A full-width chimney cap – a relatively simple and inexpensive chimney component – can literally save your chimney and keep you safe. We’ll show you exactly how this is accomplished, but first, let’s differentiate between chimney caps and flue covers.
Chimney cap vs. flue cover
A flue cover is a device that covers the flue openings at the top of your chimney. A proper chimney cap covers not only the flue openings but also the entire top area of your chimney including the concrete chimney crown, which is prone to cracking due to water damage and other events.
To preserve your chimney, you’re best off going with a custom-fitted, full-width chimney cap.
Here are four things a good chimney cap will do for you. (Flue covers will do most of these things but won’t protect the entire top of your chimney.)
1. Prevent debris obstructions
Your chimney cap provides the perfect block to prevent leaves, twigs and other tree debris as well as small animals and their nesting material from getting into your flue.
All this debris can cause smoke to draft sluggishly and eventually begin backing up into your home. Smoke in the house is a problem, but a greater problem is the carbon monoxide contained within the smoke.
Carbon monoxide is invisible and odorless – and it is known to be potentially fatal to humans and animals living inside your home.
2. Reduce the severity of downdrafts
Air blowing into the top of an open flue with no cap can sail down the chimney and blow cold into your room if your fireplace damper isn’t fully closed.
When the fireplace is in use, downdrafts (or backdrafts) can push smoke, carbon monoxide, sparks, embers and soot into your room. A proper chimney cap will make a significant positive difference in the severity of downdrafts.
3. Block rain and snow
An open flue top is an invitation for water and snow to move right in and start a cycle of damage. Internal flue moisture can lead to chimney liner damage. If there are cracks in the chimney crown, water can seep down and affect the chimney masonry beneath it. (Remember: a proper cap will help to protect damaged crowns; a basic flue cover will not.)
Moisture in the chimney also can cause strong, unpleasant odors and lead to the growth of harmful mold. A quality chimney cap is your best defense against incoming water and a great way to extend the life
of your chimney.
4. Keep sparks in the flue
During a fireplace fire, red-hot sparks and embers can rise with the smoke draft, jump out the top of your flue and land on the roof or in the yard. Leaf piles can be set on fire, and lawn furniture and other objects can be damaged. Roofing shingles also can be damaged, depending on how many sparks escape the flue.
If your chimney has no cap or the one you have is damaged, Fluesbrothers Chimney & Fireplace of Kansas City, KS, is here to help. We’ll install a custom, full-width chimney cap that will protect your chimney, many of its components and your home and family all year long.
Arrange an appointment or get your questions answered by calling (913) 236-7141.