Chimneys: they aren’t just a delivery route for presents from Santa. They are the way you rid your home of dangerous gases from your heating system. And they’re not just for homes with fireplaces; chimneys help release waste from your boiler, stove or furnace.
Just like any other part of your home, your chimney needs care and maintenance. According to the National Fire Protection Association, you should have your chimney inspected annually. “Chimneys, fireplaces, and vents shall be inspected at least once a year for soundness, freedom from deposits, and correct clearances,” the group says.
Your chimney cap should be inspected, too. Chimney caps offer your home a level of protection from outside elements. A broken chimney cap may not seem like a big deal, but it can leave your home’s exterior exposed to rain and snow that can seep in and cause bigger, more expensive problems.
1.What problem are you experiencing?
It’s a relatively small part of your home, but it plays a big part in keeping your heating system working smoothly and safely.
If you’ve noticed that rain or snow have been leaking into your flue, you may be experiencing problems with your chimney cap. If you have been having issues with wildlife like mice or squirrels getting into your home, your chimney cap may be the weak link. Seemingly mysterious drafts of air inside your home can be another indicator of chimney cap problems. A broken chimney cap can lead to an uptick in unwanted visitors like mice, squirrels and even raccoons. A faulty chimney cap could also lead to leaves and tree branches clogging up your flue – and that’s a huge ventilation problem and fire risk.
2.What type of chimney cap do you have?
There are lots of different types of chimney caps on the market. You can purchase single flue chimney caps or caps for multiple flues. There are caps that are designed primarily for use in high winds, caps that are highly decorative and caps that are very basic. The type of chimney cap your home has will determine not only what the problem is, but what you need to do to fix it. When you purchase your cap, it should come with instructions on how to care for it and keep it clean. Make sure you follow those instructions. You should also check to see if your cap came with a warranty. If so, how long does it last and what does it cover?
3.Who ya gonna call?
Well, probably not the Ghostbusters. But, if you are wary about climbing up on your roof to do repairs, you could call a mason, chimney experts or roofers. No matter who you call, make sure they are insured and legit. Ask for references and examples of work they have done in the past. Make sure they know how to deal with your particular circumstance. Get a cost estimate right up front. Chimney caps can range from $40 or $50 into over $100, but remember you will also be charged for labor. Ask if your professional offers any kind of guarantee on his or her work. If you see the same problem after having the cap repaired or replaced, will they fix it free of charge? See our guide on Chimney Cap Installation Cost to learn more.
Once your problem is resolved, take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Take care to have your chimney cleaned and inspected on a routine basis. Be on the lookout for anything out of the ordinary – water leakage, strange sounds or bad smells are all red flags. If you do notice a problem, don’t hesitate to act. Most problems are most quickly resolved if they’re caught early.
Don’t take your chimney cap for granted. It’s a relatively small part of your home, but it plays a big part in keeping your heating system working smoothly and safely.