Damper for Gas Fireplace?

I recently had a home inspection for my house in Ohio, and the inspector recommends installing a damper. I’m getting conflicting information on whether or not that should actually be done, being that it is a fireplace with a gas log set.

I looked up the code and from what I understand in Section 1802.2.1, it shouldn’t be installed.


Does anyone have any insight into this? Thank you!

Is it a conversion? Does combustion air come from the room? Is it a sealed unit that doesn’t open to the room? Are there manufacturers instructions?

Too many unknowns. I would defer to the manufacturer, and if that’s absolutely not available, I’d recommend a qualified gas fireplace service technician to determine whether an automatic damper would be appropriate.

It’s actually an old wood burning fireplace ( house built in 1928 ) but it has a gas log insert that also looks quite old.

Even if a damper is installed, it is required to have a device installed that** prevents** it from closing 100% (all the way closed). Recommend you Google the manufacturer and model number for the installation manual for reference/information. I would also recommend as Steve stated above, to have a licensed service tech inspect, service and repair the entire unit. Cheap insurance going forward with your home to know all is in proper working condition.

Once you install a gas log set, it becomes a gas-fired-appliance. it is no longer a solid-fuel-burning appliance. Gas appliances are not permitted to have manual dampers, as you found in the code section you referenced. If there was a damper it would have to be disabled to prevent closure in order to be compliant.

No other factors matter - if it’s a gas fired appliance, it should NOT have a functional manual damper. There are some factory built listed units which do have dampers, however, the dampers in those will turn off the unit. This would not be the case with your ceramic log retrofit.

I don’t see where th inspector requested a manual damper. In our climate, a fireplace without a damper would be a tremendous energy waist. Unless they are sealed from conditioned air and use exterior air for combustion, they’ll actually drop the room temperature by 10 degrees on a cold winter evening.
What part of the country are you in, Braidi?

I’m in Ohio so I could definitely see the benefit of having one during the winter. The inspectors comment was “No damper in place, recommend contacting chimney contractor to install damper.”

From Googling and talking to others, almost everything I found says that if there’s a gas log set installed, a damper should be locked open at all times.

Chuck you raise a point I’m gonna have to check next time I see one … I could swear I’ve seen prefabs with gas logs and manual dampers that do not shut off anything but the flue.

And I know I see 30-40 year old brick wood-burners that have had a gas log set installed and Mr Damper is fully there … I fact I can not remember ever seeing one without a damper EXCEPT on DV’s.

Is it actually a gas log insert or just a gas log starter?

All that I have seen on listed devices are interconnected so that closing the damper turns off the burner.

The second set you describe are the ones that are supposed to be fitted with a clamp to prevent the old damper from closing

Here’s what I’ve got:




From a warmth and energy savings point of view, consider installing a glass front. For safety’s sake, have a qualified gas fireplace technician check your chimney for condition. They do make automatic dampers that will cut the gas off when closed, but your individual installation requirements can vary widely.

The damper clamp is $2. Is it a big deal? I buy them by the handful and leave one when it’s missing.

Here’s the note I put in my reports when I find your set up with an “operable” damper.

I also always recommend a level II inspection - https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=3&v=10Q6fnia-kU

No, that wouldn’t be a big deal. The issue was that my fireplace didn’t even have a damper on it to begin with, and I thought it was odd that the inspector said to install one. That would be pointless if you’re required to leave it clamped open.

Where do you get them for only $2? I usually seem them for more.

Though I agree, they’re cheap, and hardly worth arguing about.

I don’t think that the issue ever has been whether or not a damper clamp is $2 or 5. I can't 2nd guess the intention of the inspector recommending a damper. Obviously for safety's sake a **manually operated** damper must be clamped open or removed. But, in Ohio, and from what I can see from Braidi's installation, is that a huge amount of conditioned air (that's in my book) goes streaming out of her chimney unchecked, especially in the wintertime. An automatic damper (which when closed shuts off the gas) is not prohibited, and would be an energy saving measure, as would a glass enclosure. The radiant heat felt from the flames close-up is nothing compared to the hundreds of cubic feet of room air being sucked out of the chimney - creating drafts throughout the house. I know you FL guys might not know what cold drafts feel like in the winter, or ever shell out $100’s to heat your home, but for someone living in a Northern clime, it’s something to consider.

The reason gas code does not want you to have a damper for gas fireplace is so that you don’t kill yourself or your family with CO. CO is the product of incomplete combustion, that is the fire does not get enough oxygen, the damper issue is lack of draft, air moves up and out the chimney drawing air to the flame. So that is why. A gas flame that has sufficient oxygen produces no CO. A gas flame that lacks enough oxygen looks yellow, wavy and produces soot.

Looking at your fireplace and the gas log thingy, both appear to be pretty old. Is there a pilot light and pilot safety device such as a thermocouple? That would be there to prevent you from blowing your house up in a gas explosion.

Is your granny 80 years or older? If so, she survived not having all this safety stuff, but she was pretty smart.