A leaky chimney can cause damage throughout your fireplace system. This affects everything from exterior masonry to interior fireplace components. However, there are a number of ways homeowners can protect their chimneys against water entry. One of the most effective ways to prevent chimney leaks is by having a chimney cap.
What Causes Leaky Chimneys
There are a number of causes of leaky chimneys. Damage to the masonry, flashing, chimney crown, or other chimney components can all allow water into the chimney. However, the most common cause of chimney leaks is often a damaged or missing chimney cap.
The chimney cap is a fitted metal hood available in a variety of sizes and styles to fit every chimney and home. While chimney caps can add a decorative touch to your roof-line, their primary purpose is to keep animals, debris, and moisture out of the chimney.
The Benefits of Chimney Caps
While most homes have chimney caps on their chimneys, they can be damaged or come loose over time. Without a functioning chimney cap, the top of the flue is exposed to the elements and vulnerable to water entry. Water entry cause exterior masonry to deteriorate. In addition, it can also damage delicate internal fireplace components such as the damper or refractory masonry.
Likewise, a missing or damaged chimney cap can also allow debris such as sticks and leaves to fall into and block the chimney. This can negatively affect chimney drafting and can be a risk factor in chimney fires. Animal entry can be a similar problem. Everything from small birds, squirrels, even large raccoons will seek refuge in the chimney structure.
Chimney caps do more than just keep debris and moisture out, they also keep sparks in. The metal top and mesh sides of the chimney cap allow the fireplace to safely draft. It also prevents sparks from flying out of the flue and onto the roof or nearby landscaping. This secondary function can reduce the risk of roof fires when your fireplace is in use.
Preventing Chimney Leaks
Having a regular chimney inspection each year is one of the best ways to prevent chimney leaks. Not only do chimney inspections check all accessible interior and exterior portions of the chimney for signs of deterioration, but they also ensure the chimney cap is still in place and has not been damaged.
In addition to a working chimney cap, there are other preventative measures homeowners can take to protect their chimneys against water damage. Waterproof protectants, designed specifically for fireplaces, allow water and gas to evaporate out of the masonry. This prevents new water from being absorbed. Also, these products are especially effective on homes with existing damaged masonry from water entry.
Chimney caps don’t just add a decorative finish to the top of your chimney, they serve an important purpose. They protect the chimney and flue from animals, debris, and most importantly, moisture. To have your chimney cap inspected or to have a new cap installed, contact ChimneyTEK today.