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Install A Chimney Cap To Keep Animals Out

The arrival of spring brings warmer temperatures, plenty of green plant growth, and the birth of adorable baby animals. Unfortunately, many animals think chimneys are the perfect nesting spot to protect their new babies from predators and the elements.

While the presence of animals in the chimney may seem like a minor inconvenience – especially if you are not using your fireplace – it can lead to significant chimney damage or expose your family to disease. However, animal entry can be avoided with the use of a chimney cap.Chimney Caps Keep Animals Out Image - Minneapolis MN - Jack Pixley Sweeps

How animals get in

The primary way that animals get into the flue is through a damaged – or missing – chimney cap. Sitting at the top of the chimney, the chimney cap covers and protects the flue from the elements. The metal top and mesh or wire sides allow smoke and gas to safety vent from the fireplace while preventing water, debris, and animals from getting in.

Even minor damage to the chimney cap can create enough space for animals to gain entry to the chimney; small holes in the mesh sides, dents in the metal, or missing screws can all create opportunities for animal entry. While birds and small mammals may only need a few inches to squeeze through, raccoons have been known to claw and bite at weak areas in order to create large enough openings for them to fit through.

How animals damage your chimney

While a chimney might seem like the ideal nesting spot for an animal, the presence of wildlife in the flue can cause significant problems for your chimney system. The following are just a few of the ways animals cause damage to your chimney.

– Chimney cap: Animal entry can worsen damage to a chimney cap. In addition to leaving space for more animals to enter in the future, this can also allow water and debris into the flue year-round.
– Flue liner: Beaks, talons, and claws can all scratch or chip the flue liner as animals attempt to navigate the cramped, dark flue. Likewise, nesting materials may have a corrosive effect on the liner, sometimes requiring chimney relining.
– Debris: Animal houseguests in the chimney do not come empty-handed; nesting materials, food, and droppings can accumulate in the flue. In addition to increasing the risk of chimney fire, this can also exposure your family to bacteria, bugs, and other diseases.

How to keep animals out

The most effective way to keep animals out of your chimney is through the use of a chimney cap. Good chimney caps are made of quality materials, correctly sized and fitted to your chimney, and have been professionally installed. In addition to preventing animal entry, chimney caps can also keep moisture and debris out of the flue; this protects your chimney system year round and helps prevent damage and deterioration.

Don’t let animal entry affect your chimney system this spring. Instead, have a new chimney cap installed to prevent birds, raccoons, and other animals from gaining entry to your home. For more information on the dangers of animals in the flue or to have a new chimney cap installed on your fireplace system, contact Jack Pixley Sweeps today.

Dangers Of A Leaky Chimney

While water in the fireplace can be easily cleaned up, it should never be ignored. Chimney leaks, even minor ones, can cause serious damage throughout your fireplace system.

Signs of a Chimney Leak

While chimney leaks are often discovered by the presence of water in the firebox, there are a number of other signs that water entry may be affecting your chimney. The following are just a few of the signs of a chimney leak.Dangers of a Leaky Chimney Image - Minneapolis MN - Jack Pixley Sweeps

  • Moisture, dampness, or water in the firebox
  • Rust on the damper
  • Masonry spalling
  • Sounds of dripping inside the chimney

What Causes a Chimney Leak?

Because chimneys are complex structures there are a number of ways that water can get into the chimney system. The following are three of the most common areas where water can enter your chimney.

  • Chimney cap. A chimney cap is a metal top with mesh sides that protects the top of the flue from animal, debris, and water entry. A damaged, sized or incorrectly installed chimney cap allows water into the unprotected chimney.
  • Chimney crown. Made of stone or cement, the chimney crown is a slab that covers and seals the top of the chimney. Because of their location, chimney crowns are prone to overexposure to the elements; chips and cracks from repeated exposure can create chimney leaks.
  • Chimney flashing. Flashing is when metal strips and other waterproofing materials are layered on the joint between the roofline and the chimney. This watertight seal can be damaged by weather, overexposure, improper installation, or even roof repairs. Leaky flashing can damage not just the chimney, but also nearby walls, ceilings, and building materials.

Repairing a Leaky Chimney

Before repairing a leaky chimney, the source of the water entry must be identified. Identifying and repairing the source of a leak before repairing the damage ensures that the leak will not return in the future. A chimney inspection is often the best way to identify the source of a leak as well as evaluate the damage a leak has caused.

