A Protective & Decorative Feature for the Rooftop A chimney cap is designed to protect the interior of the chimney along with the mortar crown area on the chimney top. Many homeowners often question whether this chimney component is necessary to the function and stability of the chimney or not. In truth, the cap is highly effective and can prevent a variety of mishaps from occurring that could cost the homeowner a lot of money in avoidable chimney repair.
While the chimney cap is not necessary in the function of using the fireplace, it serves other valuable functional purposes. These include adding a layer of protection against invading critters from entering into the house. In addition, the chimney cap is designed to keep out moisture and is effective at protecting the roof from escaping burning embers that could cause a home fire.
Protecting against Animals
During the cold and cool months of the year, many marauding animals, including squirrels and birds will walk along the roof. While up there, they will recognize that the chimney provides warmth and at times, shelter. Birds will choose to nest on top of the chimney, or inside the chimney flue. Squirrels will set up deep nests within hours. Placing a chimney cap that has mesh siding can provide a level of protection in preventing these animals from claiming a homestead in the chimney, or down inside the residence.
Animals that nest on and in the chimney pose a challenging problem, in that it blocks the path where gases and smoke are required to escape from the interior of the home, out through the chimney. The harmful gases typically backup into the home and can cause smoke damage and possibly poisoning from carbon monoxide.
Moisture and Fire
Ice, snow and rain can all create serious issues for the chimney if they are allowed to penetrate down through the chimney flue. High levels of moisture can cause significant deterioration issues within the chimney structure, especially when mixed with soot. The freeze/thaw cycle of snow and ice inside the flue can cause significant issues on the walls of the masonry chimney, along with its crown and liner.
Moisture that is allowed to penetrate into the chimney flue can cause severe cracks to the chimney structure during the cold months that often result in the need of costly repairs. Additionally, burning embers rising up from the fire in the fireplace can cause damage or spread fire across the roof if not stopped by a chimney cap.
Chimney Cap Varieties
There are different varieties of chimney caps available including those crafted out of stainless steel, galvanized metal, and copper.
- Stainless Steel Caps – Stainless steel is an effective metal in a crafted chimney cap, because it will not rust, or cause any discoloration to the stucco, mortar or brick on the home.
- Galvanized Chimney Caps – The most inexpensive option for installing a chimney is to use galvanized metal. However, there is a significant downside in that it needs to be painted and repainted nearly every year. Additionally, it is often recommended not to use galvanized metal when using gas logs. This is because the exhaust is usually highly caustic, which tends to corrode the cap in a couple of years.
- Copper Chimney Caps – Copper is the most aesthetically pleasing material for a chimney cap. Copper chimney caps are durable and can withstand the caustic corrosive exhaust that emanates from gas logs. They can be crafted in a variety of architectural designs and weather beautifully when left untreated, or can be protected to maintain its high quality copper finish.
Installing chimney caps requires specific precautions including the need to wear gloves due to the sharp edges. In addition, the high heat caused by a metal flue can ruin the silicone sealant. The chimney caps are an essential component to the home that can maintain the longevity of the chimney and the safety of the house. If you would like to browse our selection of copper chimney caps, click here to start shopping now!