While all parts of the chimney serve a specific purpose, few are as important as the chimney cap. A quality chimney cap can protect your entire fireplace system and keep it in good condition for years to come.
What is a chimney cap?
A chimney cap is a fitted metal hood that sits on top of the chimney structure and protects the top of the flue. Chimney caps have a solid top and mesh or wire sides. The solid top protects the chimney from moisture, animals, and debris while the open sides allow smoke and gas to safely vent.
Three ways a chimney cap protects your home
The following are three of the ways installing a chimney cap can protect your fireplace system.
1. Keep animals out
Raccoons, squirrels, birds, and other animals view chimneys as a safe, dark, enclosed and protected place to hide from predators and build nests. Unfortunately, animal entry can cause serious damage to your fireplace and chimney.
Animals damage the chimney and fireplace in a number of ways. First, they can scratch interior fireplace components such as the chimney liner. If your chimney has a clay tile liner, it may be necessary to reline the entire flue. Animal entry also increases the risk of chimney fire; nesting materials, food, and droppings can become dry in the flue and accidentally ignite from a stray spark or ember. The presence of animals in the chimney can also expose your family to diseases and pests such as lice or maggots – as well as the smells associated with a trapped animal.
2. Reduce risk of accidental fire
While fireplace safety and chimney maintenance significantly reduces the risk of chimney fire, chimney caps are an additional level of protection against accidental fires. First, the solid metal top and mesh sides act as spark catchers; it prevents embers, sparks, and hot coals from landing on the roof. Chimney caps also reduce the risk of fire by keeping debris out of the chimney. This keeps them from accumulating in the flue and drying out or catching fire.
3. Prevent water damage
Water from rain, sleet, snow, ice, and even sprinklers and hoses can be extremely damaging to your chimney. While fireplace and chimney components are designed to withstand extreme heat, even small amounts of moisture can cause significant damage.
Whether it is from a few droplets of a serious leak, water wreaks havoc throughout the chimney. Moisture can cause cracks in clay tile chimney liners, rust dampers, and even damage surrounding insulation, ceilings, and building materials. The combination of water along with the dark, moist chimney can also lead to mold and mildew growth.
Have your chimney cap inspected today!
A quality, well fitting chimney cap is an important part of protecting your entire chimney system. Contact the experts at Jack Pixley Sweeps to schedule your next chimney cap inspection. Our expert staff of CSIA certified chimney sweeps can ensure your chimney cap is in good condition, recommend necessary repairs, or even help you find a new chimney cap for your fireplace system.