Once the source of the leak has been identified, the damaged caused by the leak can be repaired; repairing a leaky chimney as soon as possible prevents serious masonry or structural damage from occurring. There are a few of the ways your chimney can be repaired after a chimney leak. One option is to replace damaged bricks and mortar through tuckpointing. Another option is to install a new chimney cap.

Preventing Future Chimney Leaks

One way to protect your chimney against future leaks is by having the masonry waterproofed. In the waterproofing process, a water repellent specifically designed for masonry is applied to the bricks and mortar of your chimney. Our SaverSystems products help prevent leaks by repelling water from the masonry and can used to stop additional water damage from occurring.

A leaky chimney is more than just a minor inconvenience. You should repair leaks as soon as possible to prevent dangerous chimney damage from occurring. For more information on preventing or repairing chimney leaks, contact Jack Pixley Sweeps today.

We Fix Leaky Chimneys

While a little water in your fireplace might seem like only a minor inconvenience, it can spell major trouble for your chimney system. Whether it’s a few droplets, a large puddle, or even a musty smell, the presence of water in your fireplace and chimney can cause damage to many different chimney components.

Causes of leaky chimneys

Because chimneys are complex structures with a number of different components, there is no one guaranteed cause of a leaky chimney. However, there are several common ways that water can get in; below are four of the most common causes of chimney leaks.

  • Chimney cap: Chimney caps are metal covers that protect the top of the flue and keep animals, debris, and moisture out of the chimney. If a chimney cap is installed incorrectly, does not fit properly, or is damaged, water can easily enter the flue and chimney.
  • Chimney crown: The chimney crown is the mortar slab that covers and seals the top of the chimney. Well-built chimney crowns are typically made of concrete or other stone to prevent the chips and cracks associated with long term exposure to the elements. Likewise, a good chimney crown should have overhangs and be slightly sloped in order to prevent water from pooling or draining directly onto the masonry of the chimney.
  • Damaged masonry: Damage caused by water can cause bricks to crack and spall; not only does this let additional water into the fireplace system, but it can also affect the structural stability of the chimney structure.We Fix Leaky Chimneys - Minneapolis MN - Jack Pixley Sweeps
  • Flashing: Chimney flashing are the layered metal strips that seal the joint between the roof and the chimney structure. Flashing can lose its watertight seal due to exposure to the elements, incorrect installation, damage from storms, or if changes to the roof line are made.

Repairing a leaky chimney

The first step to fixing a leaky chimney is to identify and repair the underlying cause of the leak. A chimney inspection done by a certified chimney sweep is often the best way to uncover where water is getting into the chimney system; by fixing how the water is getting in first, you can avoid needing the same chimney repairs because of water damage again and again.

In addition to repairing your leaky chimney, preventative maintenance can be done to protect your chimney against water damage. Waterproofing is one of the best ways to protect your masonry against water entry. Our professional-grade SaverSystems sealants are specially designed to work on masonry; these sealants allow the masonry to retain its semi-porous nature, allowing gasses to pass through but preventing moisture from getting in. Water repellent sealants can even be used if your masonry already has areas of water damage!

If you have a leaky chimney, it is important to have it repaired as soon as possible. Contact the experts at Jack Pixley Sweeps today for more information on how we can fix your leaky chimney!

Call a Chimney Sweep for Leaking Chimneys!

Call A Chimney Sweep for Leaking Chimneys - MinneapollisFireplaces are designed to contain heat from a roaring fire – the last thing you want to see in your fireplace is water! The presence of water in your fireplace or chimney can indicate that there is a leak somewhere in your chimney system. Likewise, water can quickly cause damage and deterioration to your entire chimney and fireplace system.

A leaky chimney is more than just a minor annoyance. Have your leaky chimney repaired as soon as possible to avoid long term damage to your fireplace and chimney system.

What causes chimney leaks?

Because chimneys are complex structures, there are a number of places where a leak might be caused. At Jack Pixley Sweeps, our technicians are highly trained to find the source of the leak before water damage gets worse. The following are some of the most common causes of chimney leaks.

Chimney cap: Chimney caps, also known as rain covers, are designed to protect the top of the chimney against animals, debris, and water. Without a chimney cap, water from rain, ice, and snow can freely enter your chimney, damaging the interior and exterior of your chimney system.

