Every Chimney needs a Chimney Cap
Every Chimney needs a chimney cap no matter if the chimney is being used or not!
If you have a chimney on your house it needs a chimney cap. The chimney cap does several things for you. It keeps birds, animals, leaves, snakes, and most importantly the rain out. Rain will run down the chimney and will wet the soot that is in the chimney and cause the fireplace to smell like smoke inside of the house.
The biggest reason to "cap" a chimney is, the rain will cause the internal damper frame to rust and the grate that you put your logs on, to rust as well. If you have allergies, you want to keep the rain out because the rain will pool up behind the damper area, and will cause mold spores to start. If you have gas logs, the rain will cause the logs to become brittle and crack prematurely. If you get a lot of rain you will have to put towels down to "dam" up the water from running out onto the hearth, or onto your carpet. I have seen buckets, towels, and sand bags in a fireplace before. Living in South Carolina we sometimes get a hurricane that will come through the area and "dump" a lot of rain in a short period of time.
Now, lets talk about the types of chimney caps. Chimney caps are made of three types of metal: Galvanized, Stainless Steel, and Copper. Lets look at each:
Galvanized: A chimney cap that is painted black with 3/4-inch mesh and a lid on the top. Although they are the least expensive of the caps they may not be the most practical. The downside of galvanized caps is that they will have to be continually painted to keep them from rusting; and rust rolls down your brick chimney and roof creating ghastly colored stains! Gas logs exhaust is very caustic and will generally eat thru the cap in a few years; so just how often will you get up on that roof to paint that cap?
Stainless Steel: A chimney cap that is the color of a nickel with (according to your area) 3/4-inch or 5/8-inch mesh, also made of stainless steel. Does not require any maintenance, and comes with a lifetime warranty with our company. Gas logs exhaust will not harm the cap. A little more expensive than galvanized but, worth it if your chimney is tall, and you are afraid of heights. I can get onto some really "knee-knocking" roofs myself. So, the added money you pay just might be worth it to you.
Copper: A chimney cap that looks like a new penny when installed, but turns color later on looking much like an old penny, and may also turn green. It is a very beautiful cap, but it is the most expensive of the three caps. Gas log exhaust will not harm it. I have a picture of a copper cap that I install just above this text.
Some things i have removed from chimney's because of not having a chimney cap are squirrels, both live and dead; the live ones are a lot of fun. lol Raccoons, are a lot of fun to chase out of a chimney, too (being a smart alleck). The best method for that is to drop a rope down the chimney, tie it off so that they can climb out. Get off of the roof at this point, because there is nothing better than to have a "coon" climb up your arm while standing on a roof! Go inside of the house and turn on some loud music and most times it will cause the unwanted visitors to leave; it must hurt their ears. I have also removed just about any kind of ball that you can think of. I've removed ducks, woodpeckers, rats, black birds, and once even an owl. The owl had been in the customers chimney for about three days when i arrived. It was lethargic (thank God) when i reached into the area above the damper to remove it. I used to raise pigeons so i know how to hold a bird to keep it from hurting itself, if you are wondering. It gave no problems and only wanted to look around, as i was carrying it to the door to release it. I released its feet, and the owl flew off into the night. A very neat thing to see.
Scariest thing i had happen: I once opened a fireplace to check on a noise complaint from a customer, and a six foot black snake fell into my lap! OH HAPPY DAY!! I said a few words that i shouldn't have, and squeeled like a girl...no really... like a girl! I hate snakes! If you want to see something that i'm sure is funny, let a snake surprise me, and you will see a six foot one inch, 235 pound former Marine break all land speed records! So, please do your chimney a favor--as well as your local chimney sweep--and put a cap on the chimney!
Remember: Its good luck to shake hands with a sweep!
If you want to purchase some of the caps, they do come in a multitude of sizes and shapes. Check out this website, and leave me a comment if you have questions.
- Fireplace and Chimney Supplies : Home Gas logs, Fireplace screens, chimney caps : Home
Fireplace tools, Gas logs, Chimney caps, Top-sealing dampers, Fireplace screens, stainless steel chimney caps, and copper chimney caps.