Total Chimney Care's Blog

Chimney crown, chase cover, chimney cap: What’s the difference?

Three of the most common, and the most commonly confused, words when discussing chimneys are chimney crown, chase cover and chimney cap. Often these words are used interchangeably, but in fact, they represent very different components that sit atop chimneys. It’s important to know the difference so you can communicate effectively with your chimney sweep — It’s difficult to describe or understand a problem if you’re unsure what the terms are referring to!

Chimney crownDifference between Chimney crown, chase cover, & caps - New Haven - Fairfield CT - Total Chimney Care

Chimney crowns are a masonry component at the very top of a chimney’s structure. Made of concrete, the chimney crown seals the top edge of your chimney. It slopes away from the chimney flue to help divert water downward, and it should extend a few inches beyond the edges of the chimney itself to help shield the chimney structure from water.

Too often, chimney crowns are improperly constructed from masonry mortar, which leads them to crack and wear away quickly. Even properly constructed chimney crowns will crack or deteriorate over time. A crack in your chimney crown can lead to water damage, so it’s important to be aware of its condition. Your chimney sweep should update you on the health of your chimney crown during your annual inspection.

Chase cover

A chase cover offers a similar function to a chimney crown, but it is made from metal and sits atop factory-built chimneys. Chase covers are used on non-masonry chimneys, such as vinyl, wood, or aluminum sided chimneys. Like chimney crowns, they seal around the edges of the chimney to help keep water away from the flue.

Even though chase covers are made from metal, they are break down over time. The metal corrodes, and can lead to rust dripping down the sides of your chimney or water leaking down the inside of your flue. Every so often, your chimney chase cover will need to be replaced. As with a chimney crown, your sweep should give you an idea of the condition of your chase cover during your annual inspection.

Chimney cap

A chimney cap works in conjunction with your chase cover or chimney crown to keep water from penetrating your chimney. A chimney cap fits atop the opening of your flue to keep rainwater, snow or ice from flowing freely down the walls of your chimney. Most chimney caps are elevated from the main chimney by a wire cage. This case allows smoke to exit your chimney while keeping birds, rodents and debris from entering your chimney.

Chimney caps, too, are subject to break down or become displaced over time. You’ll want to make sure your chimney sweep reports on the health of your chimney cap, as it’s your chimney’s primary defense against water damage.

Chimney crown, chase covers and chimney caps are the most crucial elements to protect your chimney and your home from water damage. Be sure you know the health of your chimney crown or chase cover and your chimney cap, and make sure you communicate with your sweep to know when a repair or a replacement is needed!

If you have questions about your chimney crown, chase cover or chimney cap, call the experts at Total Chimney Care at 203-874-6772.

By Steve Sobczak on January 31st, 2016 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , | Leave a Comment

Dealing with a Leaky Chimney

You can easily stay on top of the maintenance of your chimney, but if you develop a substantial leak in your fireplace, you need to contact a certified professional as soon as possible.

You can easily stay on top of the maintenance of your chimney, but if you develop a substantial leak in your fireplace, you need to contact a certified professional as soon as possible.

Water can be your chimney’s biggest enemy, primarily due to the structural damages it can cause. With obvious signs like loose bricks on the exterior chimney and annual chimney sweeps and inspections, you can easily stay on top of the maintenance of your chimney, but if you develop a substantial leak in your fireplace, you need to contact a certified professional like Total Chimney Care immediately to assess and repair the leak. Our experienced technicians will find the leak’s location and fix what is causing the leak.

The Importance of Preventing Chimney Leaks

If you have a masonry chimney (or any chimney, for that matter), the Chimney Safety Institute of America stresses the importance of regular maintenance to prevent chimney leaks. However, when you are experiencing a chimney leak, you can relax after contacting Total Chimney Care because our expert technicians know exactly where to look and what to do. Some of the most common reasons for a leaky chimney include:

  • Damaged chimney cap or crown – The chimney cap or crown (a chimney crown is the masonry fireplace version of the chimney cap) is one of the most important parts of your chimney because it covers the top of your chimney, protecting it from rain water, animals, and debris. If your chimney cap or crown becomes cracked or damaged, it needs to either be repaired or replaced. Total Chimney Care specializes in masonry chimneys, and we guarantee our work rebuilding your cracked and damaged chimney crown.
  • Damaged or improperly installed flashing – Flashing is sheet metal that is installed around the exterior of the chimney to offer even more protection against water leaks; however, it does not last forever. Rusting causes the flashing to become ineffective and fails to prevent water from entering the chimney. Furthermore, although flashing is sold in DIY kits and promoted as easy to install, this is a job best left to professionals. Improperly installed flashing is one of the biggest causes of water leaks in chimneys.
  • Condensation – When a gas like water vapor transforms into the liquid form of water, condensation has occurred. If there is no physical damage to the chimney cap or crown or to the flashing, it is likely there is flue gas condensation causing the leaking in your chimney. Usually, to solve this problem, your chimney needs relining to keep the flue gases hotter to eliminate the condensation.

