Does your Tennessee home have a chimney cap installed? Although chimney caps are not typically required to meet local building codes, they are an inexpensive accessory that can help protect your chimney and avoid thousandsin property damage and chimney repairs. So, if your home has an uncapped chimney, here are five reasons to have a chimney cap installed.
Water is a significant risk to a masonry chimney that can lead to widespread damage and extensive repairs. If your chimney doesn’t have a cap installed, rain and snow will leak into the fireplace when the damper is open and collect on the damper when shut. The moisture will weaken the interior masonry, damage the chimney liner, and rust the damper. In addition, when humidity levels increase, the flue can become a breeding ground for fungus, including mold and mildew spores that can travel through the air to other parts of your house.
While you’re enjoying the crackling flames of a wood-burning fireplace, hot embers can splinter off, fly up the flue, and land on the roof or nearby brush, potentially igniting a roof or brush fire. Just recently, flames leaped out of a chimney and caused more than $10,000 in property damage to a home. Installing a chimney cap with a spark arrestor is a reliable and inexpensive way to reduce fire hazards, so your family can enjoy a safe fireplace experience.
The critters in your neighborhood like squirrels, raccoons, birds, and other wildlife will often enter the flue through an uncapped chimney when hunting for a warm, cozy place to build a nest. In some cases, they become permanent residents where they hatch their young and raise a family inside the chimney. When you open the damper to use the fireplace, they will scramble into your home. Having a chimney cap with a wire mesh screen installed will keep those curious critters in the neighborhood out of the chimney. However, if you hear animal noises like scratching, clawing, or gnawing in your chimney, don’t light the fireplace to smoke them out. Instead, contact A-1 Chimney Specialist or your local chimney sweep for the safe, humane removal of live animals in the chimney.
You never know when the wind will kick up, and if you don’t have a chimney cap installed, leaves, twigs, and other debris can clog the flue pipe. When a flue obstruction prevents the venting of harmful fumes from your wood or gas-burning fireplace, it can create a dangerous backdraft that forces plumes of smoke, soot, and hot debris into your living room. In addition to reduced indoor air quality, the smoke and fumes can irritate your eyes, throat, and skin. It also exposes household members to harmful carbon monoxide gas. So keeping leaves and debris from causing a dangerous chimney flue obstruction is a great reason to install a chimney cap.
Minimizing the exposure of a sudden downdraft is another excellent reason to have a chimney cap installed. The weather in Lynchburg and surrounding Southern and Middle Tennessee communities can be unpredictable. A strong gust of wind can send a burst of cold air down the exposed flue out of the blue. The sudden change in air pressure can cause a downdraft which has the same dangerous effect as a backdraft. The cooler air reduces your fireplace’s efficiency, creating more smoke, soot, and creosote that will require more frequent chimney sweeping.