One of the major causes of chimney deterioration is water damage. Moisture can wreak havoc on all parts of the chimney and fireplace system, causing bricks and mortar to crumble and metal parts and pieces to rust. However, nearly all water entry can be prevented through good preemptive maintenance.
A rain cap, also known as a chimney cap, is one of the most important parts of a chimney when it comes to keeping moisture out of the chimney. Without a rain cap, the chimney is completely open to the elements, allowing both water and debris into the chimney structure. Even when present, if they are not improperly installed, damaged, or do not fit the chimney correctly, water can still find its way into the chimney.
What is a rain cap?
Rain caps are specially made pieces that are designed to fit the top of the chimney structure. Typically made of metal, rain caps are designed to withstand long term exposure to the elements. Despite this, rain caps can lose their effectiveness over time, becoming damaged, cracking, or shifting from their original position.
While the purpose of these rain caps might seem insignificant, they play a major role in chimney safety and maintenance. Underwriters Laboratories, an international independent safety science company, specifies that “any chimney lining system that is to be listed to their test standard must include a chimney cap.”
Reasons to install a rain cap
Although most homes already have rain caps in place, some homes have damaged rain caps or are missing one entirely. If your home is missing a rain cap or has one that is damaged, here are five ways installing a rain cap could help your chimney.
- Rain caps reduce moisture –
Water from rain, ice, sleet, and snow is unable to enter the chimney. This protects the bricks and mortar of the chimney structure, which are porous and can be easily damaged by water entry. Likewise, they protect the liner along with other metal parts of the chimney in addition to reducing the growth of mold and mildew.
- Prevent animal entry – Birds and small mammals are known to crawl into and nest within unprotected chimneys. Nesting materials, animal droppings, or in some cases animal carcasses can cause extremely unpleasant odors in addition to creating fire hazards and blockages in the chimney.
- Block downdrafts – Without a rain cap, wind can blow smoke and gas back down the chimney and into your home while the fireplace is in use. Rain caps have flat or slightly slanted tops, preventing down drafts from effecting your fireplace use.
- Stop escaping sparks – In addition to keeping the rain and wind out, rain caps also serve as spark arrestors. This means that they help to prevent embers or sparks that travel up the chimney from landing on the roof and potentially causing a house fire.
- Prevents debris – Without a rain cap, branches, leaves, twigs, and other debris can fall into the chimney structure. These materials can create a fire hazard, potentially igniting and causing a chimney fire. Debris can also block the chimney, preventing smoke and gas from exiting and causing it to flow back into the house.
If you need to have a new rain cap installed or an existing rain cap repaired or replaced, contact New Buck Chimney Services today!