Loose Damper- Help!!!!

Discussion in 'General Survival and Preparedness' started by Motomom34, Dec 17, 2020.

  1. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    My landlord cleaned the stove pipe and ever since the damper twirls. He came by and allegedly fixed it but things got loose again. Vertical usually means open and horizontal means closed. My stove has a glass front so I can peer in with the flashlight to make sure the damper is truly open before I open the door. I am looking for success stories on how to fix this without having to have the pipe taken apart.

    Current position as of this morning, click on picture to enlarge if needed.

    1EEF5CA9-88D7-4006-B958-AFA0B930A985. F2A80EC6-95E8-41D8-BD72-5E516A0EBE94.

    0BB668C4-FD01-4D9E-B5A4-623F5589CE4C. 317EC87E-5DCB-44CB-9119-EBF98DAC366B.
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  2. Merkun

    Merkun furious dreamer

    The handle should be aligned with the damper blade. Every one I've seen has been set up that way. It MAY be possible to twist the damper blade on the shaft an get it set up that way. Other than that, it's take down the pipe and do it right. There should also be enough friction to hold it in place rather than just spin. Often, there will be a stop of some sort to prevent "twirrling."
  3. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    it was aligned until he cleaned it then it started moving. The damper was open when he cleaned it and he said he didn't hit it with the brush... but now it you turn it too quickly it will twirl and who knows what position it will be in. Not sure if I could crimp it with success or shove a piece of metal in there to hold it so it would align properly and stay that way.
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  4. Gator 45/70

    Gator 45/70 Monkey+++

    Vice grips, Re-crimp it
  5. Motomom34

    Motomom34 Monkey+++

    Hoping that works. Thanks for the response.
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  6. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I like peeling bananas and (occasionally) people.

    Yeah--there is a gripper of some sort on the damper blade that secures it in the handle shaft.

    When they put the damper pipe together they stick the blade in first, then run the handle through the pipe, picking up the thru holes on the blade as it goes.

    One thing you can do is chock the damper blade open with a stick, and then twist the handle gently. If it spins freely without the blade moving, it has definitely come loose.

    Usually one or two setscrews on the damper would be run down tight to lock the handle shaft.

    Forcing a few turns on the damper blade while holding the handle can cause the screws to score the handle all the way around. Then they may become too lose to hold properly--especially if the screws were pointed and the tips have deteriorated a bit from the heat.

    If the handle is loose on the damper, you may have to take out the damper section and re-tighten (or replace) the screws to lock the damper blade back in the right position.

    If the damper blade is still tight on the handle it won't spin when the blade is chocked.

    The problem then is probably two little pieces of metal inside the damper pipe.that acted as blade stoppers. They used to obstruct the blade when it tried to rotate past them. They were placed to limit the rotation of the blade from fully open to fully closed.

    If they've been damaged, the blade can spin like a paddlewheel.

    There is a cheap & easy fix for that.

    Set the blade vertical, and run a 1-1/2" sheet metal screw through the pipe just barely to the left of the blade. Don't worry about super accuracy--by eye will be plenty close enough. Place the screw about 1" away from the shaft of the handle so it can reach the damper blade to obstruct it.

    Then turn the blade 90 degrees clockwise to bring it to level.

    Then put another screw in, just like the first except under the damper blade.

    The first screw will stop the damper at full open, the second screw will stop it at full closed, and it should work fine forever.

    Don't forget to seal the heads of the screws with a little heat-resistant paint (or any metallic paint) applied before tightening, and then again after, or slather on some stove cement.

    I used to seal automobile head gaskets with metallic paint, and it worked very well.

    Just to keep the landlord happy, spritz them with a little black paint. He'll probably never even notice.

    When you move out, take your screws with you. Along with all your light bulbs,
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2020
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  7. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I like peeling bananas and (occasionally) people.

    BTW--if it's purely a crimp-it-down problem, you can get a lot of crimping out of a couple of radiator hose clamps.

