Chimney caps are a lot like the topper on a Christmas tree, with one glaring difference-a chimney cap is much more than decoration. They’re vital organs to a chimney that should be well taken care of and replaced when needed.
Chimney caps come in many different designs, shapes and sizes. Just choosing the right one can be a chore sometimes. They’re generally made from some kind of metal, whether it’s copper, stainless steel or galvanized steel. Some are better quality than others, and some look better than others. No matter which type of chimney cap you have, however, it should be inspected regularly and replaced when necessary.
Inspecting the Chimney Cap
Inspection of the chimney cap should occur right alongside your annual chimney inspection. If the cap becomes clogged with creosote or begins to come loose from the chimney, it can hinder the proper functioning of the chimney and/or allow unwanted things inside your chimney. The first thing to inspect is how securely the cap is attached to the structure and the next thing to inspect is the assembly of the chimney cap. Over time, whether it’s due to the weather, the heat of the chimney or animals, parts of the chimney cap may begin loosening. The metal top of the cap could have warped over the years and could be pulling away from the sides.
Another thing to check is that the metal mesh is in good shape. Just because it’s there to keep birds and animals out doesn’t mean they won’t still try to get in. Hopefully, the mesh will be in good shape when one of your friendly neighborhood squirrels starts tugging at it.
When to Replace your Chimney Cap
Any time you’ve had a chimney fire, the cap should be replaced. Chances are, it’ll be warped and damaged beyond recognition, leaving you no choice but to replace it. If your cap is on a metal chimney liner, and you’ve had a chimney fire, you’ll have to replace the liner as well as the cap. The chimney cap protects the upper opening of your chimney and prevents rainwater, debris, and animals from entering. Inspect it regularly and, if necessary, don’t be hesitant to have it replaced by a certified chimney sweep.