Your chimney cap is the first line of defense for your chimney. It protects the flue opening from the top year-round. The design of a chimney cap can be simple. Usually it is constructed of a stainless steel or copper top and a mesh cage beneath it. The cap is secured to the top of the chimney and works together with the chimney crown. This prevents water intrusion from the top of the system.
Through the year there can be over 24 inches of precipitation in the form of rain and snow. Consequently, even more than that on average in Seattle. That’s why it’s often called the wettest area in the U.S. Without a chimney cap to cover your flue opening, this precipitation falls directly into your chimney system. Water intrusion is the most detrimental thing that can happen to your masonry. It damages it from the inside out, undetected until substantial damage has occurred. The best way to prevent water from entering the system from the top? A chimney cap combined with a chimney crown. For other information about waterproofing, click here.
Chimney Caps Keep Wildlife Out
Weather is not the only thing that can fall into a chimney. Some wild critters can crawl down the chimney and nest there. The harsh winter is a time when animals seek the dry, warm shelters. Just like one that is offered by an unprotected chimney flue. Small animals like squirrels and chipmunks can easily slip into a chimney flue undetected. During spring, birds can often be heard flitting around and chattering inside a chimney flue as they nest there, safe from predators.
If animals are allowed to nest or hibernate in your chimney, they leave behind debris. In addition, even become suffocated, stuck, causing a dangerous blockage. Not to mention foul odors that can permeate your entire house. It’s best to have a cap installed so that critters can’t get into your system. Even if they climb in and out without nesting, they can still claw the liner. Thus, leading to a weakness and eventually deterioration.
Chimney Caps Keep Flames In
The mesh cage around the chimney cap doesn’t only keep wild animals out of your chimney flue, but also is a spark deterrent. Unruly flames often throw sparks up a chimney along with the smoke and vapors that rise on a swift updraft. If these sparks are allowed to escape the flue opening, they can ignite leaves, sticks, and any other debris on the roof, even sometimes reaching the ground below. It may seem like a rare occurrence, but it is possible, especially if you have debris on the roof and certain, more flammable roofing materials.
Chimney caps are just one step in preventing damage and extra costs in repairs later. You should take care to remember annual inspections and regular chimney sweeps that are vital to maintaining proper safety and efficiency of your entire system. Pristine Sweeps offers these routine services, as well as other preventative measures like waterproofing. Call Pristine Sweeps today at 206-574-8414 or schedule an appointment online.