Chimney caps are essential. They’re the first defense against outside influences affecting and ruining your fire, your chimney, and possibly your finances. Since they sit atop the chimney flue, they protect the whole system from the top, preventing precipitation, wildlife, and drafts.
Chimney Caps Prevent Drafts During Burn Season
While you’re keeping a fire in your fireplace during the cold months, your chimney cap works to keep high winds from affecting your fire. The design of the cover should keep high winds from affecting your chimney, your flame, and the updraft that moves the smoke up the chimney. If you purchase a top-sealing damper, it acts as a chimney cap, but can be closed completely during the off-season with a tight, rubber seal, that prevents drafts and conditioned air loss during the summer.
Chimney Caps Keep Weather Out
Annual precipitation can add up, and if you don’t prevent it with a chimney cap, the water, snow, sleet, and hail will fall directly into your chimney opening. One of the most devastating things that can happen to a masonry chimney is water penetration. In fact, because of what makes up masonry, water destroys it from the inside out. The chimney cap is one vital way to prevent water from getting into your chimney, causing damage to parts and masonry, foul odors, and leaks that can affect your walls, ceilings, and other materials in your home.
Chimney Caps Keep Wildlife Out
In the winter and spring especially there are small critters that may seek shelter in an open and inviting chimney. Squirrels, chipmunks, and birds are already on your roof as much as they are the trees, and if the chimney cap is missing, they can slip into the chimney flue easily. They might nest there and leave, or they may suffocate and die, leaving you with a foul-smelling chimney, and a dangerous blockage. Even if animals leave the flue unharmed, they can scratch and damage the flue liner and leave debris behind that is highly flammable. It’s best to just install a chimney cap and keep them out of the chimney altogether!
Chimney Caps Keep Sparks In
When a fire is burning especially hot and when items are burned that are not appropriate, like paper, leaves, or pine needles, sparks and flames can rise up the chimney along with the hot air and smoke. These sparks can fly out the flue and ignite any leaves or debris on the roof, sometimes even the shrubbery and dry grasses below. This is a recipe for disaster, and should be prevented. The metal mesh on the chimney cap, which also keeps critters out, has a dual purpose and deters sparks as well. The sparks and embers hit the mesh and fall right back into the fire.
The chimney cap may seem unimportant, as it’s out of sight, out of mind. It’s job is an important one, though, and if it becomes damaged or is missing you may have substantial damage before you notice.
Let West Texas Chimney and Venting Solutions check out your chimney cap along with your entire chimney inspection this spring. Call today to speak with a chimney expert or request an appointment online.