Whether it’s a cold winter’s night or a cool summer day in the cabin, there’s nothing better than cuddling up next to a warm fireplace. However, before you light your logs, you need to check a few steps off your fireplace maintenance list to ensure you have a safe chimney. On that list, you’ll find installing a chimney cap among chimney cleaning and a chimney sweep.
But is a chimney cap, and how can you ensure that it’s installed correctly?
What’s a Chimney Cap?
A chimney cap is a protective covering that goes over the top of your chimney to keep out debris, rain and critters from entering your home like Santa. They come in various styles but are typically made with copper or steel mesh with a cap on top.
You can think of your chimney cap as the gatekeeper that keeps things out like critters that could damage your fireplace and takes out harmful byproducts of fire like smoke and carbon monoxide.
Chimney caps last for much longer than people realize, which is why when it’s time for replacement, it’s often best to call for a roofing chimney service company.
1. Choose the Right Material
However, if you wish to install a chimney cap yourself, you must first select the correct material. The first is a galvanized steel chimney cap, which is the least expensive option. They’re much less durable and will require replacement much sooner than the others.
For increased durability and quality, you can get a stainless steel version. They’re slightly better than galvanized steel and more expensive but cheaper than copper variants.
You can consider copper chimney caps the top-tier model that comes with a more aesthetic look but also a much higher price tag.
2. Check the Mesh
Next, you must consider the size of the mesh. It’s important to have the right size because the mesh prevents embers from going through. The ideal mesh has 3/4-inch openings that prevent ice from forming around it during the winter.
3. Consider the Wind and Draft
If you live in a strong wind area, your chimney cap must be heavier and more durable, so it doesn’t pull off. If it’s too light, you’ll find you’ll need to replace your cap every other day, even with proper securing.
Depending on the type of cap, it may reduce drafts in your home or make it even worse. If you experience problems with drafts, you may want to consider a vacuum chimney cap.
4. Secure It
It’s often best to hire a professional to properly secure your chimney cap. Although many have pre-drilled holes for screws in place, some can slide and fly off.
Ensure that you purchase a chimney cap with screws for maximum security. If you happen to get a cap that slides, then you can expect it to fly off during high winds causing property damage.
5. Consider a Damper
It’s recommended to also get a chimney damper to help insulate your home and prevent heat loss. If you have an older home, you may not have a damper in place or have one that doesn’t fit tightly and decreases efficient insulation.
The good news is that you don’t have to go out and purchase a full chimney damper. You can always find a chimney cap that has one internally installed.
Installing a Chimney Cap
Installing a chimney cap is vital to maintaining the integrity of your chimney and your home. Be sure to follow these five tips to ensure it’s the right size and style for your home.
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