Do I Need a Chimney Cap?
Many homeowners question whether or not it’s necessary to install a chimney cap. Even though relatively inexpensive to buy and easy to install, this little piece of metal atop your chimney can actually save you thousands of dollars on unnecessary chimney repairs. Although a chimney will function properly without a chimney cap in place, you can save yourself a headache down the road by installing the proper size and style chimney cap. Not only will a metal cap prevent animals from building nests in your chimney, it will keep debris from entering the flue, keep moisture out, and protect your roof from burning embers that may cause a house fire.
Keep Critters & Debris Out of Your Chimney
The most obvious reason to get a chimney cap installed is to keep debris out of your chimney. Leaves, twigs, and other items can fall down your flue and accumulate inside your chimney. Squirrels, raccoons, chimney swifts, and other critters may also decide to call your chimney home and build a nest that blocks the opening of your chimney. In fact, squirrels have been known to build a four feet deep nest in as little as 24 hours!
If debris or animal nests are clogging your flue, you are subject to drafting problems and chimney fires. In fact, if smoke and toxic gases are not able to exit out of your home from the chimney due to a debris or nest blockage, you may experience smoke and soot damage, or even carbon monoxide poisoning. Installing a chimney cap will eliminate the possibility of something falling, or crawling, into your flue, which means you’ll have one less thing to worry about.
Get Control of Moisture & Unruly Embers
Burning embers, which are produced as fire burns wood, are sent up and out of the chimney. If no chimney cap is installed, there is nothing to stop them once they reach the top of the flue. These little, burning particles can be a big problem and cause damage to your roof or worse; some have even been hot enough to start a fire. Fortunately, installing a metal chimney cap can help you avoid catastrophes such as these.
Moisture is another major problem for chimneys. The freezing and thawing cycles of the winter may cause cracks and deterioration in the masonry of your chimney and flue. During the spring & summer, these cracks and gaps can then be exploited by humid, wet days causing more degradation and damage which can lead to expensive chimney repairs and restoration. Cracks that form in the lining of the chimney will eventually move into the masonry and weaken the entire structure. Your chimney crown will also receive more damage if there is no chimney cap to help deflect the elements. Don’t let water and moisture destroy the structures that allow you to enjoy your fireplace and stove.
Will I have a Drafting Problem?
Another common question regarding chimney caps is whether or not installing one will cause a chimney draft problem. While improperly installing a low quality chimney cap that is not the right style or fit may cause some drafting issues, a properly installed chimney cap will not cause a drafting issue. In fact, many chimney caps are specifically designed to help to reduce drafting issues or correct current problems with smoke entering your living space.
Types of Chimney Caps
Chimney caps come in a number of different styles, materials, and colors. Which one should you choose? Generally, it’s best to pick a chimney cap that is either matches the brand of your metal chimney liner or one that your local certified chimney sweep company recommends. Home improvement stores like Lowe’s & Home Depot may entice homeowners to choose a chimney cap based on deals that seem too good to pass up. It’s important to know that these caps are typically made of aluminum and are poorly designed which leads to less-than-adequate performance. Contact your favorite local chimney sweep to ask them for a recommendation for a chimney cap that will work well on your specific chimney. Chimney caps come in a variety of shapes and sizes but the most important feature is the type of material they are made with. Copper and stainless steel are the most commonly used since they are the most durable and give the best performance. Another thing to consider is if you have a multi-flue chimney. One large cap may be installed over all of the flues opposed to installing smaller, individual ones. This can give the appearance of a sleeker, more modern rooftop.
A chimney cap is a minor & inexpensive installation that can help eliminate future chimney damage that result in costly repairs. Don’t wait until it becomes a necessity, install one now.
Chimney Solutions, Inc.
1155 McFarland 400 Drive, Alpharetta GA 30004