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Chimney Cap: Why You Need One

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With the arrival of November, nearly half of fall has already past, and winter is only a few weeks away. Shorts and sandals have become a hazy memory, and most people do not leave the house without at least a warm coat. The frigid winter in this year’s forecast has everyone looking for ways to keep warm, and for some homeowners, that means starting up the fireplace. For the most part, people with fireplaces and wood stoves know the basic rule of fireplace and chimney maintenance: annual chimney sweeps and inspections. Unfortunately, that is where the common knowledge usually stops, and homeowners are generally in the dark about what goes on in and around the chimney. One component of the chimney that often gets ignored is the chimney cap.

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Despite its simple structure and relatively low cost, the chimney cap provides quite a bit of money-saving protection. Normally constructed of stainless steel or copper, the chimney cap sits atop the chimney year-round to do its basic yet crucial job of guarding the inside of the chimney. A main function of the chimney cap is to keep little animals from building a home inside the flue. Particularly as the weather cools down, the critters that do not migrate to warmer areas start looking for a cozy spot to keep out of the elements. The warmth of a recently used chimney attracts them far too easily, and suddenly every other chimney has an animal nest in it. Trouble arises the next time a fire is lit in the fireplace because the smoke and other fumes have nowhere to go except back into the house. The animal and its nest cause an obstruction in the flue, and poisonous gases like carbon monoxide flow right back inside.

Another function of the chimney cap is to keep water from entering the chimney. Surprisingly, water can do a significant amount of damage to a chimney and home this way. The flue lining can rust and crack if made of metal, which then exposes the home to the heat of the fire and allows the dripping water into the interior of the chimney. Water can cause also cause problems as it travels farther down the chimney. The damper assembly can rust out, making it difficult or impossible to properly vent the fireplace, and the walls and ceiling surround the fireplace may start to show signs of water damage as the water continues to spread.

Both of these serious, costly issues can be prevented by the simple installation of a chimney cap. A chimney expert can help any unsure homeowners determine if their chimneys need a new chimney cap because many chimneys do not have any type of cap at all. Then, the chimney professional can install the chimney cap to prevent any further damage to the home or chimney. For a chimney expert in western Colorado, contact Bulldog Chimney Sweeps where you will receive a professional consultation.