Frequently Asked Questions:
The chimney has never had a cap. Why do I need one?
An un-capped chimney is like an open window, except you’re not up on the roof, so you don’t see the rain getting in. Water damage to chimney flues, likewise is often hidden from view. The outside of the chimney might look okay, but freeze-thaw cycles during the harsh New England winters – powerful enough to break down sidewalks, roads, brick walls and foundations – also gradually break up the masonry work inside a chimney. The damage is much greater if the top of the chimney is un-covered, so rain runs freely down the flue. Water penetration causes separation of flue liner sections, weakens mortar joints, and corrodes metal components like fireplace dampers. In the long term, an un-capped chimney is like an untreated deck, or an unfinished floor: over time, the elements take their toll, and the result is an unsafe condition and an expensive repair.
How does a cap help prevent fires?
Fireplaces and wood stoves often emit sparks up the flue. Lit pieces of paper sometimes are carried up the chimney. The screen mesh underneath the lid of the cap is designed to arrest sparks without impeding the draft. This helps keep sparks off of the roof.
We haven’t ever had animals in the chimney. Why should we worry about that?
If you haven’t, then you’re lucky. But animals do get into un-capped chimneys. Every year we remove songbirds, pigeons, ducks, squirrels, raccoon, and a variety of other animals from un-capped chimneys. In the “happy” cases, we can trap and remove a live animal without harming it. In less fortunate cases, it’s a matter of removing dead animals. In any case, wild animals carry parasites and diseases into your home, and removal can be expensive. A cap will help you avoid an unpleasant surprise.
Won’t a cap reduce the chimney draft, and interfere with the operation of the fireplace or stove?
On the contrary, in some cases caps actually improve the performance of a stove or fireplace, by deflecting downdrafts. In most cases there will no noticeable difference. Under the lid of the cap is a screen mesh, which is designed to allow the full volume of flue gasses to exit the chimney without any impediment.
I’ve seen stainless caps in hardware stores for much less money.
Not all caps are created equal. Some of the inexpensive brands have a stainless lid, but the mesh is regular steel. If you have ever seen just the old rusty mesh from a cap (without the lid) up on someone’s chimney, that’s the result: The screen rusted, the lid flew off, and what’s left is a rusty screen mesh. You would be surprised how many times people who have tried the “cheap” caps have called us later on, to get the job done right, with a good cap.
Also, one size doesn’t fit all. A cap properly sized for your chimney top will look much better than a small hardware store cap that just covers the flue, and it will work better in keeping water out. We carry a range of cap sizes, including multi-flue caps, we know how to install them so they stay in place, and our caps carry a lifetime warranty.
The long and the short of it: We sell our chimney caps for a reasonable price. Hardware stores don’t get a special deal from some manufacturer. If their off-the-shelf price is much lower, it’s because it’s a cheaper product. The reason to buy our caps is that when it comes to home maintenance, saving a few bucks and then having to do the whole project over again doesn’t make sense. In the long run a better product saves you money, time and aggravation.
Remember that chimney caps will lower your long-term maintenance costs, help protect your home from fire, and prevent animal infestations and other types of damage.
We install attractive, superior-quality stainless steel chimney caps, which come with a manufacturer’s lifetime warranty.
Call (207) 608-0564 or Email us for an appointment to inspect your chimney, and we will provide you with a quote for installing a cap.