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Automatic Vent Damper opinion

I have been reading that an Automatic Vent Damper is a good way to gain a little bit more efficiency out of a steam boiler. But, the contractor I've been talking to is trying to steer me away from it because...

a) they are expensive
b) they are prone to breakdowns

I would really appreciate some feedback with this technology.


  • Automatic Vent Dampers

    Tom; Automatic vent dampers have been quite commonplace up here in Canada for a long while now. Manufacturers here put them on to raise the AFUE of their units to Canadian standards. They do cut "stand-by losses" to a degree, but they can cause other problems. My opinion is don`t bother if it isn`t mandatory on your equipment. The difference in efficiency with, or without, is not that much. Up here we have no choice!!
  • I like vent dampers

    especially when an atmospheric gas boiler is installed on an old chimney designed for a coal boiler. These chimneys have much more draft capability than modern boilers need. I've seen them suck all the heat out of such a boiler without a damper on the off cycle.

    There were reliability issues with early-model dampers, but the current crop seems to do OK.

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  • Steamhead

    I certainly agree, but up-here the gas co. or TSSA will get-on ya about chimney iceing problems.
  • Actually

    when the damper closes, I think the chimney should stay warmer just like the boiler does. For the hot flue gases to leave the chimney, something else (which is usually much cooler) has to come in at the base.

    If the chimney is unlined or leaky, all bets are off.

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