Why You Need a Chimney Cap
Without a chimney cap, there is an open hole that exposes your home to all kinds of potential problems, which sums up why the chimney topper is a must-have chimney component. Depending on the type of chimney cap you buy, it is relatively inexpensive to purchase and have installed; but it can save you thousands of dollars in repair for damages that are entirely preventable. Some of the problems you can avoid include animals entering your home through your chimney, a house fire started by a spark that escapes up the chimney, and moisture damage.
Keep Animals Out
When the weather turns cold, animals that venture to your roof will feel the warmth coming from the chimney. Animals sometimes build nests inside the chimney. Squirrels, for instance, can build a 4-foot-deep nest in less than a day. When a chimney is obstructed, there is a danger that harmful gases, including carbon monoxide, will back up into the home. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a leading cause of death by poisoning in the U.S.
Animals also leave behind smelly scat; and sometimes they die in the chimney, causing a horrendous stink.
From March to November in the Eastern U.S., a federally protected bird called the Chimney Swift commonly makes its home in chimneys. It is against federal law to remove the nests or the birds, which means homeowners must allow birds to nest in their chimneys for about a month. Approximately two weeks of that time it gets very noisy, as the young birds chirp loudly, waiting for their food. Chimney caps with wire mesh will keep these small birds and all other creatures out of your chimney.
Prevent Fire from Sparks
The wire mesh that keeps creatures out also serves the important purpose of preventing sparks from causing the roof or nearby combustibles to catch fire.
Keep Moisture Out
Rain, snow, sleet, and ice fall directly into the chimney when it doesn’t have a cap. Nothing causes more damage to a chimney than moisture. It causes masonry to break due to freezing and thawing cycles in winter. The entire chimney structure could be weakened by moisture. When the creosote in the chimney lining mixes with moisture, it can cause the flue to deteriorate. Anytime a flue is damaged, even with a small crack, combustible materials in the home can be exposed to extreme heat and cause a house fire. A damaged liner should be replaced before using the fireplace or wood stove again.
Potential Problems Caused by Chimney Caps
The benefits of chimney caps far outweigh the potential problems. It’s important to be sure the mesh on the chimney cap isn’t clogged, whether with creosote, leaves, or other kinds of debris. In heavy winter storms, it may be necessary to clear the cap of snow and ice, to ensure that there is no obstruction of the fumes in the chimney.
Some people are concerned that a chimney cap will hinder the draft and basically cause chimney problems. When a quality appliance is correctly installed by a professional chimney technician, however, the draft is often improved by the installation of a chimney cap.
Contact our licensed professionals for installation of a chimney cap or for an annual inspection and chimney cleaning.