Look up on the roof of a house and you’ll probably see something covering the chimney. In some cases, it’s a traditional chimney rain cap, which goes over top of traditional chimneys and covers the flue opening to protect it from the elements and anything else that might go down the chimney. But if your home doesn’t have a traditional fireplace or a traditional chimney and instead has a manufactured chimney, you’re probably going to have a chase cover instead.
Manufactured chimneys are increasingly common, particularly in new constructions or in mid-range homes because they are much less expensive to install compared with a traditional fireplace and all of the associated brickwork and masonry. They are also a much more practical choice for modern families who might not have the time and energy to maintain traditional fireplaces in the way that they need to be maintained.
A manufactured fireplace has a plain metal flue that vents out of the fireplace and up through the roof of the home, similar to a traditional flue but without the surrounding masonry. Usually, these flues are covered by decorative covers called chases that will lend them a certain aesthetic and allow them to blend in with the rest of a home’s exterior. Expect a chase cover to be made from stucco, vinyl, or even brick veneer siding.
At the top of the chimney chase will sit the chase cover. This is typically made from some type of metal, such as aluminum, stainless steel, galvanized steel, or copper.
What should you know about each type of material? Consider this:
- Aluminum chase covers usually won’t rust, so they tend to last a lot longer than other types of chase covers. Unfortunately, aluminum is a soft metal, and as such, it won’t be very durable. Expect an aluminum chase cover to sustain damage at some point, especially if you live in an area where the elements tend to be harsh (strong winds, heavy precipitation, etc.)
- Stainless steel is the strongest type of metal you can usually find for a chase cover, so you can expect the product to last a long time without a need for repair or replacement. Stainless steel is a great choice if you live in an area with harsh weather. Because of the quality it offers, expect stainless steel to be slightly more expensive than other materials.
- Galvanized steel is usually your best choice for a short-term solution to tide you over until you can invest in a higher-quality product. Galvanized steel isn’t very expensive, but you get what you pay for—its affordability is offset by the fact that it isn’t very durable. Expect galvanized steel to rust fairly quickly and need to be replaced within a few years.
- Copper is not the most commonly seen material for chase covers because of its high cost; however, it’s a high-quality material that will last you a long time. Additionally, it has a beautiful aesthetic to it that sets it apart from other materials.
Chase covers serve an important purpose. The chase cover will protect the fireplace from:
- Water, which could get down into the flue system and cause extensive damage. The presence of too much water results in rust, mold, or mildew.
- Animals getting down into your flue to escape the elements. Animals might either build a nest in your flue, or they might get stuck and be unable to escape.
- Accumulation of debris like dried leaves or dirt, which presents a fire hazard.
What are some of the important benefits you can expect to see from a high-quality chase cover? Chase covers will often provide waterproofing, rustproofing, and overall increased value in your home.
Without a chase cover, precipitation in the form of rain, snow, and sleet would go down your flue. The chase cover shields against this while still allowing any vented exhaust from your fireplace to escape.
By making an investment in a chase cover, you’re investing in the value of your home. You can usually expect your chase cover to last about 20 to 30 years if it is made of high-quality material. Often, the first sign that your chase cover is deteriorating is the presence of rust. Orange, brown, and red stains will be visible going down the edge of your flue under your chase cover. If water is getting under the cover, your fireplace is at risk of having water go down the flue and enter your fireplace system. A chimney professional can assess this problem and provide guidance as to how water is getting in and what you need to do to repair or replace the cover.
If you have a manufactured fireplace and need to have your chase cover inspected or even replaced, our team here at Chimney TEK is available to help. Reach out to us today by calling 410- 796-8450.