Your chimney is responsible for keeping your home safe when using a stove or fireplace for a heat source. That’s why it’s important to get regular Atlanta chimney cleaning and inspections to ensure safety. A regular inspection will reveal the overall condition of your chimney, which includes determining what shape your chimney cap in. Here are some reasons it’s important to have a chimney cap and to make sure it’s regularly maintained.
Why Chimney Caps Matter
One of the most important functions of a chimney cap is to keep small animals out of your chimney. Chimneys provide a comfortable winter home for many small animals like birds, raccoons, squirrels, and more. This is not only a safety concern because of the diseases carried by these animals, but they can also block your chimney or cause uncomfortable issues with foul odors if the animal dies in your chimney.
Another important function of the cap is to keep moisture out of the chimney. This is important because moisture is a major cause of chimney damage. Moisture gets into the mortar of the chimney, and as the temperature inside the chimney changes, the moisture causes expansion and contraction, eventually causing damage to the flue or to the brick structure itself.
Chimney caps have a mesh screen that also helps keep hot embers from exiting the chimney. This substantially reduces your chances of a fire on the roof from hot sparks leaving the chimney.
Why Maintenance Is Necessary
Just like your chimney needs maintenance to clean off built-up creosote and to check for any damage to the chimney, your chimney cap needs to be checked because it’s susceptible to creosote buildup and damage too. An Atlanta chimney sweep will check the condition of the chimney cap screen to make sure there’s not a lot of creosote buildup. Other debris from outside the chimney can also accumulate on the screen and clog it up. Anytime the screen gets plugged with debris or creosote buildup, your chimney is unable to function properly, and smoke or carbon monoxide can start to back up into your home. The chimney cap can also eventually sustain damage from animals, wind, hail, or other environmental factors. During the inspection, the technician will look for any cracks or holes in the chimney cap or other signs of damage. It’s important to have this damage repaired or to have a severely damaged chimney cap replaced before your chimney suffers more substantial damage. Damage that indicates the need for a new chimney cap includes a missing top, heavily rusted screens, extremely thick creosote buildup from lack of cleaning, or large holes in the screen. In these situations, a new cap is usually your best option.
Preventing Chimney Cap Damage
The best way to prevent major chimney cap damage is to make sure you have the chimney and cap inspected regularly. A chimney sweep in Atlanta can quickly identify the condition of the chimney cap and make minor repairs before they get worse. Since creosote buildup is one of the most common issues with chimney cap performance, it’s important to help prevent creosote buildup by burning seasoned, dry wood. Burning green wood or allowing a fire to smolder contributes to an excessive amount of combustion by-products, which is what will cause the creosote to build up in your chimney and on the mesh cover. To schedule your inspection and cleaning, contact Atlanta Chimney Doctor today.