We all love our chimneys. They add a certain aesthetic beauty to our homes and help keep our families safe from the smoke and harmful gases that would otherwise leak into our homes without them. Since we value them so much for this protection that they provide, why shouldn’t we protect them a little, too? This is where chimney caps come into play. They’re not required on chimneys; however, we strongly recommend that you consider having one installed on your chimney.
Purpose of a Chimney Cap
So what purpose does a chimney cap serve? It’s quite simple actually. The basic job of a chimney cap is to cover the chimney’s opening in an effort to keep water, birds and other wildlife, leaves, twigs and other debris from getting into your chimney and/or house. Water is directed away from the center and off the sides of your chimney. Birds, other wildlife, leaves, twigs and other debris are blocked from getting to your chimney via the mesh screening on the side, thereby preventing it from becoming a giant trash can. If any of these things were to get into your chimney, they could damage the chimney and cause more problems for you down the road. On the other hand, keeping them all out can increase the lifetime of your chimney liner.
Chimney Cap Materials
Chimney caps are made from a variety of materials – galvanized steel, copper, stainless steel, and aluminum – and can be simple or ornate. Stainless steel caps generally give homeowners the most bang for their buck, as they are not impacted by the elements as much as are the other materials. Galvanized steel and aluminum caps can and will eventually rust and need to be replaced, while shiny, more expensive copper caps will slowly weather and eventually end up the same color as the Statue of Liberty (some homeowners may actually prefer copper’s natural patina and will be willing to fork over the extra money for it; it’s purely a personal preference).
For those who are worried about the cost associated with a chimney cap, basic caps can be found at a pretty fair price. Deciding to purchase a chimney cap and have it installed by a professional chimney technician is a choice you won’t soon regret. It’s much cheaper to add a chimney cap now than to have to repair or replace your chimney liner sooner than you’d like. It’s also a lot cheaper to have a cap installed than to hire a pest removal specialist to remove a family of raccoons from your chimney. Unless you just really want to be on an episode of Call of the Wildman, do yourself a favor and at least consider having a chimney cap installed.