5 Reasons to Install a Chimney Cap
This Hartford, Connecticut, member had a chimney cap installed when her masonry contractor rebuilt her chimney. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Jessica C. of Bristol, Conn.)
While you may not be intimately familiar with the anatomy of your home’s fireplace or chimney features, a chimney cap plays an important role in your home’s chimney system. If your home doesn't already have one, here are five reasons why you should consider installing a chimney cap.
1. Reduce moisture
A chimney cap will keep rain water from coming down your home’s chimney. Rain water can damage chimneys with stainless steel liners, chimney dampers and chimney mortar joints. Beyond the damage from the water itself, moisture from rain water can produce mold and mildew.
2. Keep out animals
Animals like birds, raccoons and squirrels often try to make their homes within chimneys. In many cases, these critters will enter the chimney but won’t be able to exit, eventually dying. This can produce maggots, flies and unpleasant odors in your home. A professionally installed chimney cap, sized properly, will prevent animals from entering the chimney.
3. Block downdrafts
If the wind is blowing in a certain direction, it can introduce a downdraft. If you don’t have a chimney cap and you’re using a wood-burning fireplace at the time, a wind-induced downdraft has the potential of blowing smoke back into your home. The flat-shaped top of a chimney cap is designed to help prevent wind-induced downdrafts.
4. Stop sparks and embers
Some people refer to chimney caps as spark arrestors, which basically means that the chimney cap helps prevent lit embers or sparks that travel up the chimney from landing on roof, possibly catching it on fire.
5. Prevent debris build-up
Leaves, branches, twigs and other debris can enter a chimney and build up if a chimney cap is not in place.
Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on Feb. 15, 2013.