Waterproofing your Chimney

If you are not currently experiencing a leaky chimney, there is something you can do now to prevent this nightmare from happening to you: waterproofing. Recommended by the Chimney Safety Institute of America after your leaky chimney has been repaired and cleaned, a waterproofing treatment will extend the life of your chimney for years. Applied to your chimney by Total Chimney Care’s certified professionals, this waterproofing sealant will reduce the amount of water entering your chimney, decrease the erosion process from water, and preserve your chimney’s beauty and function.

Suffering from a leaky chimney is not fun, but before you panic, contact Total Chimney Care. Our certified repair associates are on hand to solve the problem and then protect you from this nightmare experience from happening again.

Common Blockages

What’s Up Your Chimney?

Every homeowner owes it to themselves to become aware of the condition of any part of their house. And like every appliance or piece of furniture, a chimney requires just as much attention. There always has to be proper and regular maintenance to ensure the safety and continued functionality of your chimney.

Now, here’s the thing: a chimney is one of the more exposed features of a house. And it can be easily susceptible to certain objects getting in and blocking the chimney. This is already a problem in itself, but it can cause even bigger problems to arise—making it harder for you to balance the necessary expenditures at home. We, at Total Care Chimney would like you to understand what could cause these blockages and how we can absolutely help you with solving that problem.

It is completely expected that something will get in and muck up the ventilation in your chimney system. Annual cleaning and inspection is meant to prevent and clear any obstructions.

It is completely expected that something will get in and muck up the ventilation in your chimney system. Annual cleaning and inspection is meant to prevent and clear any obstructions.

There are a number of things that can cause a blockage in your chimney. Here are some of the very common ones:

  • Leaves and debris. These items are all around and can rapidly fall and accumulate in chimneys during any season. At first they will seem insignificant but once there’s too much already, there is a risk for incomplete combustion and negative air pressure to occur, driving smoke into the house
  • Bird nests. Birds want to nest in open chimneys to breed and hatch their eggs because it gives them added protection from the environment. They surround chimneys during winter – the time for them to breed and make babies.
  • Spider webs. Lastly, these are the most underestimated and one of the most common blockages in the chimney. Spider webs are typically soft, easy to reach and easy to take out but are hidden most of the time and appear only when the problem becomes grave. One spider web is nothing, but thousands of webs will give you a problem.

There is Only One Solution

So these are the common blockages in the chimney and the best way to solve this is to have a chimney cap installed. This can help prevent anything from entering your chimney. This will allow you to truly enjoy your chimney all four seasons of the year, hassle-free. This does not only prevent blockages but can also lessen the chances for fires to start, carbon monoxide poisoning to happen and negative air pressure to occur. Total Care Chimney can definitely help you with that.

Common Causes of Chimney and Fireplace Odors

When it comes to smelly chimneys and fireplaces, a common culprit is creosote. Caused by the burning of fuel, such as wood, creosote will build up over time, and must be cleaned. It is important to remember, however, that there are other potential causes of foul odor. Things like water and excess chimney draft can cause these smells, so it is important to have a chimney inspection to determine the exact cause of the odor.

Picture of : Woman holding nose

Chimney odors are signals to have your annual inspection.

If the problem turns out to be creosote, make sure a CSIA certified chimney sweep conducts a thorough inspection and       cleaning. You’ll want to make sure no creosote is left behind on the chimney liner due to its extreme flammability. The CSIA certification will help you ensure that a competent and professional sweep is on the job. A chimney sweep that performs non-compliant work can cause an unnecessary tragedy.

If water ends up being the source of the smell, it is likely a problem with your damper. Chimney dampers that are old and corroded will often allow rainwater to get into the chimney. Improperly installed dampers will do the same. This isn’t the end of the world, however. A new damper can be installed to properly keep water out. Remember, if water was the source of the foul odor, make sure your sweep checks for structural damage. Brick and mortar chimneys are prone to water damage.

Chimney odors are not just unpleasant to smell. These odors can have noxious fumes that can hurt you, your family, and your pets. Don’t put off necessary cleaning and maintenance of your chimneys. Standards for maintenance have been developed over the course of many years, and exist to keep everyone in your home safe. Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you or someone you know is experiencing foul odors coming from their fireplace and chimney.