A chimney without a cap is like an open window in your home, but not every chimney has a cap. A chimney cap, also known as a flue top cap, covers the open flue to keep rain, pests, and debris from getting inside the chimney and blocking the flue pipe. In addition, an outside mount chimney cap covers the entire chimney and chimney crown, providing additional protection against weather-related damage. Here are four reasons why every chimney needs a cap on top.
One of the primary reasons to install a chimney cap is to keep water out of the flue. Water can be very destructive to chimneys, especially when it leaks through an uncapped flue. It progressively weakens the interior masonry, damages the flue liner, and rusts the damper, eventually making the fireplace unsafe to operate due to the increased fire risk and exposure to harmful fumes. Moisture inside the chimney can also promote the growth of mold and mildew that can spread throughout your home.
Installing a chimney cap will also help block downdrafts when you’re using the fireplace. Southern Middle Tennessee and Tennessee Valley is no stranger to strong wind gusts. They can occur at any time, even on seemingly clear days. If one of these strong gusts happens to be over your chimney, it can create a sudden downdraft that fills your living room with smoke, soot, and debris. A downdraft can also increase exposure to harmful carbon monoxide fumes.
Without a chimney cap, birds, raccoons, squirrels, and other small animals will migrate into the flue. While they are camping inside the chimney, they often build nests that can impede the venting of smoke and fumes. In addition, outside debris like leaves and twigs can also be blown in and clog the flue pipe. When the smoke and fumes cannot vent outside, a dangerous backdraft can occur, filling your home with smoke and carbon monoxide. As the organic matter decays, it causes a foul odor that can permeate throughout your house. It also attracts rodents and pests that can enter the home.
Many chimney caps also feature a spark arrestor that contains the hot embers and sparks that can occur while you’re enjoying the glowing flames in your wood-burning fireplace. If you don’t have a chimney cap, burning embers can fly out an open flue and land on your roof or a nearby tree branch and spark a fire. The risk of fire from embers or sparks is even greater when birds’ nests, leaves, twigs, and other combustible materials are in or near the flue.
A chimney cap is an affordable safety feature that provides valuable benefits for protecting your chimney, fireplace, home, and family. It should be installed on every chimney. We have a wide variety of chimney caps, including custom chimney caps ensuring a perfect fit for any chimney. Since proper chimney cap installation is essential, they should only be installed by a certified chimney technician. Our CSIA-Certified technicians install chimney caps throughout our Northern Alabama/Tennessee Valley service area.