When Is the Best Time to Replace Your Chimney Cap?

When Is the Best Time to Replace Your Chimney Cap?


A chimney cap is vital to your home’s defense against nuisance animals and Nature. Bad chimney caps are one of the biggest problems that allow animals access to your chimney, which can present a wide variety of problems. If your cap is starting to get bad, or if you do not have one, purchasing one with a timeline in mind can be important. Continue reading to learn more about replacing your chimney cap.


Why do I need a chimney cap?

Chimney cap installation can be performed by chimney cap experts, Master Caps for example, or can be done DIY. There are a couple of reasons you want to have a chimney cap, but one of the most important is that it will keep sparks and embers from your fireplace from burning your roof or catching fire outside your home. Another great reason to install a cap is to prevent rain, snow, hail, leaves, and other natural items from entering your chimney. This will prevent you from having to have a chimney sweep service performed more often than normal. Finally, another great reason to have a cap is to keep nuisance animals out of your chimney. Many animals, such as raccoons, squirrels, bats, and birds, love making chimneys their home. They can build nests inside, which can catch fire and potentially cause a fire hazard to your home. 


What is a chimney cap?

Chimney caps are metal structures that are designed to fit over the top of a chimney. They feature solid metal construction in some areas, and then a metal mesh in other areas. This mesh allows for smoke to escape while it traps any burning embers or sparks. This solid and mesh construction is also effective in keeping out moisture, which is accomplished by the cap’s design. Finally, the mesh keeps all nuisance animals out, as the mesh pattern is always small enough to prevent animal access.


Why should I replace a chimney cap?

Like any product, chimney caps can begin to be degraded by time and the elements. Since chimney caps can be degraded, this lessens their effectiveness for various purposes. When the cap quits working like designed, more moisture, debris, and animals will begin to gain access to your chimney. This can lead to a degradation of your chimney’s materials or even a chimney fire that could potentially catch the rest of your home on fire. A simple chimney cap replacement can save you thousands of dollars down the road.


When should I replace my chimney cap?

This question can be answered fairly simply, as it should appear abundantly obvious when your chimney cap should be replaced. When you begin seeing signs of corrosion, wear, bending, or warping, this is a great sign that you should be on the lookout for a replacement cap. Pay special attention to the wire mesh, as this is usually the first part of a chimney cap that will be degraded enough to cause it to lose effectiveness. Once the mesh begins to allow access for animals, rain, snow, leaves, and other debris, it has lost its purpose of being there. Sometimes you will have creosote that builds up on the mesh part of the cap, which has the potential to catch fire. In addition, excess creosote will even begin to cut off airflow, so the smoke will not be able to escape your chimney cap.


How should I pick my next chimney cap?

Determining what you should purchase for your replacement chimney cap comes down to a few major factors. The most important factor to keep in mind is the price of the chimney cap. This will drive virtually the entire process of deciding on a chimney cap, as the price will affect the warranty, material it’s made of, and design. Chimney caps can cost anywhere from $50 to $1,000, each with significant advantages and drawbacks. For the most part, more expensive chimney caps will have very good warranties, some lifetime ones, while the cheaper ones will feature no warranty or very short warranties. 


Which metal should I choose?

This is getting into the meat and potatoes of picking out a chimney cap, as the metal, the cap is constructed from will determine most of its important properties and its price. Galvanized steel provides a nice combination of strength, affordability, and corrosion resistance. The galvanized coating of this will prevent much of the corrosion and rusting that would normally occur for less suitable metals, while the steel will provide a good amount of stability and strength. Aluminum caps are usually the cheapest caps available, and for good reason. While they will not show much corrosion, aluminum caps are the most likely metal to be damaged during a storm event and will provide much less strength. 

When it comes to the two more expensive options for chimney caps, the metals are stainless steel and copper. Copper is more beneficial for its appearance, but it does provide excellent corrosion resistance and good strength abilities. The most durable and corrosion-resistant metal that is used for chimney caps is stainless steel. Stainless steel caps usually come with a lifetime warranty and should last you for most of your life. Making the decision on which metal you want directly impacts the overall success of your chimney cap.


How can chimney caps be installed?

Now that you have picked out a chimney cap that you want to install on your chimney, you may be wondering how it can be installed. You have two main options: DIY or chimney professionals. Homeowners with basic home improvement skills can install most chimney caps and should not require an expert’s installation. However, many companies that sell chimney caps and perform chimney services may already be at your home performing a chimney sweep service, so you could have them kill two birds with one stone while they are there.

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