Jason Laws (online, 6/29/15): I think that a flue-top damper is a nice idea, but it would never work in my area—northern Maine. It will either freeze shut or freeze open, or the 4 feet of snow on it will put a real damper on things. Dampers should be kept inside, where they belong, out of the weather. Most people don’t use fireplaces to keep warm, so there would not be a steady stream of heat to melt off the snow and ice, as with a wood stove that is used 24/7. Any fun with the fireplace would come to an abrupt end as soon as the room filled with smoke.

Mike Guertin responds: People may be reluctant to install a flue-top damper for the valid reasons Jason Laws notes. There are many building practices and products that are not suitable to all regions because of climate, geology, or local building codes. It’s important to consider what will work best given the local circumstances.

or Register to read the full article.