When thinking of what a chimney looks like, most people conjure up an image of a tall brick chimney sticking straight up from a roofline. What many fail to consider is what should go on top of that chimney – a chimney cap.
Often forgotten about, chimney caps serve a number of purposes in maintaining the health of your fireplace and chimney system. Despite the fact that some homeowners choose to keep their chimneys uncapped or fail to make necessary cap repairs, below are five reasons why you should replace your chimney cap.
1. Chimney caps prevent water entry
The primary purpose of chimney caps is also the one that is most helpful for the health and longevity of your chimney and fireplace. Chimney caps prevent water from entering your fireplace system by protecting the top of the flue. By preventing water from damaging the many components of your chimney and fireplace, a chimney cap will extend the life of your fireplace and prevent expensive damage or repairs.
2. Chimney caps prevent animal entry
By covering the top of the flue, small mammals such as squirrels, raccoons, or birds are unable to get into the chimney itself. While animals in a chimney might seem like a minor nuisance, it can quickly escalate into a major problem. Most animals are unable to find their way back out of the chimney once they’ve gotten in, becoming scared, disoriented, and making the telltale frantic scratching noises that indicate their presence. Likewise, fireplaces cannot be used while animals are present as the smoke is toxic to them. Animals should be professionally removed to ensure the safety of both the animals and the family living in the home.
Rather than dealing with the hassle of animal removal, install a chimney cap to prevent the animals from getting in in the first place!
3. Chimney caps prevent debris build up
Just as leaves and branches can clog up gutters, so too can they block chimneys. Without a chimney cap, flues are open to the elements, including having leaves, branches, twigs, trash, or other debris fall into the chimney structure. This debris not only prevents smoke from properly exiting the chimney, but can also create a fire hazard if it were to ignite. A correctly installed and properly maintained chimney cap protects the top of the flue and prevents debris from getting in.
4. Chimney caps prevent downdrafts
If the wind is blowing in a certain direction, uncapped chimneys may experience downdrafts. Downdrafts, or negative pressure, force outside air back into the home. When the fireplace is in use, this can cause smoke to flow back into the home or create an unpleasant, smoky odor. Chimney caps prevent wind from blowing straight down and into the chimney structure.
5. Chimney caps prevent fires
Stray sparks and embers sometimes travel up chimneys. If a chimney is uncapped, these embers may land on the roof or nearby structures and cause an accidental fire. Chimney caps, sometimes called spark arrestors, are made of metal and designed to keep embers off of the roof, preventing house fires.
While they are often forgotten, chimney caps should not be ignored. They play a vital part in maintaining the health of your fireplace and chimney system. If your chimney cap is damaged, needs to be replaced, or your home does not have an existing chimney cap, contact the experts at Cooperstown Services today!