Chimney caps are exactly what their name suggests… a metal cover over the top of your chimney. Why is your chimney cap a big deal?
No matter what type of chimney you have (masonry or metal), a chimney cap serves several functions. First, it keeps burning embers from making their way out of your chimney and into the surrounding environment. If a burning ember lands on a roof, tree, or pile of leaves, it can easily smolder into a fire. Your neighbors would not appreciate a fire making its way through the neighborhood!
Second, in an area of frequent rainfall like Florida, the chimney cap protects the interior of the chimney from moisture. Everyone knows that moisture and metal don’t get along very well (rust!), but moisture and masonry don’t get along, either. If your chimney is uncapped, or your existing cap is damaged, moisture will get into your chimney and make its way into the interior of your home. This moisture not only degrades your chimney components over time, but may also lead to mold in your home. We often get calls related to “musty smells” emanating from the fireplace during the summer months – this is common when the fireplace is not being used, especially when the chimney cap is missing or damaged.
Another function of your chimney cap is to keep animals out. Squirrels, raccoons and birds like to create nests in chimneys – who knows why? Without a proper cap in place, these pests have direct access into the chimney. Nesting materials will block the flue and cause smoke and gases to fill your living room the next time you use your fireplace! Keep the critters out of your chimney system with a properly functioning cap.
Finally, a proper cap will help your fireplace draft better. A great chimney cap is especially important in windy areas – like our wonderful beaches!
Think you can install a cap yourself? Maybe, but professional installation is better to make sure it’s the correct style and size – otherwise it will do more harm than good. An incorrect chimney cap will interfere with your chimney’s draft and efficiency, as well as lead to more moisture instruction than it prevents. We at Chimney Champions prefer to install high quality stainless steel caps at a minimum, to ensure a long life and low maintenance.