Chimney crown: The chimney crown seals the top of the chimney around the flue as well as protects the masonry of the chimney structure. If a chimney crown is damaged, incorrectly sized, or improperly installed it can cause a variety of chimney leaks. Crowns built without a proper overhang, for example, allow water to flow directly onto the bricks of the chimney; this, in turn, causes the masonry to crack and spall, allowing more and more water in. Likewise, cracks in the chimney crown can also let water into the chimney and create leaks.

Flashing: Flashing is the watertight strip that connects the masonry of the chimney with the rest of the roofline. Flashing can easily be installed incorrectly, especially when put in by inexperienced roofers. Likewise, even correctly installed flashing can be damaged due to animals, exposure, or settling.

Without watertight flashing, homeowners may notice water leaks or stains on the walls or ceilings around the chimney structure. Many homeowners mistakenly believe it is their roof leaking when it fact the flashing has simply lost its watertight seal.

Preventing leaky chimneys

The best thing you can do to prevent a chimney leak is to have a chimney sweep and inspection performed each year. This annual maintenance ensures that your chimney remains in top condition and any damage can be fixed quickly and easily before turning into a major issue.

In addition to regular annual maintenance, homeowners can also have their masonry waterproofed. Our waterproofing products are specifically designed for use on masonry, keeping moisture out while still allowing gas to pass through.

If you are experiencing a chimney leak, don’t delay – contact Jack Pixley Sweeps today! Our expert staff can find and repair the source of the leak and get you back to enjoying your fireplace faster!

 

Anatomy of your Chimney

Fireplaces continue to be beautiful additions to many homes. Additionally, many homeowners find that they rely on them in winter to add warmth and comfort to their homes.

Despite their popularity and widespread use, most people do not understand how their chimneys work. This can sometimes lead to homeowners misidentifying the cause of an issue or not realizing it is time for maintenance.

The following are some of the most important components of your chimney that many people are unfamiliar with. Learning more about the anatomy of your chimney can help you identify and understand any chimney issues you may have in the future.

anatomy-of-a-chimney-image-st-paul-minneapolis-jack-pixley-sweeps

Chimney cap

The chimney cap covers the top entrance of your flue, allowing smoke to safely exit while preventing water, animals, and debris from getting in. Uncapped chimneys or those with damaged caps are more likely to have issues with water damage, blockages, or animals nesting in the chimney.

Chimney crown

A chimney crown is a slab, typically made of concrete, which protects the masonry of your chimney. Damaged chimney crowns may allow water into the chimney structure or allow the masonry of the chimney to receive water damage.

Chimney chase cover

Similar to a chimney crown, a chimney chase cover protects the top of the chimney. Typically made of metal, chase covers were used regularly in the 1970s and 1980s with factory built or prefabricated chimneys. Over time, chimney chase covers may deteriorate, causing rust stains on the masonry of the chimney.

Chimney damper

The chimney damper separates the firebox from the flue. Open and closed using a pulley or a lever, the damper prevents heated or air conditioned air from escaping as well as minimizing drafts. Likewise, dampers help prevent moisture, debris, or animals from getting into the firebox. While dampers should be closed when the fireplace is not in use, the damper should always be opened before starting a fire to prevent smoke from backing up into a room.

Chimney flue

The chimney flue is the chamber through which smoke, gas, and other byproducts of combustion are vented to the outside.

Chimney flue lining

Chimney flue liners protect the surrounding building materials from the hot air, smoke, gas, and other byproducts of combustion that are travelling up the flue. There are three main types of flue linings: clay tiles, metal, or cast in place. Over time, creosote can build up on the flue lining. This byproduct of combustion is highly flammable, and it’s removal is the primary purpose of annual chimney sweepings.

Smoke chamber

The smoke chamber is designed to help compress smoke from the firebox into the flue without creating a backdraft. Smoke chambers are created with a sloping wall just above the firebox. A well designed smoke chamber with allow smoke, gas, and other byproducts of combustion to smoothly and quickly travel up the flue.

Smoke shelf

Located behind the damper, the smoke shelf is designed to catch any water or debris that enters the chimney. The smoke shelf also helps compress the large amounts of smoke created in the firebox to the much smaller entrance to the flue.

Chimneys are complex structures with a number of working parts that must be kept up in order to keep your fireplace working well. Contact the experts at Jack Pixley Sweeps today to schedule a sweeping and inspection to ensure your fireplace and chimney are in prime condition.

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