    That would be great if you could reach ok.
    HK_User likes this.
  8. TnAndy

    TnAndy Senior Member Founding Member

    I was going to suggest a sheet metal screw or two as well....not long enough to catch the damper as Uncle Morgan suggests, since you'd have to remove the screws to make ANY adjustment to the angle of the damper, but a couple of short ones, like 1/2" (probably one would work) screwed in right next to the shaft of the damper as it comes out of the pipe. Your problem is the hole in the pipe has enlarged slightly, and running a small self tapping screw in beside the shaft will increase the friction on the shaft and let you have control.
  9. techsar

    techsar Monkey+++

    image. Sounds like the damper plate just got dislodged from the shaft...the shaft has a small deformation that the outside spring holds into the plate. It looks like it would be fairly easy to access with an assistant...either re-engage the "lump" into the plate, or worse case replace it...they're only about $10-15 around here.
  10. hot diggity

    hot diggity Monkey+++ Site Supporter+++

    Hmmm. Rental house. Access enough to get good pictures. Looks like with a cold stove you could almost reach the damper. That's just close enough for this fix. You need a small dollar store pair of long nose vice grips. Get them adjusted on the outside tail of the damper shaft, then jam them as far onto the shaft as possible, through the holes in the damper with the jaws on one side and the handles on the other side. This effectively jams the damper into position on the shaft. If you have one of the boys standing at the damper lever you could even get it adjusted to be vertical for open and horizontal for closed again before you lock it in place. The 6" vice grips should be on such an angle in an 8" pipe that they don't interfere with anything other than maybe adding some imbalance to the damper.

    I've used vice grips on the tail end of damper shafts to hold them open or closed.
    Used like that, gravity is your friend.
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  11. sdr

    sdr Monkey++

    s-l640. s-l640.
    I don't see the spring on the handle. Might be there i just can't tell from the pics. That style of damper doesn't need any screws. To install you hold the damper plate in the flue lined up with the holes. Then feed the rod through one hole in the pipe, through the damper then exit the other hole. While still holding the plate press the rod to compress the spring and twist 180 degrees. Then release the rod and it should lock in place if you aligned it properly. If it isn't installed right the damper will do what your describing.

    I have cleaned too many woodstoves, fireplaces and inserts to count. Doesn't happen to often but dampers can come loose. Might be worth your while to check one out at a hardware store to understand how they assemble. They can be tricky if you haven't done it before.
  12. sdr

    sdr Monkey++

    Lol. Good call techsar.

    It takes my slow fingers a while to post stuff.
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  13. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    When cleaning the system with a proper brush then the only complete way to clean the damper is to remove the damper from the pipe. Simple to do and a sure way to keep from having hot spots to the thinnest part of the piping.
    Reassemble and reset the full closed or full open set points.
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  14. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

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  15. sdr

    sdr Monkey++

    From the photos it looks like the only thing cleaned was the flue. Might be mistaken but it sure looks like creosote still in the fire box.

    Soft bristle brush will remove creosote from around the damper. Metal chimney brush shouldn't be used in a metal flue. Poly is preferred.
  16. UncleMorgan

    UncleMorgan I like peeling bananas and (occasionally) people.

    Better advice than mine. You guys rock.
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  17. HK_User

    HK_User A Productive Monkey is a Happy Monkey

    We also had ours about 4 feet above the floor so as not to burn your hand from a hot stove top when adjusting the damper. This also required you to dismantle a portion of the stove pipe for correct cleaning but that's the only way to do it right. We used a 5 gallon bucket and supported it under the stove pipe, wrapped an old drop cloth around it and let all the soot fall in the bucket. Then take the short extension out side and finish the job right.
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  18. sdr

    sdr Monkey++

    Never forget one chimney i cleaned years ago. Guy had a wood stove vented into a brick chimney about 6 feet high. Turned out the chimney had a metal flue liner. The liner had rusted at the bottom where the stove vented into blocking it. I cleaned the flue and stove then explained his problem. He asked if I would remove the old rusted liner. I agreed and handed him a paper grocery bag to hold under the opening inside in case anything came out while I removed the liner from the roof.

    I swear I had no idea the flue was that packed with creosote.

    I came down off the roof to find his wife setting up the garden hose to wash him down. He was solid black. Except his eyes and teeth.

    That was the good part

    Bad part was what his living-room looked like. Plus it was December. With all the Christmas decorations up.

    So glad they were nice people.

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