Barometric damper

At a loss today. 1943 built home with furnace that is only a couple years old. High effeciency oil burner. Then I noticed that the barometric damper had been sealed with clear silicone. Has anybody seen this done before? And perhaps a reason why?

Also, in opening the cabinet, there was a lot of powdery substance in the bottom of the tray. Not sure what it is except maybe an absorbant for spilled oil. The furnace tech was leaving just as I arrived. Any clues?

I can’t think of any logical reason the damper was sealed, mayby noise? that powder is most likely “speedy dry”. it’s a clay that absorbs all the fuel oil spilled by the tech. from servicing the unit. when you run out of oil or have to break the lines to the burner, some pressure is needed to bleed the air out and get the thing running. i like to catch it in a can or cup, this guy just let it flow. not to profesional.

Was the Damper a manually operated damper?

In Chicago you can not have a manual Barometric Damper in your flue.
An automatic damper is acceptable.

This could have to do with proper daft issues. Flue sizes perhaps with respect to proper chimneydraw … Was any other appliance (water heater) removed from the same chimney flue / smoke pipe connection?

Or the homeowner felt a draft coming down from the chimney and figured it was not right so it was sealed. Hmmm You have to wonder who did this. I don’t think a HVAC tech would use clear silicone for this “fix”…

The only other item that may have been attached to the chimney was an old cooking stove that was closed off decades ago up in the kitchen, well before the installation of this new heating unit.

No, but some one calling themselves an HVAC tech might.:roll:

“I’m not an HVAC tech, but I play one on TV”:slight_smile:

Recommend damper to be free-moving. All oil fired appliances need a damper.

If there is an additional damper built into the chimney itself, recommend it be permanently sealed.

Not that anything the guys above said is wrong…and I am sure that you probably know this…but in the absence of knowledge “Uncommon condition exists at the damper, recommend further evaluation by Licensed Qualified HVAC contractor.”

The purpose of the damper is to allow cool air into the flue to bring down the temperature of the exiting flue gas, also to maintain proper venting and combustion efficiency. Sealing the damper decreases the efficiency, creates a possible carbon monoxide hazard and a possible fire hazard with in the flue to the roof.

The power does look like oil dry ??

Is this an oil burner furnace? What make? Model? Some of the newer oil burners are direct vent but they must be set up according to manufacturers installation instructions.

In all cases the best approach is what the Mfg. installation instructions state. I think we are all on the same page here. The local AHJ may modify the install instructions but as we all know at some point upgrades/ modifications by (Homeowners, HVAC techs) do happen so original installs do change along with configurations…maybe. I hope the manual is available somewhere close to the appliance and should be there for all of us.

I always like to check the MFG. plates on the appliances after I get a general view of the install. Orphaned appliances, bad installs or modifications and efficiency of many appliances are coming into play. So what does that do for us? I think it makes it more of a detective thing with respect venting/ combustion air / dilution air and so on… Safety issues all the time. :wink: