Of all the parts of the chimney system, the cap may be the most overlooked. Many homeowners don’t see the purpose in a chimney cap, and you can drive throughout any city and notice some chimneys without one at all. If you see a masonry chimney without a cap, you may also notice other things, like signs of water damage such as white stains and rust stains on the masonry. Not only can chimney caps make your chimney look nicer from the street, but it can protect your chimney’s masonry and keep your system working longer and more efficiently.
The Many Functions of Your Chimney Cap
The chimney cap is important because it protects the chimney from the top, down. Rainwater, snow, sleet, wind, animals—it all has to make it past your chimney cap to affect the chimney system at all.
Caps Keep Weather Out
Without a cap, precipitation is allowed directly into the flue. This can lead to a leaky chimney, rusted and damaged parts, deteriorated structure, ugly, damaged masonry, and more. The cap is designed to move the water off of the cap, and onto the chimney crown below, which is also designed to move the water off the chimney, and onto the flashing and roof below. Keeping water out of your chimney keeps it’s efficiency at its best, prevents water damage to your home and your chimney, and makes it easier to light and maintain a fire.
Caps Keep Animals Out
Any critter that can hop onto your roof can climb into your chimney system. In fact, chimneys are a popular habitat for wildlife during the spring. Installing a chimney cap can prevent raccoons, squirrels, chipmunks, and other furry critters from climbing into your flue and bringing their flammable bedding and fur with them. Oftentimes these animals get stuck and die in your flue, requiring a professional removal (only after stinking up the place). Even if they climb out themselves, they leave behind damage to the flue such as scratches in the liner. Birds may nest in your chimney in the spring, and if they do, they may not be able to be removed at all because chimney swifts specifically are federally protected.
Caps Keep Fire In
When you have an especially hot or unruly fire, sparks may rise up the chimney. If these sparks are allowed out of the flue, they can ignite debris on the roof such as leaves and branches, or even dry grasses and shrubs in your yard. Chimney caps are designed with spark guards, that prevent these sparks from escaping the cap and putting you and your home at risk of fire.
Types of Caps
At The Mad Hatter, we periodically get requests for caps with wind deflectors. These are a great option in windy climates. An option growing in popularity is top-sealing dampers. Not only do they work as a cap while the fire is burning, but they close your flue with a tight seal when the fireplace is not in use.
We install caps year-round, and we can install yours before spring. Call us at 317-596-0200 and ask us about our chimney caps today.