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Your Chimney Needs a Cap

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The chimney cap is a small metal contraption, generally made of copper or stainless steel, that attaches to the top of the chimney. These structures are inexpensive and any professional chimney sweep service will install them for a modest price. Despite the reasonable cost and the ease of installation, some homes do not have caps on their chimneys. Homeowners may not know they needed a chimney cap, or they may not understand how useful chimney caps can be. In fact, chimney caps protect against several kinds of danger, including pests invading your chimney, moisture damaging your chimney interior, and hot embers starting dangerous house fires.

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Chimney Caps and Pests

During cold Colorado winters, everyone is trying to stay warm – especially the critters outside. Birds and squirrels will find the warmth surrounding the chimney very appealing and have no problem nesting up inside the cozy constraints of the flue. While the little animals might think living in the chimney is a great idea, eventually everyone will suffer. The sole purpose of a chimney is to expel dangerous gases from the home. Fires produce smoke laced with messy soot and poisonous compounds like carbon monoxide and creosote, and this mixture needs an escape. When animals create a nest and your chimney becomes obstructed, these gases will have no place to go except right back into your house. At the very best, this results in smoke and soot damage to the interior of your home; at worst, it could kill you or your family. In this case, putting up a chimney cap should be an easy decision.

Chimney Caps and Water Damage

Not only do chimney caps keep out critters but they also keep out moisture. It might feel strange that your chimney can withstand thousands of degrees of heat from the fire but is susceptible to water damage. However, a little leaked moisture can lead to some serious trouble. If water enters the chimney, the porous brick and mortar will absorb the moisture. During the freeze and thaw cycle during the winter, this absorbed moisture expands inside the structure, degrading the strength of it. Over time the masonry cracks, which could eventually result in a collapsed chimney. In addition, the flue and damper may rust in response to contact with water and both will require replacement. Finally, if water can leak into your chimney, it can also leak into your house. This could result in expensive water damage to your walls, ceilings and floors.

Chimney Caps and House Fires

While chimney caps work well to keep water and animals out, they also work to keep hot, live embers in. An ember is a small piece of the fire that is still lit and it can float through the air. If embers are allowed to float up out of the chimney, they are free to land anywhere, including on your roof or another part of your home. While most embers burn out quickly, when one of them stays lit, it could cost you big time in a devastating house fire. Installing a chimney cap would minimize this risk.

How Do I Get a Chimney Cap?

Avoid the cheap caps sold in big box hardware stores and call a professional chimney sweep to install a chimney cap. If you live in Rio Blanco County of Colorado, contact Bulldog Chimney Sweeps for a professional consultation.