We hope everyone enjoyed their holiday! The cold season is when most people start using their fireplace more to stay warm, this is the perfect time to look into a custom chimney cap.
Chimney Caps are protective coverings for chimneys that prevent water, debris and small animals such as rodents and birds from entering as well as keeping embers from exiting your chimney.
Often, these animals will end up in the interior of a home causing damage and some creepy sounds via the chimney.
Chimney caps will also prevent sparks and burning material from flying out of the chimney which could create a fire hazard. Chimney caps may also be designed to enhance air flow and draft allowing for higher quality fires within the fire box. Both gas powered fireplaces with ceramic logs and wood burning fireplaces need chimney caps.
How Do Chimney Caps Work?
The top of a chimney cap is a roof that looks and acts like an umbrella by diverting water and snow away from the opening at the top of the chimney. Rainwater, snow and ice will cause serious damage if allowed to enter a chimney.
Freezing and thawing water will cause cracks and ruptures damaging the protecting seal inside the chimney that prevents burning sparks from penetrating into the structure of the home that is not fireproof. Sparks that land in imperfections in the chimney will smolder and start chimney fires.
Over time, home fireplaces without chimney caps break down and are no longer usable as fireplaces. Enough damage can be caused that a fireplace may never again be usable. Rainwater, snow and ice will also enter a home interior without the protection of a chimney cap and cause some serious water damage inside the home.
The roof of a chimney cap is raised above the top of the chimney, held up by rods or little joists which keep the cap elevated providing clearance from the chimney. The distance between the cap and the top of the chimney allow the air and smoke from a fire in the fireplace to blow out while keeping rain, snow and ice from entering the home through the chimney.
Around the joists of the chimney cap is a tightly secured screen or sometimes the screen will be out of view at the base of the chimney cap. The screen prevents debris and small animals from entering the chimney.
Leaves, twigs and dust blow into unprotected chimneys, eventually the collections of debris will inhibit air flow and prevent a fire from being safely ventilated from the inside of the home to the outside.
Chimney Caps Keep Intruders Out
In the winter, small animals including rodents and birds are attracted to chimneys because chimneys are warm places. Bird nests will completely block a chimney creating a scenario for a dangerous home fire. Birds have entered homes this way as well as baby birds falling out of nests into the firebox.
Many rodent infestations in homes have been caused by rodents entering through chimneys. Properly designed and installed chimney caps provide protection from these intruders.
Save Lives With a Chimney Cap
Many people believe that sparks or burning ash from a fireplace will extinguish as they travel up the chimney. This is simply not the case. Home fires are frequently started by burning material exiting the chimney and landing on something flammable like a pile of leaves or old wooden shingles. The screen on a chimney cap saves lives. Ask any firefighter.
A chimney cap will increase the draft and support a cleaner burning fireplace just by keeping the chimney dry and clear of debris that obstructs air flow.
Specially engineered chimney caps can also enhance the draft and even overcome some poor chimney designs by turbines that are incorporated into the chimney cap. The turbines are powered by the warm air created by the fire in the fireplace that rises. The spinning turbine will draw more air from the burning fire into the chimney and create a more efficient fire and cleaner healthier air in the home interior.
Properly installed chimney caps are affordable ways to prolong the life of fireplaces and chimneys, as well as keep your home and family safe and healthy.
Stand Out on the Block
Chimney caps can also be items of great architectural beauty that will show off fine quality masonry or be a stunning top ornament on any home. Custom chimney caps can be painted to coordinate with the exterior of a home. They also can be fabricated in copper with both smooth and hammered finishes for that weathered look to add character. Many people are very happy with an aluminum finish that does not require any additional painting.
In any case, a chimney cap installed by an expert will prolong the life of the chimney as well as add value while keeping the home safe. Plus, they look good on any household fortunate enough to have a fireplace.
If you wish to add a custom chimney cap to your chimney or wish to know more info about what would work best for your home please contact me, I am happy to help.