Fireplaces and chimneys are surprisingly complex structures with a number of parts, all working together to maximize safety and efficiency. One of the most important components of the chimney is the chimney cap; chimney caps help protect your fireplace against animals, debris, and moisture entry.


What is a chimney cap?Masonry Chimney Atop Roof - Seattle WA - Pristine Sweeps

Chimney caps are metal covers that sit on top of the chimney crown, covering and protecting the top of the flue. Most chimney caps are made out of galvanized metal or stainless steel, while some homes have more decorative – yet still functional – caps made out of more expensive materials such as copper.

In addition to covering the top of the chimney, chimney caps also have wire or mesh sides. This design allows smoke and gasses to easily vent out while preventing small animals or debris from finding their way in.

Because every chimney is different, it is often recommended to have your chimney technician create or order a custom fitted chimney cap. While this may seem unnecessary with so many standard sizes available, a custom fitted chimney cap can ensure there are no holes and gaps in how your chimney cap fits. Likewise, ordering a custom chimney cap can give your more design or material choices than a store bought cap.

Why are chimney caps important?

While some chimney caps are designed to add a decorative flair or aesthetic touch to your roofline, most serve an extremely functional – and important – purpose. Below are three of the ways that chimney caps protect your fireplace and flue.

  • Animal entry: From birds to raccoons to squirrels, many small animals view a chimney structure as the perfect place to escape predators or nest with their young. With metal mesh or wire sides, chimney caps protect these pests from getting into your chimney structure; unfortunately, even a small hole or area where the cap does not fit properly can be enough for an animal to get in.
  • Debris: Think of everything you clean out of your gutters each year: twigs, leaves, blowing trash like plastic bags, and even small balls or toys. Now imagine all of that debris falling into your chimney! Debris in the chimney doesn’t just damage your flue; it can create blockages that cause gasses or smoke to back up into your home as well as dry out to create a potential fuel source for chimney fires.
  • Moisture: Rain, sleet, ice, snow, and even water from hoses or sprinklers can all damage your fireplace or flue if allowed into the chimney. By covering the top of the flue, chimney caps stops water from getting in and helps to prevent chimney leaks from occurring.Your chimney cap is one of the most important components of your chimney, protecting the fireplace and flue from moisture, animals, and debris. If you think your chimney cap might be damaged or simply want to make sure it is still in great condition, contact Pristine Sweeps today to schedule a chimney inspection!