Having a fireplace in your home can be a very fun amenity. Not only does it provide an aesthetic value to the home, but it also adds to the functionality of your home. When purchasing a home with a fireplace, keep in mind that there are many working parts to a fireplace. The chimney, chimney flue, openings in the top and bottom, fireplace tools, and chimney cap are just a few of the working parts of a fireplace. Just like many other items in your home, a fireplace and its chimney will need maintenance. Having your chimney cap replaced or regularly maintained is very important for protecting your home from a fire. Do roofers install chimney caps? You will want to call on a professional fireplace installation company to properly install a chimney cap.
Let’s take a look below at more details regarding a chimney cap.
What Is A Chimney Cap
Most homeowners are used to seeing a chimney cap, but really had no idea of what it was called. Chimney caps sit on top of the chimney, much like a crown sits on top of a person’s head. They are made of a metal material and placed on top of the chimney opening. This creates a barrier from the outside elements to the inside of the chimney. They will protect your chimney flue from rain and snow, as well as, critters and other flying debris.
Why Would I Need One
Chimney caps are great at protecting your fireplace. Installing a chimney cap can ensure that you have reduced the risk of debris being built up in your fireplace chimney. In turn, this reduces the chance of a house fire or smoke bellowing into your home. Let’s take a look at some more specifics as to why you need a chimney cap.
- Money saver – chimney caps will protect your home from down drafts and winds on a cold or snowy night. So, if you aren’t using the fireplace, you will not feel the cold air bursting through the opened chimney top. Additionally, the chimney cap will prevent dirt, debris, smoke, and embers from being blown into the home while you are using the fireplace.
- Fire prevention – a chimney cap can help prevent a fire in your home while keeping the possibility of a spark from occurring. Embers do not have a chance to be blown around inside the chimney or even into the home and onto your furniture to flooring. Also, the chimney cap keeps embers from being blown up and out of the chimney and onto your roof, which would cause a roof fire.
- Moisture reduction – having a chimney cap keeps the rain and snow out. Keeping the moisture out of your fireplace will reduce the amount of moisture in your home. Additionally, if moisture gets into your chimney, it can damage the mortar joints, dampers, and flue inside the chimney. This could also cause mold and mildew to grow, which would create a huge health issue for your family.
- Keeps the Critters Out – by capping the chimney, raccoons, squirrels, birds, and other critters lose the opportunity to nest inside your chimney. Additionally, a chimney cap will keep the critters from getting trapped and eventually expiring in your chimney. This would create a foul odor and require immediate cleaning attention.
- Protects the Chimney liner – chimney liners are made of clay, metal, or ceramic material and have the purpose of protecting the inner walls of the chimney. Also, they limit the amount of heat that is being transferred, which reduces the chance of a fire. Chimney caps protect the chimney liner by preventing debris and excess water from getting into the chimney.
How Many Types Are There
Believe it or not, there are a variety of choices when it comes to selecting a chimney cap. In order to make the right selection of chimney caps, you must first know what type of chimney you have. Let’s take a look.
- Masonry – this type of chimney has an exterior brick face. This style of chimney can accommodate many types of chimney cap styles.
- Prefabricated – this style of chimney is most often found in homes that were built in the mid to late 1980s. They look very fake compared to a traditional brick-and-mortar chimney. In this case, you will want to use a chimney cap that is used by the manufacturer of your prefabricated chimney.
Now that you have determined the type of chimney that you have, you can select a chimney cap. Let’s look at our options.
- Aluminum – is very inexpensive and has one of the lower price points. However, this material is not very durable or sturdy. Since aluminum is a soft metal and very lightweight, it could become damaged a lot quicker than other metal materials.
- Galvanized – typically painted black. Very inexpensive to purchase. Unfortunately, they will rust, and cause your roof to look dirty and degraded. They are also not very sturdy and can be blown off in high winds.
- Stainless steel – this chimney cap must be installed by a professional. This is to protect the lifetime warranty that they come with. You will notice stainless steel as it comes in silver.
- Copper – this is one of the more expensive chimney caps. Typically, a copper chimney cap is three times the amount of a stainless steel chimney cap. Copper chimney caps will usually last a lifetime and they add great aesthetic value to the home.
Also, keep in mind that you can have any chimney cap custom-made out of any of the materials listed above.
How Much Do They Cost
Having a new chimney cap installed can be relatively inexpensive. It really comes down to the size, style, and type of material that you have chosen to purchase. You can count on the following price ranges for each style of a chimney cap.
- Aluminum – this cap can cost between $50 and $180.
- Galvanize steel – this cap can cost between $25 and $300.
- Stainless steel – this cap can cost between $50 and $500.
- Copper – this cap can cost between $200 and $1,500.
- Non-metal cap – this chimney cap can cost between $350 and $500.
Other Recommended Maintenance
Now that you know about chimney caps, let’s take a look at other areas of maintenance. One of those is removing snow from the roof. Winter will be here soon and it is important to know that your roof can hold up to 20 pounds of snow per square foot. In fact, the snow will usually slide off the roof on its own. If it doesn’t, you can use a snow rake, heating cables, or a snow guard.
Next, making sure your roof vent is covered is a good idea. The roof vent cover helps keep birds and other animals out. Sometimes this vent gets clogged and you will know if the toilet gurgles, a slow drain, a dry P-trap, or a build-up of leaves and debris.
Lastly, if you find out you need a new roof, the time it takes to replace it will vary. It takes a day to remove the old materials and a day to have the team get started on the installation. Asphalt shingles take one day, while concrete tile can take up to two weeks.
When Do I Call A Professional
Call on a professional to assist you with the installation of a chimney cap. You will want to get this right, or you can risk having a house fire. Also, hiring a professional will allow you to have your chimney swept while you are getting a new chimney cap installed. If you aren’t sure who to use in your area, reach out to your local home inspection team. They can inspect the entire fireplace, as well as refer you to a reputable fireplace technician.
Maintaining your fireplace is vital to ensure your home is not in any danger. Many homeowners love the amenity of a fireplace in their homes. The fireplace allows you to warm up your home during the colder months and not rely on any central heating unit. Although, many homeowners will use their central heating in addition to warming up with a cozy fire. If you are in need of fireplace maintenance or even are concerned about the functionality of your fireplace, reach out to Warren Inspections in Eastern and Central Massachusetts for a roofing inspection which includes the chimney, along with a full home inspection.