The Importance of Chimney Caps

While chimney caps are useful for many reasons throughout the year, this upcoming season is a time to consider getting one installed, if you haven't already.

It's as simple as stepping outside and craning your neck upward toward your roof and seeing if there is a nice little "tent" over the top of a gaping pipe.  The chimney may also look flat on top and then you know there is nothing covering the opening.

Especially in the upcoming warmer weather, our feathered friends will be looking for fancy places to make their nests for their new offspring.  The chimney is a great place for this.  It's warm, protected from larger creatures, out of reach, and out of the wind.  I am sorry to say how many birds came to a gloomy ending due to their choice of home, not to mention the potential damage to the brick work and smell the can come into the home.  

It's not just birds!  We've seen bats, mice, and squirrels caught in a chimney and can't get their way out.  You know it because you hear it, (or worse, they come into your house).

And, it's not just animals.  A chimney cap keeps moisture out.  Too much moisture compromises the integrity of the masonry.  Water can run between bricks and with increasing and decreasing temperatures, can cause a split.  This leads to damage and decay in your chimney, leading to costly repairs and potentially a whole chimney rebuild down the road.

Most importantly,  a chimney cap prevents burning embers from rising up the chimney, landing on the roof, and starting a house fire.  According to www.ready.gov, "Each year more than 2,500 people die and 12,600 are injured in home fires in the United States, with direct property loss due to home fires estimated at $7.3 billion annually."  Home fires can be prevented!  

We have seen some interesting accomodations over the years, including screwing sheet metal over the opening at the top of the chimney.  This is obviously bad for many reasons.  The chimney is there to allow the smoke to come out, carrying with it inhalation particles and sooty smoke.  We have also seen chimney pipes blocked with towels or rags.  Either way, covering the opening is not a good way to go.  Air needs to come in for a good flowing fire and ventilation needs to be accessible for smoke by products to escape.

The fix is actually very simple and quite inexpensive.  A chimney cap can easily be ordered to fit your chimney and installed at the same time as your annual chimney cleaning and inspection.  Just alert our staff when you schedule your appointment.