Chimney Cap Repair to Keep Your Family and Home Safe

Chimney Cap Repair to Keep Your Family and Home Safe

Have you ever had a bird build a nest inside your chimney? No, you didn’t think that was even possible?

Well, birds, rats, raccoons, and squirrels often find their way inside many Baton Rouge chimneys, especially during the cold months. 

This is one reason why chimney cap repair and maintenance is important. But there are other reasons why you should keep your chimney cap in good condition.

Keep reading to learn why maintaining this part of your fireplace system is essential. Below, we explain why and how chimney cap maintenance is vital to fireplace safety in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 

What Is a Chimney Cap?

A chimney cap is a covering made to cover the full length and width of the top of your chimney, including the chimney crown. The chimney crown is the uppermost part of the chimney. Its job is to keep precipitation out. 

Note that the chimney crown should always overlap the chimney. If it doesn’t, precipitation will run into the flue instead of off the chimney and in the gutters. 

If you weren’t aware, a flue is the cavity inside your chimney that allows gasses and smoke to escape.

Here’s a tip to remember which is which – chimneys contain flues, but flues are not chimneys. The latter is what connects your fireplace to the outside.

You may have heard of flue caps and now wonder, “Don’t those work like chimney caps?” Yes, they’re technically the same thing. Flue caps keep the elements and animals out of the inside of your chimney. 

However, these only cover the flue opening. They won’t sit over the top of the chimney crown. 

Chimney Cap Repair to Keep Your Family and Home Safe

What Do Chimney Caps Do?

This is where we get into why chimney cap repair and maintenance are so necessary. Chimney caps serve various functions that help you continue warming your Baton Rouge home safely. 

For example, animals making their home inside your chimney are health hazards. Squirrels can carry plague, typhus, and ringworms.

Dead animals can also block smoke and gasses from escaping your chimney and emitting foul odors. The chimney cap helps block rain as well. 

The chimney crown helps water transfer to the gutters. However, the cap does most of the heavy lifting in keeping rain and snow out of the inner flue. 

Chimney flues have linings made of terracotta clay, concrete, or stainless (or galvanized) steel. Stainless steel aside, the flue can become damaged from constant water exposure. Mold growth is also a legitimate concern. 

Chimney caps and flue covers keep sparks from fires falling onto the roof or yard. But these coverings aren’t solid blocks to keep things in or out.

The mesh covering allows for venting but can inhibit backdrafts and debris from coming inside. Backdrafts can blow hot soot, ash, and other particles across your room. 

Leaves and twigs can block your chimney and fuel the fire beyond what’s safe. The final job your chimney cap accomplishes is protecting the chimney crown. 

The crown’s job is to protect the rest of the chimney – inside and out – from water. That said, it’s still vulnerable to the effects of too much precipitation or snow. Prolonged water exposure can crack the crown. 

Chimney caps are superior to flue caps in this regard. Flue coverings don’t have the surface area to keep water out of crown cracks. Without the full covering, the cracking can grow worse and will eventually need repairs. 

Chimney Cap Repair vs Maintenance: What’s the Difference?

Please note that we’ve mentioned “Chimney cap repair and maintenance” a few times throughout this article. Both are integral to chimney safety, but what are they, and what’s the difference? 

The meaning of “repair” is probably obvious. This involves fixing the cap whenever it’s in a state of disrepair. The catch, though, is that there aren’t many instances where you can repair a cap. 

Corrosion is perhaps the only instance where you can fix the damage instead of replacing the entire piece. Here are issues that require cap replacement:

  • Detached cap mesh
  • Chimney fire damage 

Maintenance, however, makes it so your chimney cap lasts longer. Upkeep helps you head off issues that reduce the lifespan of your cap and fireplace. 

Chimney Cap Repair to Keep Your Family and Home Safe

How to Maintain Your Chimney Cap

Chimney cap maintenance is your best bet to keep this protective cover in good shape. Chimney sweeping is a great way to keep your fireplace and chimney cap operational. 

Chimney sweeping (or cleaning) is when creosote is removed from the sides of your flue and the mesh netting of the cap. Creosote is a tarry byproduct of wood fires that sticks to the sides of your flue. 

There are two reasons to clean away creosote: the substance can combust and cause house fires. The second reason to hire a chimney sweeper is because creosote can inhibit fires. 

The tarry material can block oxygen from entering the fireplace, making fires more difficult to light. Even if you get a fire, it may not burn well due to the lack of oxygen. 

Other things that can block your chimney cap include: 

  • Soot: A black powdery or flakey substance made of carbon
  • Leaves and small twigs
  • Paper: Which is not recommended for fireplace burning

A chimney inspection is another way to stay on top of fireplace upkeep. Chimney inspections require looking around the interior and outside of every part of the structure. 

Searching for cracks in the crown and looking over the cap are just two parts of a chimney inspection.

Inspections only identify and explain issues; they don’t involve repairing them. There are companies around that will fix the damage. 

How You Can Practice Good Chimney Safety

Chimney cap repair isn’t something you’ll need to do often. A chimney cap is likelier to need replacement instead of fixing. Chimney maintenance is the best way to keep your cap in good condition. 

That’s why you should rely on SootServ. We’ve been servicing Louisiana since 2018 and perform our work with professionalism and state-of-the-art equipment. Contact us for chimney sweeping or inspection services.