6 Things to Know Before Buying a New Chimney Cap
If you’ve been operating your fireplace without a chimney cap, you’re not alone. Many homeowners bypass this piece of equipment, not realizing how important it is for the safety and proper operation of their fireplaces. Chimney caps perform two critical functions:
· They prevent sparks and embers from flying out the top of the chimney and igniting the roof or nearby trees
· They prevent debris and small animals from getting into the chimney and creating a draft obstruction
Like with just about any type of product you can buy for the home, all chimney caps are not the same. Here are a few guidelines you can follow when purchasing a chimney cap to make sure you get a good one that will serve you for many years.
1. Type of material
Chimney caps generally come in galvanized steel (the least expensive and least durable), stainless steel (more expensive and more durable) and copper (might look great with the exterior cosmetics of your home.) Choose the one that’s best for you.
2. Mesh specs
A good chimney cap will have ¾ inch mesh. This will keep embers and sparks from exiting through it. If you live where ice & snow are a regular occurrence, be careful not to purchase a cap with mesh spacing smaller than ¾ inch because the mesh may become ice- or snow-packed in the winter.
3. Go heavy
The heavier your chimney cap, the less likely strong winds will damage it or tear it off. Talk to your hearth dealer about different cap weights and see what they recommend for your area.
Lifetime warranties are common on many stainless steel and copper chimney caps. For galvanized steel caps, you’ll often find limited warranties. Read warranty information closely to make sure you understand exactly what you’re getting.
5. Multi-flue caps
The right chimney cap for a chimney will keep water out. If your cap isn’t doing this, you should ask your hearth retailer about a multi-flue cap, which should solve the problem. Remember: not every chimney cap model performs optimally on every chimney.
Unless you’re an experienced chimney services technician, don’t try to install your new chimney cap yourself. Doing so will void most warranties and also could result in an improperly installed cap. Not to mention getting up on your roof is a good way to become seriously injured. A chimney technician will measure your chimney to determine the right size cap and install the cap properly.
Chimney caps are one of several components that make up a fireplace system. In order for the fireplace to be able to operate at peak efficiency and optimal safety, all the components must be the correct type and size and must be free of defects. Often the only way to know if there’s a compromise in your system is to have it inspected by a professional.
Chimney Specialists of Highland, Wis., can show you a selection of chimney caps and recommend the best model for your specific chimney. We also can perform expert installation of whatever cap you choose. To keep your fireplace system running right, we provide full-scale cleaning and repair services. You can visit us at 869 Main St., or give us a call at (608) 929-4887.