Chimney Caps & Dampers
Chimney caps serve many functions. The most important is to prevent animal entry into the fireplace and possibly the home. These animals build nests and some will leave their feces behind to create a health hazard. The older your home , the more likely it is that there is also an exhaust vent in the chimney that is separate from the fireplace vent (also called the flue). The purpose of this flue is to vent the by products of natural gas combustion created by your furnace and/or hot water heater. These include carbon monoxide and many other corrosive chemicals. If this flue has been checked to make sure it is clear and drafting properly, the chimney cap will guarantee that it will stay clear in code approved installations.
Certain styles of chimney cap have screening vertically between the base of the cap and the lid or roof. The screen acts as a spark arrestor for wood burning fireplaces, and the roof also keeps rain and tree debris from entering and possibly clogging the flue.
The chimney cap also protects the crown of the chimney from rain ice and snow which causes freeze/ thaw and general deterioration which will vary greatly depending on the age of the chimney and the way it is built. It also prevents water entry into the brickwork of the chimney that will usually show up as a black bacteria growth that tells you that the interior of the chimney is staying wet for days or weeks after a rain.
We install many styles of top sealing, all stainless steel dampers (which is usually mistakenly referred to as the flue) at the top of the chimney as well. A stainless steel cable descends the flue and is attached at the sidewall of the firebox for effortless and easily visible opening and closing, at least with our product. A chimney damper that is left open or not properly closing can also act as a sieve for air in your home, leaking cool air in hotter months and warm air in cooler times. As we drive around the Dallas/Fort Worth area we see many of them left open on a continuous basis, so this item alone is not adequate to guarantee protection, although there are some chimneys we will integrate the cap with the damper which protects the flue only and not the rest of the top of the chimney (the crown).