Your chimney is a complex structure that has a number of different parts and pieces, all designed to help your fireplace operate safely, efficiently, and effectively. One of the most important parts of your chimney is the chimney cap, which helps protects your fireplace and flue.
What is a chimney cap?
Chimney caps are fitted metal hoods with mesh sides that are designed to cover the entrance to the top of the flue. Chimney caps are typically constructed of stainless steel or other durable metals such as copper.
While chimney caps play an extremely important role in protecting your fireplace system, they can also be more decorative in an effort to add curb appeal to your home or continuity with the existing exterior style. Many chimney caps now come in a variety of sizes, styles, and materials in order to better fit your home’s style.
Benefits of a capped chimney
Although chimney caps can be a decorative way to spice up your roofline, they serve a far more important purpose. While the damper seals off the firebox from the rest of the chimney structure, it is the chimney cap that is responsible for keeping the flue protected. Having a capped chimney can help protect your home against these three major causes of chimney damage.
Animal entry: Birds, raccoons, squirrels, and roof rats view chimneys as a safe and protected place to escape from predators or seek shelter from the weather. Unfortunately, animals can seriously damage your flue and fireplace. Nesting materials, food, or animal droppings are flammable and can create blockages in the flue. Likewise, most animals cannot navigate the slippery flue tiles and find themselves stuck; if they die, this can create extremely unpleasant odors and affect your home’s air supply.
Debris: Without a chimney cap, anything that finds its way onto your roof is also at risk of falling into the flue. This includes leaves, twigs, sticks, blowing trash, and even stray balls and Frisbees. These items can damage your chimney in two ways. First, they can scratch or damage the tiles of your flue liner. Second, falling debris can get stuck and cause a blockage, preventing gas and smoke from properly venting.
In addition to keeping debris out, a chimney cap also keeps sparks in. The mesh sides of the chimney cap prevent any hot embers that managed to get up the chimney from getting onto your roof, significantly reducing the risk of accidental house fire while the fireplace is in use.
Water damage: The most significant way a chimney cap protects your home is by preventing water entry. Water can quickly damage your chimney system, causing masonry to crack and spall and metal parts to rust. Likewise, water in the flue itself can often lead to mold growth; chimney mold can not only produce extremely unpleasant odors, but may also be detrimental to the health of you and your family.
If you have questions about your chimney cap, contact Mason’s Chimney Service today. Our highly trained technicians will happily answer any questions about these extremely important pieces of your chimney, as well as help you find the right chimney cap for your home.