Of all of the parts, pieces, and functions of your chimney system, the chimney cap may be the most valuable. It’s one of the most effective preventative measures you can take as a homeowner, and it’s an affordable way to add a decorative touch to your chimney top.
Preventing Water Damage
Prevention is key to keeping your chimney functional. In order for your chimney to be safe and efficient, it should be protected against damaging elements like water. Water can wreak havoc on your masonry because the materials that make up masonry (metal, brick, mortar, flue tile, steel, and cast iron) are adversely affected by moisture. Especially damaging is the freeze/thaw cycle once the water has penetrated the chimney.
Moisture in small or large amounts can lead to a full system failure, including: rusted damper assemblies and fireplace accessories, deteriorated firebox assemblies, flue lining, central heating systems, rotting wood and ruined wall coverings, water-stained walls, ceilings, and chimney, decayed mortar, collapsed hearth support, collapsed chimney structure, and chimney settlement. Even a small amount of water in the chimney is too much water in the chimney.
Preventing Animal Habitation
Another reason homeowners choose to have chimney caps installed is because the chimney is a perfect habitat for wild animals. During cold months the chimney offers a warm, dry place for wildlife like birds and squirrels to nest and hibernate. This can lead to nesting materials and even trapped and dead animals obstructing the chimney flue. When there is an obstruction, the chimney’s efficiency declines because the draft is compromised and vented air is slowed. This doesn’t only lower efficiency, but also raises the risk of fire. When the draft is compromised and air is slowed, the hot air stalls in the flue and can ignite the soot or creosote there.
Preventing Sparks from Escaping
When the fire is burning hot and the updraft is strong, there may be more than just hot air going up the chimney. There can be sparks rising up the chimney flue, and if there isn’t a chimney cap the sparks can fly out the top, possibly igniting leaves and debris on the roof and flammable materials on the ground around the home.
It is never a good idea to let your chimney go without a cap because of the added risk, lowered efficiency, and risk of damage.
The best way to avoid extensive damages and expensive repairs is to hire a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS) to install a chimney cap before it becomes a problem. Only a certified chimney sweep has the training and expertise to choose the right cap for your chimney system and to install it correctly, putting your safety and comfort first.
Call a Brickliners chimney sweep today and experience the advantage of hiring a CSIA member to complete your chimney services. You can also request an appointment online for your convenience.