Total Chimney Care's Blog

Why You Need A Chimney Cap

As a fireplace owner, making sure your chimney has adequate protection is a must for ensuring everything runs safely and efficiently. Unfortunately, without certain parts, like the chimney cap, your structure will suffer significantly. Learn more about this integral piece of chimney anatomy below, then count on our team to ensure yours is in good shape!

What Is A Chimney Cap?

The chimney cap has become an integral part of chimney safety. In fact, the Underwriters Laboratories has stated that a liner won’t meet their standards unless there is a chimney cap in place to protect it. So, what is it exactly? It is a device that simply covers your flue opening so that no water or excess debris can enter your system. It’s thought of as one of the most affordable pieces of preventable maintenance a homeowner can invest in!

Keeping Out Water, Debris, Animals & More

When it comes to your masonry, water can take its toll on your brickwork and mortar in a hurry. Along with this, a chimney liner that is exposed to the elements will suffer immensely, putting your home and family at risk every time you light a fire. A chimney cap offers a simple solution for avoiding lots of expensive and time-consuming repairs.

Along with this, chimney caps are very effective at keeping out animals such as birds, raccoons, squirrels, and more. These creatures along with their nesting materials can cause damage, clogs, and bring on some unpleasant odors. Not to mention, the removal process can be a hassle. Don’t put yourself through this – have our team install a chimney cap!

Finally, it’s not uncommon for dirt and debris from the outdoors to work its way into your flue and cause clogs. This affects your draft significantly, which is why you need something to keep out all this stuff. The chimney cap can block it all.

They Stop Sparks, Too!

Chimney caps are clearly known for their ability to keep things out, but did you know that they can also keep things from escaping, as well? You are familiar with the fact that stray sparks and embers sometimes fly up your chimney, where they could land on your roof, overhanging tree branches, or nearby flammable structures. This is a hazard, and it could potentially start a fire.

A chimney cap will stop these dangerous sparks from escaping, ensuring you stay as safe as possible, no matter what your fire is doing.

Call Today

If your chimney cap is missing or damaged, don’t put off maintenance any longer. All it takes is one rainy day to mess up your structure for the long haul. However, with a cap in place, you won’t have to stress. Get the protection you deserve. Call on Total Chimney Care today!

By Steve Sobczak on July 26th, 2019 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Common Problems Found During Chimney Inspections

Your chimney inspection can be nerve wracking, especially if it’s been awhile since the chimney has last been looked at by a professional. You don’t know what problems the inspection could turn up or how much those problems could cost to repair. To help you anticipate potential problems, here are some common issues that come up during chimney inspections.

Cracked Chimney Crown

Chimney crowns, the exterior portion of the chimney that surrounds the chimney flue opening, are particularly susceptible to damage. That’s because chimney crowns are exposed to the elements and will crack or crumble due to moisture and freezing temperatures. On top of that, chimney crowns are often constructed from the wrong materials, which leads to faster breakdown and deterioration. It’s crucial to repair a cracked or damaged chimney crown because a failing chimney crown can allow water to seep into your home around the chimney flue, leading to further chimney damage or damage to your home’s structure.

Missing Chimney Caps

Chimney caps are metal tops that keep out water, wind gust, animals, and debris. Chimney caps should top off all chimneys, but sometimes they are not included during construction. Other times, wind or other elements damage the cap. A missing or damage chimney cap must be replaced, as a chimney cap is your chimney’s best defense against water damage.

Damaged Chimney Liner

Your chimney liner deals with the extreme temperatures from your fireplace, as well as moisture and soot. Sometimes the liner contains small chimney fires which go undetected until an inspection. All of these factors can cause cracks or weakening in the chimney liner. Repairing your chimney liner restores its function so it can continue to protect your home from the extreme temperatures, sparks and smoke from your fireplace.

Water Damage

Extending beyond your roofline, your chimney faces the brunt of the elements. It also provides and opening to your home’s structure. That makes your chimney extremely vulnerable to water damage. Chimney inspections often will turn up masonry water damage on your chimney’s exterior, top or interior. Inspections also can turn up leaks around the chimney base or through the structure. It’s especially important to address water damage in your chimney, as unaddressed water damage worsens over time. It weakens your chimney’s structure and potentially damages your surrounding home structure.

Obstructions

Particularly if a chimney goes unused for an extended period of time, chimney inspections turn up obstructions. Natural debris, animals or even uncleared creosote can obstruct your chimney. An obstructed chimney puts your home in danger of a chimney fire or can force dangerous carbon monoxide back into your home.

If you’re due for a chimney inspection, call the experts at Total Chimney Care! Trust our certified chimney technicians to perform a thorough inspection of your chimney. We clearly explain any problems discovered and propose the best solution to restoring your chimney’s appearance, structure and function.

By Steve Sobczak on December 1st, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

What causes chimneys to leak?

Spring’s wet weather can bring some unexpected — and unpleasant — surprises: Chimney leaks. There are some things you should be looking at to determine what is causing your chimney to leak. That includes water gathering in your firebox, warped or stained walls around your chimney, or rust in your fireplace.

Missing or Damaged Chimney Cap

Often, preventing or stopping chimney leaks comes with a simple solution. Top your chimney with a sturdy chimney cap in good repair. Builder-grade chimney caps can fail within a few years, and even the sturdiest of chimney caps can get blown off course during wicked weather. If you notice water coming in through your chimney, check your chimney cap first!

Cracked Chimney Crown or Chase Cover

Chimney crowns cover the vertical layers of your masonry chimney, from the exterior edges of the chimney masonry to the inner edge of your flue. In a prefabricated chimney, this job is performed by the chase cover. Chase covers can corrode over time and let water in. Masonry chimney crowns can crack and crumble during cold winter weather. Either a failing crown or chase cover can let water into your chimney.

