You Need a Chimney Cap Even if You Don’t Use the Fireplace
The chimney is an integral part of the home, and it will continue to require routine maintenance and repairs even if you don’t use the fireplace. Moisture, particularly from rain and snow, can cause extensive damage to not only the chimney but to the home as well. A chimney cap is an inexpensive protective cover installed on top of the chimney to prevent rain, wind, snow, and other external elements from damaging the interior masonry and other components like the chimney liner and damper. The following four benefits explain why you need a chimney cap even if you don’t use the fireplace.
Prevents Water Damage
The chimney cap’s primary function is to keep water out of the chimney. Water that gets inside the chimney is very destructive. It slowly destroys the chimney from the inside out, accelerating the deterioration of the interior masonry, chimney liner, and other components weakening the entire structure leading to extensive repairs. The water can also leak to other parts of the house and damage walls around the fireplace. If the water damage continues to progress, the chimney can collapse, causing damage to the roof, siding, and exterior walls.
Stops Small Animals and Pests
A steel or copper chimney cap with a mesh screen stops small animals and pests in their tracks, preventing them from gaining entry into the chimney and your home. The top of the chimney is an attractive spot for birds, squirrels, and other small animals. These critters can be a nuisance even if you’re not using the fireplace. Aside from being noisy, especially at night when you’re trying to sleep, they make a mess in the chimney attracting pests such as ants, cockroaches, rats, and mice that can eventually make their way into your home.
Minimizes Indoor Odors
Besides keeping out water and small animals, the chimney cap also prevents debris like leave and twigs from nearby trees and brush from being blown into the chimney. The moisture accelerates the decomposition of organic matter, and the decaying leaves, twigs, along with small animals and pests, can cause foul odors to permeate through your home. Moisture in the chimney can also spur the growth of mold and mildew, causing an earthy or damp smell. Mold spores can also spread through the air to other areas of the home. Mold exposure can cause adverse health reactions in some individuals.
On those cooler days or evenings, a strong gust of wind can send a rush of cold air down the chimney making the rooms near the fireplace chilly. Wind gusts can also stir up dust and debris in the chimney and push them out of the fireplace if your damper happens to be open or is damaged, lowering your indoor air quality.