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Why You Need A Chimney Cap

While all chimney components serve an important purpose, few protect your chimney as well as the chimney cap. Because of its location at the top of the chimney, however, chimney caps are often overlooked. Understanding the importance of the chimney cap, especially during the spring, can help ensure yours stays in good condition and can protect your fireplace system for years to come.

What is a chimney cap?

Chimney caps are fitted hoods made out of metal such as aluminum, stainless steel, or copper. They are designed to cover and protect the top of the flue. While chimney caps have a solid top which keeps moisture out, they feature mesh or wire sides; this allows smoke, hot air, and gas to safely vent while keeping animals and debris out of the chimney.

Is my chimney cap damaged?

Few of us spend much time on our roofs; because of this, chimney cap damage may go unnoticed until signs of the damage begin to appear. Chimney cap damage is often discovered through a chimney inspection. Chimney leaks, blockages caused by leaves and branches, or animal entry can all be caused by chimney cap damage.

Repairing and replacing your chimney cap.

If your chimney cap is damaged, it may need to be repaired or replaced. Because chimney caps come in a variety of sizes and styles, it is important to have a chimney professional help you find the right cap for your chimney.

While chimney caps serve an important purpose in protecting your home, they can also add a decorative flair to your roofline. Different metals, sizes, and styles can create a unique look that complements your home’s exterior while still protecting your chimney system.

Why you need a chimney cap this spring.

While a chimney cap is an important part of your chimney all year long, it is especially important in the spring for two reasons:

  1. Animal entry.
    Spring is known as the season of baby animals, and an unprotected chimney is an inviting nesting spot for many animals. Birds, squirrels, roof rats, and many other animals will attempt to nest in a chimney; chimney swifts, a protected migratory bird, are known for nesting in chimneys each spring and are protected by law. While a nesting animal might not seem like a hassle, they can cause strong odors, damage to the flue and other chimney components, and chimney blockages.
  2. Water entry. April showers bring May flowers – and chimney leaks.
    Heavy spring rains can cause chimney leaks if your home has a missing or damaged chimney cap. Even small amounts of water can damage interior fireplace components; the firebox and damper, for example, are built to withstand heat but are easily damaged by moisture.

This spring, don’t let your chimney go unprotected. Have your chimney cap inspected to ensure it keeps moisture and animals out of your flue. For more information on the importance of your chimney cap or to schedule your next chimney inspection, contact Clean Sweeps of Michigan today!

Common Chimney Repairs

Help! My Chimney Needs Repairs!

Since every chimney is different, every chimney problem is different. And whether your system is smoking, leaking or cracking, the most appropriate response to a chimney issue is a thorough inspection, not only to get a close look at the obvious damage, but to seek out the cause or causes that led to that damage.

Many common repairs cost much less money when caught early. Early interventions also reduce the risk of fire.

Many common repairs cost much less money when caught early. Early interventions also reduce the risk of fire.

Over more than three decades, Clean Sweep of Michigan techs have come across just about any problem you can imagine, from masonry that’s so eroded that moss pretty much takes over the structure, to flues so caked with third stage creosote that a chimney fire was a foregone conclusion. Check out some of the worst horror stories on our Chimneys Gone Wild page.

More often than not, though, repair needs are a little more routine, and fall into some common categories, usually around the parts of the system that get the most wear and tear from the elements and/or the heat in your firebox.

A few of the most common chimney repairs:

Repairing Leaky Flashing

Flashing protects one of the most vulnerable points around your chimney: the area where the chimney and roofline meet. So if the flashing fails and can no longer shuttle moisture away, leaks are sure to follow. Installing, repairing or replacing flashing is custom work — the metal pieces that make up chimney flashing are specifically sized for every individual chimney — so it’s exacting work that requires an experienced hand. If you have a leaky chimney, Clean Sweep techs can inspect your system using our 25-point approach. If the problem’s with your flashing — or any other part of the system — we can make the right repairs.

Replacing Chimney Caps

At the top of your flue, a chimney cap is keeping a lot of what you don’t want in your chimney out, rain, snow, debris and animals included. But caps that aren’t properly installed can fly off with bad weather, and galvanized metal caps can begin to corrode and rust over time. So damaged or missing chimney caps often lead to leaks or animal infestations, and they should be replaced as soon as possible.

Repair Or Replace Chimney Damper

A properly functioning damper needs to be in place to close off the flue when it’s not in use, but it’s not uncommon for older throat dampers to rust, corrode or get stuck. At best, you’re left wasting energy — at worst, a stuck damper can make your chimney unfit for use. We repair damaged dampers and can also replace them with superior top-sealing dampers.

Seal, Repair Or Rebuild Chimney Crown

The chimney crown, built at the top of your chimney, is another common leak source. Since crowns get regularly battered by sun and moisture, cracks can be pretty common. We regularly repair small crown wash cracks with a waterproof sealant, and repair or rebuild more significantly damaged crowns.

Masonry Repair, Including Repointing

Bricks almost always last longer than mortar joints, so it’s not uncommon to see eroded, receding or cracked joints in a chimney with bricks that still have plenty of life left in them. To get chimneys like those back to proper working order, repointing — or removing those damaged joints and replacing them with new mortar joints — is usually the best course of action.

Repairing Or Replacing A Damaged Flue Liner

Your flue liner offers a lot of protection — it helps to keep dangerous gases contained, protects your masonry and nearby materials from extreme heat and moisture and can help ensure proper draft, too. So a damaged or failing flue liner seriously affects your chimney’s performance. Clean Sweep regularly installs HeatShield, which can be a great choice for restoring damaged chimney liner. Our techs can tell you whether HeatShield might be the right choice for your chimney.

Whatever type of repairs you need, Clean Sweep can help. And we back our repairs — all come with at least a one-year workmanship warranty, and many carry a 10-year to lifetime warranty. Give us a call — we’re here when you need us!

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