Of all the parts of the chimney system, the cap is one of the most important. The chimney cap protects your chimney year-round, so that it can work properly when you need it.
The Chimney Cap Keeps the Weather Out
During winter the chimney cap will keep snow and ice out of the chimney flue, but it keeps rain out year-round. Certain caps are designed to prevent wind from blowing down the flue as well, and still others can close completely to protect the chimney opening completely when the fire is out. These are called top-sealing dampers.
The Chimney Cap Keeps Wildlife Out
Anything that can climb onto or land on your roof can also climb into your flue opening. Small critters like squirrels and chipmunks can climb into your flue and back out again, leaving behind droppings and fur, and scratching your liner as they go. Larger animals like raccoons can climb into your flue and become stuck, obstructing airflow and suffocating, blocking the flue completely. Animal removal costs money, and a fire will cost dearly in insurance claims and repairs. It’s best to prevent animal intrusion, and what better way than protection from the top-down?
You can even invest in a chimney cap that keeps birds out of the flue. Small birds can slip into even the smallest opening, nesting in your flue and causing a raucous. One bird in particular, called the chimney swift, historically nested in hollow trees. As trees were cut down across the U.S., they began to dwindle in numbers, and now are federally protected. If you find chimney swifts in your flue, you cannot light a fire while they are there, and you cannot have them removed. They will leave on their own after they nest (about 90 days total), and then you will need to schedule a chimney sweep to clean away any nesting materials, feathers, or carcasses.
While some homeowners choose to let these birds nest in the flue, it’s easier to prevent it. It saves you money, and it definitely prevents a few months of bird noises in your chimney.
The Chimney Cap Keeps the Fire In
As fire burns, the hot air carries the gases and particles up the chimney. An extremely hot fire can push sparks and flames up the chimney flue, sometimes all the way out the top. Chimney caps prevent sparks from flying out the chimney and igniting debris on the roof and nearby on the ground.
When it comes to chimneys, all the parts work together to keep it working correctly. If water is allowed into the chimney, it can damage the masonry from the inside out. If animals are allowed into the chimney, they can bring down efficiency, cause obstruction, and fire. When sparks fly out the chimney, the roof or nearby grasses and shrubs can ignite, resulting in wildfires that can travel miles, destroying homes and wildlife. Without a chimney cap, your home is at a higher risk of damage.
Talk to a chimney expert at New Buck today about installing a chimney cap.