional chimney sweep or fireplace technician. These experts have the knowledge and experience to assess the situation accurately and recommend the most appropriate course of action. They can provide guidance on whether simple repairs are sufficient or if more extensive measures, like replacing the damper, are necessary.

4. Clean the rusted areas:

If the rust is mild and has not significantly affected the damper’s functionality, you may attempt to clean the rusted areas yourself. To do so, start by wearing protective gloves and using a wire brush or steel wool to gently remove the rust. Be cautious not to scratch the surface or damage the damper further. Once the rust is removed, wipe the area clean, and apply a rust-inhibiting primer or fireplace paint to prevent future rust formation.

5. Monitor and maintain:

After addressing the rust issue, it is essential to monitor the damper periodically for any signs of recurring rust or further deterioration. Regular maintenance is essential to ensure the damper’s longevity and optimal operation. Consider scheduling an annual inspection with a professional to thoroughly assess your fireplace and identify any potential issues before they escalate.

6. Prevent future rust formation:

To prevent future rust around the fireplace damper, there are several proactive steps you can take. First, ensure that the damper is properly closed when the fireplace is not in use to minimize exposure to moisture. Installing a chimney cap can also provide an additional layer of protection against rain and snow. Proper ventilation and controlling indoor humidity levels can help reduce condensation and moisture accumulation. Lastly, regularly clean your fireplace and have it professionally inspected and cleaned on a regular basis to remove any flammable residues that may contribute to rust formation.


When you see rust around a fireplace damper, it is important not to ignore it. Evaluating the extent of the rust, understanding the potential causes, and consulting a professional are crucial steps in addressing this issue effectively. Cleaning the rusted areas, monitoring and maintaining the damper, and taking preventive measures can help ensure the continued functionality and safety of your fireplace. Regular maintenance and inspections are key to enjoy the warmth and comfort of your fireplace for years to come.

Got Questions About Your Fireplace? Let us Help!

Welcome to Alpha & Omega Services! Alpha & Omega Services is your local, owner-operated fireplace contractor with over 25 years of experience. We offer the best work on all fireplace services as licensed Michigan mechanical contractors. Whether you want a facelift of your existing hearth or plan on installing an entirely new system, we are the company that can help! We specialize in the installation, servicing, and repairing of gas and wood-burning fireplaces and stoves, along with masonry restoration. Management services include sweeping, cement capping, inspections, and the maintenance of water seals, caps, and liners. Call us to schedule your next visit today!

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