Falling Masonry

Winter moisture coupled with freezing temperatures can cause your chimney’s masonry to deteriorate. If your masonry bricks have cracked, or if mortar has crumbled away, that can allow water to seep into your chimney and cause additional water damage.

Loose Flashing

Often, when homeowners think their chimney is leaking, water is actually finding its way in through the chimney flashing. Flashing surrounds the base of your chimney where it meets the roofline so that water can leak in at the joint. If the flashing has been improperly installed, it can allow water to gain access to your chimney and your home’s structure. Even properly installed flashing can pull away from the chimney base or develop cracks or holes over time. If you’ve ruled out other chimney issues, call a professional to inspect the flashing around your chimney. They will make sure it is fitted snuggly between the roof and the chimney and that it is free from any damage.

A chimney leak should never be ignored! If left unchecked, even minor chimney leaks can cause major damage. If you see water in your fireplace, stains on the exterior of your chimney or signs of water damage on your walls or ceiling, it’s time to call in chimney experts! Call Total Chimney Care to schedule an appointment today! Our chimney technicians can locate the cause of your chimney leak and diagnose the best way to fix your chimney leak.

By Steve Sobczak on May 22nd, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment

Common Chimney Repairs

At Total Chimney Care, we do all we can to help our clients avoid chimney damage, from advising on best burning practices to providing diligent annual maintenance (including chimney inspections and chimney sweeping and cleaning).

It is our mission to assure you that we will get the job done right, in a timely manner, and for a fair price. Our goal is to exceed your expectations!

It is our mission to assure you that we will get the job done right, in a timely manner, and for a fair price. Our goal is to exceed your expectations!

But the reality is, even with the best care possible, problems can and will crop up — your chimney is constantly under attack from punishing weather and high heat, so it’s almost impossible to avoid the need for repairs altogether. The key is to keep on top of those inspections so we can handle problems while they’re still small, and to call Total Chimney Care as soon as possible when you notice an issue with your chimney in between inspections. Our technicians can get your system back in shape quickly and properly, so you can enjoy your fireplace or stove again.

Wondering what to expect? Here are some of the more common chimney repairs we make:

Replacing Chimney Caps

Two things often bring an early end to the life of a chimney cap. One: a particularly bad storm with heavy winds, which can tear a cap off (and sometimes carry it away, never to be heard from again). Two: being made of galvanized metal. That material tends to be the least expensive, so cost-conscious builders and homeowners sometimes prefer them. The down side is that galvanized metal isn’t the most durable choice — it can corrode and degrade, leaving your cap unable to do its job of keeping moisture, nesting animals and falling debris out of your flue.

If your chimney cap is gone, literally or figuratively, Total Chimney Care can replace it with a properly sized and installed, highly durable new cap.

Repairing Or Replacing Chimney Dampers

Your chimney damper’s role is to close off the flue when you’re not using your fireplace, which makes it an important part of your home’s energy efficiency and your system’s protection against moisture intrusion. It’s not uncommon for throat dampers in older chimneys to eventually fail — the metal plate used to close off your flue can rust and corrode, get stuck or come off the track it’s on. Total Chimney Care can often repair damaged throat dampers, but we can also replace them with far superior top-sealing dampers, which are more energy efficient and more durable.

Repairing Damaged Masonry

Masonry materials are beautiful and durable, but time and the elements can and do take their toll. From masonry joints that recede from years of exposure to the elements to cracks that develop from your home’s settling, masonry damage can lead to leaks and to improper venting — and those are certainly things you don’t want. Total Chimney Care can handle all kinds of masonry repairs, from intricately tuck pointing damaged joints to repairing spalling chimney crowns, bringing your chimney back to looking and functioning its best.

Those are just a few of the more common repairs we’re called out to do, but Total Chimney Care is focused on what our name indicates. If you have a problem with your chimney, fireplace or stove, we can help — just give us a call!

By Steve Sobczak on May 20th, 2014 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , | Leave a Comment

Chimney Caps and Your Options

Understanding whether chimney caps are important for you is complicated. The best way for you to make a decision when it comes to choosing and maintaining a chimney cap is to consult a chimney sweep. Even more than your cap, their job is to stay on top of every component of your chimney.

Chimney Caps - New Haven CT - Total Chimney Care

First and foremost, the chimney cap needs to keep water out of the chimney, so it needs to be of the right size and slope. Poorly designed chimney caps are definitely out there, so ensuring that your choice is not among them is definitely important. If the cap is not directing water away from the flue, it might as well not be there at all.

Next, the cap has to keep debris, birds, and animals out of the chimney, but at the same time allow maximal drafting. Whether that is better solved on your roof with bars or mesh… is a good question to ask your chimney sweep, too. Migratory patterns, trees in the area, wind exposure, any number of things can impact on “the right cap” for this purpose.

Special Purpose Caps to Last

Every chimney cap improves a chimney’s updraft just by being there, but significant drafting problems can be corrected with “draft-improving caps”. The problems of course need first to be checked and the cause identified (again, a job for a CSIA certified sweep). If insufficient drafting is the only problem, it may be correctable with one of these specially designed caps.

Finally, in this introduction to your options, the durability-versus-cost issue is important in choice of materials. Again, so many location-specific and budget variables factor into this choice that you would do well to involve a chimney professional that works with chimney caps regularly. This will ensure that you are making the proper selections and decisions for your home and family’s safety and comfort.

By Steve Sobczak on April 14th, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment