Your chimney has a lot of important parts, but we’d say none serve quite as many functions as the chimney cap. This important, affordable, and quick-to-install piece of chimney anatomy sits right at the top of your flue, and it plays a big role in protecting your home and chimney. If yours is broken down or missing altogether, be sure to call in our experts right away.
But what are these many functions? Read below to get the inside scoop on it all.
1. Keep Water Out
What chimney caps are most well-known for is keeping out water. Rainfall and excess moisture can do a lot of damage to your chimney, and if it enters through the top, your smoke shelf, damper, firebox, and masonry will all suffer immensely. In fact, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) has labeled water as chimney’s number one enemy!
If you’re experiencing issues due to water damage or chimney leaks, don’t put off professional care. The longer you wait, the worse things will get, and easy fixes could turn into expensive (and time-consuming) repairs in a hurry.
2. Avoid Liner Damage
Your chimney liner is what keeps your home and masonry protected from harmful fumes and flames, and it needs to be fitted correctly and in good condition to do its job effectively. Without one in place, you’ll be more at risk for carbon monoxide exposure, house fires, chimney fires, and more.
As Certified Chimney Reliners, we know all about why a liner may fail. And a big reason is damage related to a missing (or ineffective) chimney cap. If harmful debris and water has easy access to the interior of your system, you can bet your liner – and subsequently your home and chimney – will suffer for it.
3. Block Out Debris
It’s not uncommon for windy days to blow in outside debris, like leaves, grass clippings, twigs, and more. As these build up in the flue, they can easily cause clogs and block airflow. This leads to inefficiency when you light your fires, and it can put your home at risk in numerous ways, too (think fire hazards, smoke backup, and gas leaks).
4. Prevent Downdrafts
Downdrafts can mess with the temperature of your home, bring in foul odors, and affect your indoor air quality. Let’s face it – when your house is shut up tight, you want it that way! And any unwelcome winds from the fireplace can really put a damper on things. Chimney caps help to stop downdrafts dead in their tracks, leaving you with one less thing to stress about.
5. Steer Animals Away
There’s a lot your chimney can offer a nesting bird or a family of squirrels. It’s a sturdy structure that can guard them from winds and harsh weather, while also keeping them hidden away from potential predators – and it’s probably pretty cozy in there, too. Unfortunately, their nesting materials can clog things up fast, and we’re guessing they’ll invite some pretty foul odors, too.
Along with all that, some critters (like the chimney swift, for example) legally cannot be removed by humans. Once they’re in, you’ll have to wait until they leave before investing in chimney services or lighting any fires.
The best option (for you and the animals) is to keep them out from the very beginning. With a professionally installed chimney cap in place, this won’t be a problem.
6. Stop Stray Sparks
We do everything in our power to keep your fireplace safer and well-maintained, but once flames are lit, the fire itself isn’t always so easy to control. Stray sparks are sometimes known to work their way up where they can land on flammable roofing materials or piles of leaves that have built up by your chimney. Chimney caps will put them out before they can get that far.
7. Save You Money
If you reread everything we’ve listed this far, you’ll notice that every way a chimney helps you out also saves you money, whether it’s preventing damage to your chimney, preventing damage to your home, or simply keeping your energy bills in check.
In the end, investing in an affordable cap now can save you loads on big repair jobs (and replacement parts) down the line.
8. Keeps You Safer
Finally – and most importantly – chimney caps keep you, your home, and your family safer. All of the hazards we’ve mentioned (carbon monoxide exposure, smoke inhalation, chimney fires, house fires, etc.) all invite a lot of risks, and they all cause numerous injuries, multiple deaths, and all types of expensive home damage throughout the United States every single year.
Most of these things can be avoided, though, with a little professional help. Be sure to invest in the care you deserve right away!
Schedule Your Annual Inspection Today
The best way to ensure your system is safer for use and running as efficiently as possible is to invest in annual inspections. If you have yet to book yours, call us now to get it on the calendar! (And avoid the fall rust, while you’re at it.)
Reach out online or call us at 530-841-1841 to get started. We’d love to speak with you about all of your chimney and fireplace needs!