Chimneys are a wonderful thing. Not only do they add to the aesthetic beauty of a home, but they also help keep your family safe from the smoke and harmful gases that would leak into your house without them. So, since they are so important to protecting your family, it is imperative that they be protected themselves. That is where a chimney cap can come in handy. Chimney caps are not required on chimneys, however they are highly recommended by professionals all over the world.
One reason that they are highly recommended for all chimneys is that they prevent rainwater from getting into the chimney liner. Water is one of a home’s worst enemies. A chimney is part of the home, so water is also a danger to that as well. A chimney cap stops water from entering the chimney liner or flue by directing it away from the center and off the sides of a chimney. If that water were to get into the chimney liner or flue, it could cause the rapid deterioration of the chimney and cause more problems that you would want to deal with.
The second reason that you should have a chimney cap is because is also keeps debris such as leaves, twigs and trash floating through the air out of your chimney. If you live in a place with a lot of trees nearby, you have seen what happens when those trees shake their leave from their branches in autumn. You have probably been outside on a cold day raking those leaves out of your yard. Imagine those leaves inside of your chimney. Imagine sticks falling from tree that hover above your chimney or a random piece of litter that is blowing by on a windy day getting into your chimney. The chimney has suddenly become a giant trash can. Granted, most chimneys will not experience such heavy build up of debris. However, it does not take much to start a chimney fire or hinder the draft of your chimney. A chimney cap, along with the metal grating or mesh that wraps around the outside of it will stop debris such as this from entering your chimney. It may be necessary to go up and clear the netting of the leaves that it catches, but doing that is much easier than getting all of those leaves out of the chimney flue.
Reason number three for having a chimney cap is that it will also keep birds and animals out of your chimney. A chimney makes a great place for an animal to build its nest. It is dark, warm and safe from other predators, save for the adventurous household cat. The wire mesh or netting that wraps around the outside of the chimney cap will keep these critters out of your chimney. An animal in your chimney may eventually make its way into your home. Then, there will be another set of issues to deal with.
We now know what the chimney cap can keep out of your chimney. However, there is also something important that it keeps in the chimney as well. That is, large sparks that make their way up the chimney flue. These sparks, if hot enough, do have a chance of making it all the way out of the chimney and into a dry patch of grass or that pile of leaves that you worked so hard to rake out of your yard. If this happens, then a brush fire may be imminent. The wire mesh around the chimney cap will help keep these sparks contained until they die out.
The fifth reason that a chimney cap should be installed on your chimney is that it can increase the draft within your chimney. Regular chimney caps can help increase the draft on their own. However, there are also draft-enhancing chimney caps that use turbines to increase the draft within a chimney. Draft is an easily deterred, but critical occurrence to the proper functioning of your chimney. Without it, in fact, the chimney would be useless. Since draft is so easily affected, these draft-enhancing chimney caps can help create the draft within the chimney and, sometimes, solve the problems that someone is facing with chimney draft.
One final reason to add a chimney cap is that it can increase the lifetime of your chimney liner. Water and debris getting into the chimney liner can cause it to deteriorate, especially in chimneys with clay liners. By adding a chimney cap, you are increasing the life and effectiveness of your chimney liner.
All of these reasons for having a chimney cap installed on your chimney come together and help increase the overall life of your chimney. For those worried about cost, basic chimney caps can be found at a pretty fair price. The draft-enhancing chimney caps can be more costly. Either way, it is cheaper to add a chimney cap now than to have to repair or replace a chimney liner down the road or hire a pest removal specialist to get the raccoons out of your chimney.