Check On Your Chimney Cap

Keep raccoons out of your chimney with a chimney capIs your chimney cap in tip-top shape?

Custom Band-Around Chimney CapWith warmer weather around the corner and a season of fires wrapping up, now is a great time to check that your chimney cap is still is good shape. Chimney caps prevent water, snow, animals, bird droppings, and leaves from entering your home. A damaged (or missing) chimney cap may no longer be protecting your chimney and home. A once-a-year check on your chimney cap can be well worth your time for protecting your house. Here are four things to check on your chimney cap:

1. Check on Your Chimney Cap: Is it there?

Powerful winds during fall and winter storms can tear off a chimney cap. A properly secured chimney cap can withstand most high winds, but exceptional winds can do damage, including blowing the chimney cap off. Also, most homes built before the 1980′s simply never had chimney caps to begin with.

2. Check on Your Chimney Cap: Is it securely attached?

Time, wild animals, or high winds can loosen your chimney cap’s attachment to your flue or chimney. You can re-tighten screws or reapply a chimney cap sealant if your cap has become loose over the past year.

3. Check on Your Chimney Cap: Is it rusting?

Galvanized steel chimney caps generally last about three to five years before they become too rusted to offer protection. Along the coast, galvanized chimney caps corrode even more quickly.  Stainless steel chimney caps and copper chimney caps usually have lifetime warranties, so they are good replacement choices for folks who don’t want to be replacing their chimney cap every few years.

4. Check on Your Chimney Cap: Are its sides clogged?

The mesh in chimney caps can get clogged with leaves, as well as soot and creosote, especially if you are using unseasoned firewood. This clogging is most common in chimney caps designed with smaller mesh holes for use in wildfire prone areas. If the mesh sides of your chimney caps are clogged, your fireplace or woodstove’s draft will be reduced, leading to poor performance or even a chimney fire.

When heading up to the roof to check on your chimney cap, take along a tape measure, paper, pencil and the FireplaceMall Chimney Cap Easy Measure Guide. In case you need a replacement chimney cap, you will have the tools and information at hand to measure your flues or chimney crown for a replacement chimney cap.

Replacement chimney caps are available in a variety of styles and finishes. Different types of round flues must have different styles of chimney caps, so see this guide for which style of round replacement chimney cap you need. Replacement chimney caps are also available

Posted in Fireplace and Chimney Maintenance Tagged with:

Photo: Fireplace Renovation

courtesy Jeff Kubina on Flickr

Posted in Decorating

The Pleasures of a Wood Fire

pleasures of a wood fire

I couldn’t have said it better myself:

“…don’t overlook the intangible benefits of wood heat. First to mind is the simple attractiveness of an open fire, the changing pattern of light in the firebox, reflected to dance on the walls and ceiling. The licks of flame, glow of coals and the infinite variety of shapes and patterns. Bright sounds: snaps and pops and gentle roar of heated air passing into the flue.”

From John Vivian’s book Wood Heat (Rodale Press, 1976)

Wood Heat by John Vivian

Wood Heat by John Vivian

What are your personal pleasures of a wood fire? The sights, sounds, smells or the general experience? And how would you compare the pleasures of a wood fire with the experience of gas and electric fireplace fires?

Posted in General, Using Your Fireplace Tagged with: ,

Choosing the Right Chimney Cap

choosing the right chimney cap

Various Chimney Caps Chimney caps come in a variety of shapes, sizes, and designs. Browsing through all the options can be baffling, so we’ve come up with some resources to help you. Here are step by step directions for choosing the right chimney cap.

The first step in choosing the right chimney cap is to determine what kind of flue or flues you have. The flue is the center pipe inside your chimney. Most flues are round, rectangular, or oval. Click on the description below that best matches your situation.

 For multiple flue chimneys, you have a couple options- outside mount or top mount. Top mounts attach to the top of the crown, while outside mounts attach to the sides of the chimney, slipping over the top like the lid of a shoebox. Outside mount caps provide the most protection for your chimney, but are more expensive than top mount caps.

California residents and others in fire-prone areas: California regulations require the mesh on chimney caps to be 5/8 inch, compared to the national 3/4 inch standard.

Posted in Fireplace and Chimney Maintenance, General Tagged with: