Chimney Cap Screen Maintenance
Chimney caps provide great benefits, especially when the appliance comes with a wire mesh screen. It’s important for homeowners to be aware, however, that maintenance of chimney caps with screens is crucial. If the screen is not kept clean, the chimney won’t operate as it should and, most importantly, the result could be that toxic fumes are released into your home.
A Clogged Screen
The screen on a chimney cap can become blocked with debris such as leaves and anything the wind might blow onto the roof. After especially windy or stormy weather, you may be able to save yourself some difficulties by doing a thorough visual check of the chimney cap screen before using your fireplace.
Another common cause of obstruction of the chimney cap screen is a buildup of soot and creosote. This is a problem that you can actually help to prevent. Excess combustion by-products are usually caused by burning the wrong type of wood. Green wood, which is also called unseasoned wood, should not be used for a fire. There is so much moisture in unseasoned wood that the heat from the fire is used up in the process of burning out the moisture. Very little heat is produced in this type of fire, but there is usually an abundance of smoke and a lot of creosote and soot is deposited in the flue lining and in the chimney cap screen.
The size of the screen on your chimney cap can also contribute to problems you may be having. If the openings in the screen are too small, the mesh may become clogged very easily.
What Happens When the Screen is Clogged?
When your chimney cap screen is dirty or covered with debris, the chimney cannot operate properly. Without the proper flow of air, it may be difficult to get a fire started. The obstruction of air could also mean that smoke blows into your house. The most dangerous result of a clogged screen is that toxic carbon monoxide fumes can accumulate and enter your home. Carbon dioxide is odorless, invisible, and deadly.
How to Clean a Chimney Cap Screen
If you are able to get to your chimney cap safely, you can clean the mesh screen with a wire brush. If you do not have safe access to your chimney or if you want to have your entire chimney cleaned, contact our chimney professionals.
Chimney Cap Benefits
Chimney caps have many benefits which outweigh any negatives. A cap with or without mesh serves the crucial function of keeping out precipitation. In spite of the potential problems, it is best to get a cap with a screen. If the mesh screen doesn’t have holes that are too large, it can keep critters out of your chimney. It is not uncommon for animals to access chimneys, including raccoons, birds, squirrels, and snakes. A chimney cap screen also serves as a spark arrestor. Hot sparks and embers often make their way up the chimney, and they can start a fire on your roof if not blocked by a screen.
Contact us today if you need a chimney cap, have questions, or need to schedule an annual chimney cleaning and inspection.
Northeastern Chimney, Inc
37 Cody Street, West Hartford, CT 06110