What Is A Chimney Cricket And Why Are They Important?
While your chimney may appear to be a solid, seamless structure, it is actually comprised of several vital components. These components are designed to safely evacuate smoke and pollutants from your home so that you can enjoy your wood or gas-burning fireplace, stove, or other attached heating appliance safely. One of those essential components is a chimney cricket. In this article, we will dive into more detail to explain what a chimney cricket is and why it is important.
So, what is a chimney cricket?
Well, it’s not one of those chirping critters keeping you awake at night. Sometimes referred to as a roof cricket or saddle, a chimney cricket is a triangular structure installed with a chimney flashing to direct water into the roof gutter. If your chimney has one, the cricket is typically made with metal, aluminum, or other water-resistant material.
Why are they important?
The cricket’s ridge and valleys help ensure water drains off the roof when it rains. So, suppose you have a flat area surrounding the chimney flashing (where the stack peaks above the top). In that case, rainwater can pool around the flashing, accelerating its deterioration and damaging the surrounding masonry. When water seeps through the tiny cracks in the flashing, it can cause widespread damage to the internal masonry walls, flue liner, and other components. Moisture intrusion can also rust out the damper and smoke shelf, requiring replacement. A minor investment in a cricket can save thousands of dollars in chimney repairs, replacements, and rebuilding costs.
Is a chimney cricket required?
Not every chimney will need a cricket or saddle. However, according to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Rule 211, the standards and codes certified chimney professionals follow highly recommend installing a cricket for chimneys if the width exceeds 30 inches.
Preventing Water Damage
Even if your chimney doesn’t require a cricket, it may still be a wise investment. That’s because a chimney cricket can do much more than keep soaking downpours at bay. During the winter months, it is not unusual to see snow accumulation on many rooftops in West Hartford, Glastonbury, and surrounding towns.
An ice dam can form when snow or moisture around the flashing freeze. An inch of that fluffy stuff can add up to 400 pounds on the chimney flashing and roof. And three inches of snow weigh nearly half a ton. That weight can cause considerable damage to your chimney, roof, and home. Additionally, the continuous freezing and thawing that occurs in Central Connecticut winters damage masonry, causing the mortar to decay and bricks to crack, crumble, and spall. Installing a cricket can help protect your chimney from water and ice damage.
Central Connecticut Chimney Inspection & Cleaning
Northeastern Chimney is Greater Hartford and Central Connecticut’s premier provider for chimney inspections, cleaning, repairs, and installations, including crickets. Call (860) 233-5770 or contact us online to consult with a Certified Chimney Sweep®.