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Chimney Caps: What They Are and What They Do

What Is a Chimney Cap?

Chimney caps are the protective coverings at the very top of your chimney. They are typically made of copper or steel mesh and are available in various styles to match the design of your home’s exterior. Sitting on top of the mesh ring is a cap that assists in protecting your chimney from rain and downdrafts.

What Does a Chimney Cap Do?

Helps Reduce Moisture

One of the best reasons to install a chimney cap is to reduce the moisture inside your house. If you live in a rainy area, you’re likely to get water in your chimney. You want to prevent this from occurring as much as possible.

Water trapped in your chimney can damage your chimney liners, dampers, and mortar joints. It will also potentially produce mold and mildew inside your chimney, which you absolutely don’t want in your house. It can also increase the humidity within your house, which can make your home’s atmosphere quite uncomfortable.

Helps Keep Animals Out

When fires are burning in your chimney every night, it doesn’t seem like a great place for animals to live. However, during the heat of the summer months, you might have any number of small creatures building nests in there. From squirrels to raccoons to birds, a lot of different animals may find your chimney a convenient place to set up their home.

This situation may not sound terrible— that is, until baby birds or squirrels start falling into your fireplace from the chimney. These animals will also leave behind their nests that can easily catch fire when you go to light a fire next year. Installing a chimney cap can keep these critters out of your chimney and save a lot of money in cleaning costs!

Helps Block Downdrafts

Even though it doesn’t seem like it, chimneys aren’t in fact a one-way passage for air to move out of our houses. It’s also a passage that allows air in— and if you live in a windy area when the wind is blowing in a certain direction— it can actually cause a downdraft. This is when the wind blows back down your chimney and into your home.

In the winter when you don’t have a fire lit, downdrafts can make your home much chillier. But if you have a fire going, you may wind up with smoke in your house. A chimney cap can get in the way of these downdrafts, keeping your home warm and smoke-free.

Helps To Stop Sparks

Have you ever watched sparks and embers from a campfire drift up into the night? The same thing happens in your chimney when you light a fire in your fireplace. And there’s nothing stopping one of those embers from drifting out of your chimney and landing on your roof.

Even one spark could light your roof on fire. If you’ve been keeping an eye on the wildfires in California, you’ll know it doesn’t take much, and it’s a risk you don’t want to take. A chimney cap with a spark arrestor can catch those embers before they make it out onto your roof, reducing your risk of a fire.

Helps Prevent Blocked Flues

If you clean out your gutters every year, you’ll know how much debris can come across your roof. Leaves from nearby trees, twigs, branches, and other materials can build up and cause problems. But what’s stopping all that debris from making its way into your chimney?

Without a chimney cap in place, all manner of debris can build up in your chimney. With the risk of the flue becoming blocked, leading to smoke and carbon monoxide back drafting into the home. Or When you light your first fire of the season, that debris can go up in flames and wind up catching your house on fire. Putting in a chimney cap can keep that debris out and your fireplace safe.