When we ask homeowners about chimney crickets, many assume we mean the chirping insects. Crickets, however, are an important chimney component that helps protect your chimney and roof against water entry.
What is a chimney cricket?
When talking about crickets, we aren’t referring to having bugs in your chimney. A chimney cricket is a triangular or diamond shaped structure that is used in combination with your chimney flashing to divert water away from the chimney. While some homes have crickets build directly into the roof next to the chimney, others have metal crickets that are installed on top of the roof. Crickets are used as another barrier to help prevent water penetration around the chimney and can help take the pressure off of chimney flashing.
According to NFPA 211 Standards and International Residential Code, all homes with chimneys wider than 30 inches must have a cricket built onto the high side of the chimney. This helps move rainwater away from the flashing and masonry of the chimney, thus reducing the potential for leaks.
Why are crickets important?
Crickets play an important role in helping to prevent chimney leaks by protecting your chimney flashing at its most vulnerable point. Because it involves both the roof and the chimney, flashing is often the most vulnerable point on your chimney for water entry. As water flows down the roof and onto the upper backside of the chimney, the flashing at this point may deteriorate and lead to water entry faster. This area of the chimney receives the most amount of water exposure yet is least visible from ground level; because of this, a cricket can help minimize the chance of a chimney leak occurring and create a watertight seal that will last for years to come.
Do I need a cricket?
Whether or not your chimney needs a cricket depends on its size and location on the roof. Chimneys that are less than 30 inches wide may not need a cricket; this is because the larger the chimney is, the greater chance for water entry it has. Location can also impact whether or not your chimney needs a cricket. Unless your chimney is installed directly on the peak or ridge of your roof, however, it may need a cricket to prevent leaks.
If your home does not already have a cricket, installing one is a relatively easy fix. A certified chimney sweep can install a cricket on its own or as part of a flashing repair. Likewise, if your chimney does not currently have any issues with leaks or water entry a cricket can be installed while the home is being re-roofed.
A chimney cricket isn’t a bug; it is an important part of keeping your fireplace and chimney leak and water free. For more information on chimney crickets or to schedule a chimney inspection to check the condition of your cricket, contact New Buck Chimney Services today.