What Major Problems Can Chimney Caps Prevent?

March 24, 2022 in Chimney Caps

Major Problems Chimney Caps prevent.

Many homeowners tend to be ambivalent over the uses and potential benefits of a chimney cap. To many, this seems like just another useless addition to their property, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Chimney caps actually work to prevent a lot of problems, which we’ll talk more about in just a moment. It’s also worth noting that chimney caps, like any other improvement to your property, will increase the value of your home during a potential valuation. Because of the many benefits of having a chimney cap installed, this one little step will not only save you a lot of grief but also pay for itself if you ever decide to sell your property.

  • Keeping out wild animals.

Perhaps the biggest and most obvious advantage of installing a chimney cap is that it serves to keep wild animals out of your chimney. Now, why would an animal want to crawl down your chimney, you might be wondering? Well, the thing about human homes is that they’re usually quite attractive for wild animals, as they are sources of all three things that animals are most actively searching for – food, water, and shelter.

So the first reason why a wild animal might want to crawl down a chimney is to ensure a constant source of food, water, and warmth. Not only that, but since chimneys are fairly protected and difficult to access, they also provide smaller animals, like squirrels, or raccoons, with protection against predators. Visit wildlife-removal.com to learn more about wild animals.

The main problem with animals in your chimney is, aside from the obvious destruction they might cause, that at wintertime, you will want to light a fire. And when you do, the animals nesting inside your chimney may either get trapped in there and even if they manage to get out, they will leave behind their nesting material. Since both animals and nests act as great kindling, it’s prudent to install a chimney cap.

  • Keeps out the rain.

A chimney cap is also a great idea for your home, as it prevents rain from getting into the chimney, and through that, into the house. If enough rain gets into your chimney, it can cause swelling, decay, and long-lasting damage to your walls, attic, and so on.

Since chimney caps are keeping rain and other elemental damage from getting inside the chimney, they also protect the integrity of the chimney itself. In time, being exposed to harsh elements can lead to serious damage to your chimney, which in turn, can pose a fire hazard that risks destroying the entire home.

  • It can also reduce downdrafts.

When strong winds are constantly getting into your chimney, this can cause the smoke to fill the home, and also make the home itself quite chilly. A chimney cap, fortunately, can act as a potent deterrent, and reduce the wind that gets inside. This will make your home more energy-efficient (which is another reason why a chimney cap is valuable during valuation).

  • Stop sparks getting out.

Sparks flying out of the chimney can be a serious concern, particularly if you live in a dry climate. In this case, it’s easy for a few errant sparks to get out, and set the entire roof ablaze. Fortunately, the wire mesh of the chimney cap works well as a spark deflector.

On the other hand, it’s this same wire mesh that can become hazardous, as it accumulates creosote This is flammable, and will also make it harder to get a fire going. So keep in mind that a chimney cap will need to be cleaned regularly, to maintain its efficiency.

Does the Icy Winter Damage Your Chimney?

February 25, 2022 in Chimney Caps

Winter weather can be insanely harsh on your skin. Little wonder fireplaces are an essential part of any house during this icy period. But despite the insane levels of heat generated within, the external frigid winter can still wreak havoc on your chimney.

Over several decades, our experts at Master Caps have studied and figured out the negative impact icy winter can have on your chimney. And in this article, we explore some of them. 

But first, it’s essential to understand how ice affects the chimney.

How Does Ice Affect the Chimney?

Various components of the chimney exterior are built to keep water out – from the chimney crown (that prevents moisture from getting between the chimney flue and exterior masonry) to the chimney cap. The metal flashing also provides a waterproof barrier between the roof and chimney. 

However, the brick and mortar of your chimney are porous substances. This is important because it ensures dangerous gases can escape your chimney. But at the same time, these pores also allow moisture in. 

During the cold winter, this absorbed moisture freezes and expands, pushing apart the internal structure of the brick and mortar. On the other hand, the heat from the chimney melts the ice, leaving behind spaces created by prior freezing. The repeated process of freezing and thawing results in growing gaps until significant damage is done. 

Damages Icy Winter Cause on your Chimney

  • Deteriorating mortar

As noted earlier, the freezing and thawing of moisture within the brick and mortar gradually weakens its structural integrity. With time, the bricks begin to collapse. And when that happens, bigger gaps are created, which allows more moisture to enter the chimney, leading to faster deterioration. 

  • Spalling

Spalling occurs when fragments of material are broken off a larger solid body. The freezing and thawing of moisture in chimney bricks also produce spalls. You may even notice these fragments around the chimney or on the ground below the chimney.

  • Staining or efflorescence

Efflorescence is a crystalline deposit of salts that can form when water is present in or on brick and other building surfaces. They are typically white, green, brown, or yellow, creating salt deposition after water evaporation. 

