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Should You Replace Your Chimney Chase Cover?

chimney_chase_cover_clean_sweeps_of_MI_Ann-ArborChimney chase covers are often overlooked when homeowners consider their fireplace maintenance. This is because, for the most part, chimney chase covers are only used with factory-built chimneys rather than masonry chimneys. Unlike a chimney cap, chimney chase covers are used on chimneys made of metal, wood, or vinyl siding.

Like a chimney cap, a chimney chase cover is designed to protect the fireplace from the elements, as well as to prevent birds and other animals from entering the chimney. When undamaged and correctly installed, their angled tops prevent water, snow, and ice from accumulating around the top of the chimney, instead directing it to flow harmlessly onto the roof. Aging chimney chase covers can sometimes cause unsightly, rusty staining to the sides of a chimney. Likewise, an ill-fitting or broken cover can lead to a number of problems such as water damage or animal infestation.

The experts at Clean Sweeps of Michigan will be able to help you determine if your chimney chase cover needs to be replaced. If it does, they can also aid in the selection and installation process for a new cover.

How often should chimney chase covers be replaced?

Chimney chase covers, especially those that were improperly installed or made out of cheap materials, may begin to rust in as little as five years. Unlike chimney damage, which is easily visible without climbing onto the roof, chimney chase cover decay may be harder to spot.

There are two major red flags that indicate a chimney chase cover needs to be immediately replaced. The first is any signs of water or moisture in the fireplace structure. This can also include dripping sounds in the chimney after a rainstorm or when snow is melting, along with the walls of the firebox itself feeling damp. The second red flag is rust stains on the side of the chimney structure itself. When this happens, the galvanized coating of the metal has been completely eaten away, and the metal has more than likely begun to pit, or rust through.

Chimney chase cover materials 

Modern chimney chase covers come in a variety of different materials to fit every budget. However, because they are constantly exposed to the elements the quality and durability of the material should be considered when choosing a new chimney chase cover.

Copper: Copper is considered to be the top-quality metal for covers. However, because of its extremely high price tag, most homeowners find that it is too expensive of an option to consider.

Stainless steel: Often the most popular choice as it offers a balance between durability and price. One of the strongest metals, it can virtually last a lifetime.

Galvanized steel: While less expensive than stainless steel, galvanized steel rusts quickly and will need to be regularly replaced. Galvanized steel offers short term savings, but may end up costing homeowners more in the long run.

Aluminum: Unlike galvanized steel, aluminum will not rust. However, it is a soft metal that may damage easily, and finding the correct size chase cover may be difficult.

While replacing a damaged chimney chase cover may seem like a major hassle, the experts at Clean Sweeps of Michigan will be able to help you select and install a chimney chase cover that will keep your fireplace and chimney in pristine condition for years to come.

An Explanation of Chimney Inspections

Anyone who is planning to use their fireplace to heat their home by burning wood or gas logs should have the chimney inspected. A well-used fireplace should be inspected once a year, preferably just before the cold season in late fall. If the fireplace is only periodically used, it is imperative that it be checked every season for safety reasons.

Chimney inspections explained
  • Soot – When a chimney is used, the smoke and ash that go up it creates soot that builds up on the inside of it. This can accumulate quite quickly when a chimney has been used for a long period  of time, regularly clogging the chimney. When one uses a clogged chimney, there is potential for fires or downdrafts that can be damaging.
  • Debris – Another issue with chimneys is that when they are not used, debris such as leaves or other material can collect inside. This debris can also be harmful and can clog the chimney or catch on fire when it is in use, which can also be damaging. Even a ball that the children play with can be thrown high enough to be caught up in a chimney.
  • Birds – Finally, birds have been known to roost in chimneys and to build their nests in them and again, this debris can clog it up. The homeowner may never even know the birds are living in their chimney until there is a fire. When the fire is being inspected is when they find out and then it is too late to do anything about it.

All of the above reasons are why it is vital to have your chimney inspected each year to ensure that there is nothing clogging it.  Another reason is to ensure that there are no cracks or any damage that can cause a downdraft.  A chimney sweep can remove any debris and soot as well as check the chimney for any damage.

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