A chimney cap is a fairly affordable installation. Still, many homeowners question whether they really need to spend the money to fix or repair their chimney cap. While it may seem like a simple thing, the truth is every chimney needs a chimney cap. Otherwise, your chimney is just a large hole that leads directly into your house! Chimney caps are not merely decorative; this cap helps protect your home from many hazards. Here are several issues that can come up without a proper cap.
Clogs and Debris
A chimney cap keeps animals, leaves, and other debris from falling into your chimney. Without a cap, leaves, sticks, and even animals will lead to a blockage. As you can imagine, a clogged chimney is bad news: it can lead to a chimney fire or allow smoke into your home.
What happens to the burning embers from your fire when they get to the top of your chimney flue? If you don’t have a cap, the embers will fly out of the flue and may land on your chimney or roof, potentially causing a dangerous house fire.
The number one enemy to every uncapped chimney is water. Without a cap, ice, snow, and rain will all fall down your flue. This will damage the interior of the chimney in several ways. As the water thaws and freezes, it will cause cracks in your chimney lining that damages the masonry and weakens the structure. The water can also cause structural damage to your home and wear down the chimney crown.
Types of Chimney Caps
There are many types of chimney caps you can buy, although not all are equal. The most basic chimney cap will protect your home against weather damage, although you may want to upgrade to a wind-resistant chimney cap to avoid downdrafts. If you want to keep animals from getting into the chimney, a cap with protective screening is a good investment.
Pay special attention to the material when choosing a cap. Galvanized steel will quickly rust. This means more than an eyesore; the rust also causes the attachment screws to fail, which means a strong wind can blow the cap right off. Aluminum, on the other hand, breaks down quickly and can be damaged by animals. Consider having your chimney contractor install a stainless steel chimney cap as it requires very little maintenance and looks great for decades.
Remember: while a chimney cap is a very affordable and minor installation, it can avoid many big issues down the road.