If there are soluble salts within your masonry and enough moisture dissolves the salt, these salt deposits may be formed after the water evaporates through the bricks. 

  • Unwanted critters

Just as humans yearn for warmth during the cold winters, animals are also looking for warm places they can reside. Do not be surprised if a raccoon, skunk, or other wildlife starts living in your chimney if no cap is present. Asides from leaving lots of droppings, these animals can also wreak several other damages. 

How to Protect Your Chimney in the Icy Winter

  • Waterproof your chimney

As noted earlier, masonry chimneys are usually porous to allow dangerous gases out. Special waterproofing materials can be used to prevent moisture from getting into the brick without compromising its ability to let harmful gases out.

  • Install a chimney cap

It’s simply common sense to have a chimney cap installed. But more importantly, inspect your chimney cap to ensure it is not damaged or vulnerable. That way, you can prevent moisture and wild critters from entering.

  • Install a cricket

Cricket is a compact diversion roof that prevents a deluged chimney. They are usually used to protect chimneys on the low side of the roof or chimneys on a steep roof. 

  • Regular inspections and repairs

It is crucial to inspect your chimney regularly. That way, you can quickly pick up on cracks or gaps in the mortar joints and fix them before they become severe. 

Wrap Up

Nothing else you do to prevent chimney damage from the icy winter will matter without a chimney cap. Contact us today at Master Caps for the best chimney caps that will permanently keep moisture out.  

What to Do if your Chimney Liner is Damaged

January 12, 2022 in Chimney Caps

A chimney liner (also known as a flue liner) is usually a flexible tube that connects your stove pipe to a line inside your chimney. It helps to carry fumes up the liner instead of releasing them directly into the chimney cavity. 

The condition of the flue liner is an important safety consideration. It protects nearby combustibles from scorching temperatures generated in the chimney. A National Bureau of Standards (NBS) in 1940 found that woodwork adjacent to an unlined chimney would catch fire within 3.5 hours. This again emphasizes the importance of chimney liners. If your chimney liner is damaged or breached, the fireplace or stove shouldn’t be used until the issue is resolved. 

This post examines the leading causes of chimney liner damages, common signs of a damaged liner, and what to do if your liner is damaged. 

chimney caps

Causes of chimney liner damager

  1. Improper construction of the chimney or improper installation of the liner. 
  2. Corrosive byproducts of combustion flue gases can lead to the deterioration of mortar joints.
  3. Using the wrong liner size can lead to excessive creosote buildup. Mixed with moisture, creosote accelerates flue liner deterioration. 

Signs of a damaged flue liner

Unfortunately, a damaged chimney liner doesn’t give noticeable signs until significant damage has been done. For one, you may start to notice broken masonry in your fireplace. You may also see the debris of the liner in your firebox. And that’s precisely why it’s recommended that you inspect your chimney liner annually so you can identify damages before significant damages arise. 

What to Do to a Damaged Flue Liner

Repair It

A newly built chimney flue liner is usually made with tiles because they are the most cost-effective option. However, repairing the tiles when they are damaged is extremely difficult. Sometimes, a partial teardown of the chimney is required to accomplish the repair. And in most cases, it’s usually expensive to do so. 

However, in some cases, if the flue tile is broken near the top of the chimney and it is easily accessible for replacement, it can be cheap to remove and replace it. 

Replace It

In most instances, our experts at Master Caps have found that the best way to deal with a damaged chimney flue is to replace it. There are different types of replacement chimney liners. Some of the most common ones include:

  • Metal Liners

These are the most common replacement flue liners because they can be quickly and easily installed inside the existing chimney. Aluminum is sometimes used because it is cheap, but it can only be used with medium-efficiency gas appliances.  

On the other hand, stainless steel liners are the preferred choice among fire-protection experts. Whether you’re burning oil, wood, or gas, stainless steel provides excellent protection and will last for 15 to 20 years. 

  • Cast-in-place flue liner

This is a highly technical job that involves pouring down a cement-like product along the walls of the passageway of the chimney. This cast provides an insulation layer while improving the structural integrity of your chimney. Research has also shown this kind of flue liners deposit lower amounts of creosote. 

  • Clay liner replacement

Most fireplaces are built with clay because it is inexpensive and durable. However, with time, they begin to deteriorate. Replacing damaged clay tiles is possible, but it is very labor-intensive and expensive because it may involve tearing down some chimney sections.

Wrap Up

Do you suspect that your chimney liner is damaged? For your safety, it’s crucial you promptly get a professional involved.  Whether you need a chimney flue repair or replacement, you can always count on Master Caps to deliver outstanding results.