Chimney Cap Repair Guide
A fully functioning fireplace is a wonderful thing. Fireplaces and their attached chimneys bring many benefits to people all over the world. In New England, these systems supply needed warmth and add a touch of elegance to homes. But as with most systems in a home, fireplace and chimney components need to be inspected, cleaned and sometimes repaired or replaced. In this article, we’re going to look at chimney cap issues.
Keeping water and debris out
The chimney cap sits atop your chimney with the singular job of keeping unwanted things outside. Rain and snow as well as debris, small animals and these animals’ nests are protected against with a good chimney cap. Some chimney cap problems can be spotted by the homeowner; others might require a professional inspection. Over time, these components can fall into disrepair and need to be fixed or replaced.
For example, you might discover that water is entering the firebox. Water travels down, so you know the moisture didn’t originate in the room where the fireplace sits. If you see water in a firebox, the chimney cap may be responsible.
Does there seem to be a drafting problem when a fire is going? Is smoke backing up into the house? The chimney cap may be partially or completely blocked with leaves, twigs and anything else that might be flying around in the air. Assuming your damper is working properly, backdrafts are often caused by chimney cap problems.
Chimney cap cleaning
If you feel safe going up on the roof, you can clean the mesh on the cap with a good brush and detergent solution. Blockages also may be caused by a buildup of creosote, a byproduct of smoke that is sticky and clingy. For significant buildup, a cloth soaked in vinegar and wrapped around the mesh often works well.
Years of exposure to the elements can cause copper chimney caps to become discolored, marring the original beauty. Address this problem by pouring vinegar over the surface and then scrubbing with salt. A paste of vinegar, salt and flour can be spread onto the cap and let sit for about an hour then washed off.
There are many different types of chimney caps including single-flue, multiple-flue, wind-resistant, elaborately decorative, etc. You should become familiar with any literature from the cap’s manufacturer before undertaking a major repair or cleaning project.
When major work is required
The time may come when a chimney cap needs either significant repair or replacement. In most cases, it’s best to let a trained professional do this job. It’s the same as with most parts of a fireplace/chimney system: having the work done right the first time can save a lot of expense and headaches down the line.
Arranging for an annual inspection of your chimney cap, the chimney itself and all other fireplace components is a smart move and one that is recommended by all fireplace and fire safety organizations.
Northeastern Chimney of West Hartford, Conn., provides expert chimney and fireplace inspection, cleaning, maintenance and repair. We’ll make sure your fireplace runs efficiently and safely. Call (860) 233-5770 to schedule an appointment or with questions.