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The importance of a chimney cap

One of your chimney’s most important components sits at the very top, where you likely don’t see it or think about it. The chimney cap may be out of sight and out of mind, but it plays an important role in protecting your chimney from water damage. As such, it’s important that you make sure your chimney cap is firmly in place and in good repair.

The Importance Of A Chimney Cap - Indianapolis IN - Your Chimney SweepYour chimney cap wears many hats

Your chimney cap sits at the very top of your chimney’s flue. In most cases, it is a metal cap attached to the top of your chimney with a wire cage. While a chimney cap’s primary role is to keep water from flowing down the walls of your flue and causing damage to the chimney liner, firebox, damper and other portions of your fireplace and chimney, it actually serves several other purposes as well.

While the top of your chimney cap diverts water and prevents strong downdrafts from entering your chimney, the metal caging that supports it is equally as important. The caging prevents animals and birds from entering your chimney, where they can build nests or become trapped and die. The caging also prevents leaves, twigs and other debris from entering and blocking the chimney. Blocked chimneys can cause all sorts of problems, including improper drafting, a backflow of carbon monoxide and even chimney fires.

The caging also helps to keep things in. Without it, sparks or still burning embers would be able to rise out of your chimney. Those embers can land on your roof or on nearby vegetation and ignite fires. 

Know your chimney cap

Because your chimney cap is so important, it is important not to forget about it high upon your rooftop. While most chimneys are fitted with chimney caps, those chimney caps can become dislodged over time, or they can rust or corrode. If your chimney cap is missing, in disrepair, or improperly fitted or installed it can pose a risk to your chimney and your home.

The only real way to know the status of your chimney cap is to visit your roof and inspect it. If you are unable to do so safely, your chimney sweep should inspect your chimney cap during your annual sweeping and inspection. Your sweep should inform you if your chimney cap is missing or in poor condition, and he or she should recommend and be willing to install a replacement if needed. If you are concerned, remember to ask your sweep about your chimney cap before he or she visits your rooftop.

If you need a sweep to inspect your chimney and your chimney cap, call Your Chimney Sweep today! We’ll make sure your chimney cap is in good repair and keeping your chimney safe.

By Joe Sauter on May 9th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Dealing with chimney swifts

Each spring brings an interesting prospect to your chimney: The possibility of chimney swifts nesting. So what exactly are chimney swifts, what problems do they cause and what can do you if the find their way into your chimney?

Dealing With Chimney Swifts - Indianapolis IN - Your Chimney Sweep

What are chimney swifts?

Chimney swifts are migratory birds that find their way into North America each March after wintering in South America. They nest in May through August, before returning to warmer weather each November. They are often mistaken for bats because of the jerky movements they exhibit when flying and eating bugs. Unlike other birds, chimney swifts cannot balance on horizontal tree branches, so they attach their nests to vertical surfaces. In the wild, that means hollowed out trees. They also love to build nests on the rough vertical inner surfaces of masonry chimneys.

What problems do chimney swifts cause?

While it may unsettle you to think of a bird nest in your chimney, chimney swifts don’t cause any damage to your chimney. You’ll likely be aware of their presence because you’ll hear a chirping noise coming from your chimney. They generally inhabit chimneys during the warm months when you won’t be building fires, so they won’t interfere with the function of your chimney. The also feed on insects, so if your chimney plays host to chimney swifts, you may see the benefit of having fewer insects in your yard this summer.

What can you do about chimney swifts?

If you notice chimney swifts in your chimney, you must play host to them until they are done nesting. Chimney swifts fall under a protected class of migratory birds, so it is illegal for swifts, their nests or their eggs to be removed from a chimney. If you want to avoid swifts in your chimney, there is a simple way to do so. Have a chimney cap, surrounded by metal caging, attached to the top of your chimney before swifts begin their migration north. With a cap in place, the swifts will not be able to make their way into your chimney to build a nest.

What can you do to encourage chimney swifts?

Chimney swifts have seen declining populations as their woodland habitats are destroyed. Because of that, many people enjoy playing host to chimney swifts to help their populations grow. To encourage chimney swifts, have your chimney swept from creosote as soon as you are done burning fires for the year and before the swifts begin to nest in May. Remove your chimney cap to allow chimney swifts to enter, and make sure that your damper is closed to prevent a baby swift from falling down the chimney into your fireplace. When the swifts have left for the year, have your chimney swept again to make sure that the remnants of their nest will not interfere with your chimney.

If you have any questions or concerns about swifts in your chimney, call the experts at Your Chimney Sweep! We’ll be able to help address your concerns to help you protect your chimney

By Joe Sauter on March 27th, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment