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Rain Caps

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When it comes to keeping your chimney in good condition, few parts are as important as the rain cap. While rain caps are known by many names – including chimney cap, chimney cover, animal guard, or spark arrestor – their purpose is the same: protect the top of the flue from water, animal, or debris entry.

Rain Caps - Ann Arbor MI - Cleen Sweeps of MI


What is a rain cap?

Rain caps are metal guards with mesh or wire sides that are designed to fit over and cover the top of the flue. When installed correctly and undamaged, rain caps help keep moisture – as well as animals and debris – out of the chimney. However, rain caps can deteriorate over time due to shifting, settling, extreme weather, or simply long term exposure to the elements.

Five reasons you need a rain cap

The following are five reasons why your chimney needs to have a rain cap.

  1.  Minimize moisture damage: Water can be one of the most harmful forces to your chimney system; while exterior masonry is designed to withstand the elements, the delicate mortar and metal components of the flue and firebox are easily damaged by moisture.
  2. Keep animals out: A cool, dark chimney can be an inviting hideout or nesting ground for many small mammals and birds. However, the presence of animals can cause serious damage to your home and chimney.
  3.  Block downdrafts. When using your fireplace on a breezy day, wind can blow smoke, gas, ash, and soot back down the chimney and into your home. However, a rain cap protects the top of the chimney against extreme downdrafts caused by the wind.
  4.  Stop sparks: While chimneys are designed to vent smoke and gas, they can also be used to prevent sparks from escaping up and out onto your roof. The mesh sides of the rain cap serve as a spark arrestor, protecting your roof – and those of your friends and neighbors – from any hot sparks or coals that blow up the chimney.
  5.  Keep out debris: Leaves, twigs, branches, and even Frisbees can all fall into unprotected chimneys. Metal rain caps protect the top of the flue and keep debris from falling in and causing chimney blockages.

Signs your rain cap isn’t working

With all that a rain cap does to protect your home and chimney, it is important that they work correctly. Below are a few signs that your rain cap may be damaged, needs to be repaired, or needs to be replaced.

  • Water entry: The presence of water in your flue or firebox often indicates a leak surrounding the rain guard. A chimney inspection can identify the source of a leaky chimney as well as assess the condition of your rain guard.
  •  Chimney blockages: If your chimney isn’t drafting properly or smoke is backing up into your home, you may have a chimney blockage. Chimney blockages are most often caused by animals or debris such as leaves falling into the flue.
  • Animal entry: The presence of an animal in the chimney is a surefire sign that your rain cap is damaged – or missing altogether. After having the animals safely removed by a wildlife professional, it is important to repair or replace the rain guard to prevent them from coming back.All chimneys can benefit from having a quality and well-fitting rain cap installed. For more information on rain caps and why your home may need a new one, contact Clean Sweeps of Michigan  today!