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Everything You Need to Know About Chimney Cap Installation
Everything You Need to Know About Chimney Cap Installation | Universal Roofing & Exteriors


Everything You Need to Know About Chimney Cap Installation

We feel like you already know this, but in case you don’t, a chimney cap is a protective cover that sits on top of your chimney. Its purpose is to keep out debris, snow, rain, and even animals. It also improves ventilation and assists in stopping sparks that rise up from your fireplace. Having a properly installed chimney cap can accomplish all of this. An improperly installed chimney cap could cause multiple issues, from possible fires to needing roof repair.

Are there different types of chimney caps?

Sure are. Although the idea of a cap to cover the top of a chimney seems simple, there are differences in types and sizes to consider. For sizes, either you or a professional is going to need to measure. As for types, there are single and multi-flue caps, top-mount that installs on the chimney crown and spark arrestor caps. We would recommend making sure to have a spark arrestor cap when your fuel sources can expel more particulates, such as wood and pellet fuel sources.

What are the benefits of a chimney cap?

The main purpose of a chimney cap is to keep most things out but one thing in! To reduce the possibility of damage, a cap assists in keeping out rainwater and other debris like leaves and branches. It also helps keep out pests like birds or other animals. A properly installed chimney cap is even able to aid in better airflow, which helps with proper ventilation and prevents carbon monoxide poisoning. And when burning a fuel source that releases flaming particulates, it reduces the risk of embers escaping and being a fire hazard for your house and the surrounding neighborhood!

Is installing a chimney cap safe?

This really depends on your comfort level with heights and working on your roof. You might be comfortable with heights and even have the proper equipment, such as ladders, harnesses, and lifts, to reach and work on your roof safely. We would recommend allowing an insured professional to use their years of experience to complete the task safely and correctly.

Some ways to make the installation safer:

–          You should avoid doing chimney work on rainy or windy days.

–          Secure your ladder to ensure its stability, or use scaffolding.

–          Have someone assist with holding a ladder or moving materials.

–          Wear safety gear. This includes a safety harness for tall roofs and more basic equipment like

goggles, gloves, and proper footwear.

Can you walk me through an installation?

The first step to a project like this is to decide if it is an issue that you want to spend your time on. If you have the time, the tools, and the right safety mindset, you might pull this off; no problem. If you have any doubts, hire a professional and have it done right the first time. Another reason to hire a professional is that they will be able to adjust to any circumstances that happen. There are many aspects not covered below that can change the installation of a chimney cap.

However, a quick rundown of the most common steps in a chimney cap installation goes as such:

1.       Inspect the chimney for structural soundness and remove any blockages.

2.       If this installation is a replacement, remove the other cap. The mounting hardware can be screws or

bolts.

3.       Align the new cap properly to the flues or chimney crown.

4.       Secure a mesh screen tightly without allowing any gaps in the positioning.

5.       As the chimney cap is usually the highest point on your house, it is often hit with high winds.

Ensuring it is secure to the chimney is essential.

6.       Check the airflow and adjust as needed.

Should I hire a professional or install the cap myself?

If the above sounds like something you are capable of, that’s excellent.  If you are already having doubts, you have your answer to hire a professional. If you are still trying to decide the answer to this question, the following are a few factors to consider.

–          Complexity: Depending on the age of your chimney, modifications may need to be made to the

installation. An improper installation could exacerbate issues the chimney cap is meant to

mitigate.

–          Building Codes: All locations will have differing building codes and regulations. Your local

professional should be aware of these if you are not.

–          Skill: If you are not used to working on other areas of your house, we would recommend that you

don’t start on your roof.

–          Height: Roof safety is of the utmost importance. If you are uncomfortable with heights, a

professional is not.

Photo of a Brick Chimney Stack

What are the dangers of an improperly installed chimney cap?

–          Air Quality: Air flow may be restricted. This could cause smoke to infiltrate your living space or

allow the dangerous byproduct of carbon monoxide to be inhaled. Carbon monoxide is a colorless

and odorless gas that can be fatal.

–          Pests: Gaps in an improperly installed chimney cap can cause birds and animals to nest and

create blockages. These blockages can also lead to poor air quality.

–          Water Damage: A leaking chimney cap can seep into the chimney flue and fireplace. This can

cause multiple other issues like mold or rusting of the metal components.

–          Fire Hazard: Spark arrestors are installed to stop combustible particulates, like sparks and

embers, from posing a risk to your house or neighboring structures.

Final Thoughts

We hope that we have been helpful in answering any questions you had about installing a chimney cap. We’ve discussed the benefits, types, and safety concerns, offering basic instructions, advice on when to hire a professional, and some of the dangers of an improperly installed chimney cap. We are hoping that by providing these details, you will be able to make a better-informed decision on each step or aspect of your chimney cap adventure!

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