A chimney provides warmth and adds an aesthetic element that is unmatched in your home. (Mankind will always love the fireplace click here to see an article why!) Unfortunately, your chimney also presents an open-door opportunity for animals to enter your home. Read on to learn 4 reasons why you should invest in a chimney cap!
Closing off the chimney with a chimney cap closes the door to unwanted animal visitors and prevents costly problems caused by animal access into your home.
If your chimney isn’t capped, you may find yourself dealing with:
- Reason to invest in a chimney cap: Unwanted animals in the home. Sometimes an animal that enters the chimney will eventually make its way into your home. Our office manager recalls a squirrel that terrorized the entire downstairs of her home after the poor fellow fell through the damper and into the firebox and could not re-exit. The anxiety that results from encountering a squirrel in your kitchen or seeing a bat or bird flying around your home leads to panic, as you try desperately to dodge the animal or coerce the bat out of your home! While animals are in your home, they can leave droppings and cause damage to your carpet and hardwood flooring.
- Reason to invest in a chimney cap: Odors from droppings. As small mammals such as bats, squirrels, raccoons and other animals go in and out of the chimney, they leave droppings. You may notice a foul odor on humid or warm days, as higher moisture levels and heat intensify the smell. If you light a fire in your fireplace, the fire can aggravate the unpleasant burning odor as the fire burns and activates odors from the droppings.
- Reason to invest in a chimney cap: Odors from dead creatures. When an animal enters your chimney and cannot escape back out the top, it may die. Typically, only raccoons and birds can escape from a chimney once they gain access into it. Other animals can’t get back up the chimney, and they’ll eventually die, leaving a very unpleasant odor for you to endure. The decaying body of an animal may also lead to other unpleasant problems, such as maggots feasting on the dead body.
- Reason to invest in a chimney cap: Keeping out rain. Believe it or not, almost all rain in North America is acid rain- slightly acidic due to human pollution and other naturally occurring substances. This light acidity degrades the cement in the mortar joints in between the flue tiles. Once the cement is degraded it is basically just sand. The next rain storm comes and washes out the sand. Now you have a code violation and potentially unsafe masonry chimney per the NFPA 211, chapter 14 (the code book for Fireplaces Chimneys and Vents). Our Certified Chimney Professionals can examine this to see if this is the case inside your chimney by using special cameras that go up the inside of the flue (the innermost part of the chimney).
Solutions to animal problems
The best way to prevent animals from getting into your chimney interior (the flue) is to cap off the top of the chimney with a chimney cap. To cap a chimney, Midtown Chimney Sweeps technicians generally install either a standard chimney cap or a top-mounted damper to seal the small access area at the top of the chimney, while preserving a passage way for combustion gases to escape.
A chimney cap consists of steel wire mesh that surrounds the chimney’s exposed areas at the top and has a little “hat” to keep rain out (or most of it! This is the least expensive solution. Next, the top-mounted damper creates an airtight seal, which you can close to keep conditioned air inside the home, and keep animals out. These are the best solution for all matters related to chimney caps, but they do cost more!
Home Chimney Maintenance
If your home already has a cap, you may need to check its condition. Over time, chimney caps can rust, creating small holes for animals to squeeze through. The cap may need to be replaced. If so, contact your local Midtown Chimney Sweeps business to assess the condition.
A cap or damper installed on your home’s chimney provides peace of mind for many decades, so you’ll never have to deal with foul odors from decaying animals or animal droppings, or find a clever way to evict a raccoon out of your home. The investment in a chimney cap or damper pays off in terms of peace of mind and prevention of home damage.
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