There are not many things in life quite as enjoyable as being able to sit in front of your wood stove or fireplace with the fire blazing, reading a book, sipping on wine, or enjoying the company of friends and family. For those things to be possible, however, a fully functioning chimney is needed. Otherwise, smoke and other gases can’t move up and away from your home like they’re supposed to.
You may think that your chimney is just a simple passage going straight up out of your roof, but if you look closely, you’ll see there are many different (and important) components in place – all of which are working together to make sure you’re safe and sound as you enjoy your fireplace.
At The Chimney Guys, we know that all of these parts of a chimney are important in keeping things working as they should, and we are experts in making sure that they do. Here are a few things you should know about three of the more overlooked components of your chimney.
What Is a Chimney Crown?
First up is your chimney crown. This slab of concrete might not look like it’s doing much, however, it is taking care of some important things for your chimney. It sits right above your brick and mortar and acts as a sort of umbrella that directs water away from your masonry – as well as the junction where your chimney meets your roof.
If you look closely you’ll notice that it is slightly sloped too. This is so that water and debris will fall off away from the inside of your chimney where it might otherwise cause costly damage.
What Is a Chimney Chase Cover?
Second is your chase cover. If you don’t have a brick and mortar chimney, but rather a factory-built or prefabricated chimney it, too, is in need of something to deflect water away from the wooden chase (where your chimney flue pipes are housed). This is where your chase cover comes in. This metal piece wraps around the top of your chimney and surrounds your flue.
Like the chimney crown, the chase cover keeps water from getting to places it shouldn’t. In addition to that, it gives a finished look to the chimney where the sides of your chase transition to the chase siding.
What Is a Chimney Cap?
Third we have the chimney cap. This protective topper sits directly above the opening of your flue. It is often shaped like a miniature roof for your chimney, and in many ways serves a similar purpose, protecting the inside of your flue liner from rain, debris, and critters that are looking for a place to call home.
Whether you have a prefab system or a masonry one, a chimney cap is a must.
How Are All Three Similar?
All three of these components play a part in a properly functioning chimney. If you haven’t noticed, an important part of all of their jobs is to keep water away from your brick and mortar. This is because moisture can be devastating to a chimney. When it is allowed in, it can cause extensive damage to the home and be a huge financial liability to repair.
One of the most destructive ways water can damage your masonry chimney is through something called the freeze/thaw process. This cycle of freezing and thawing can cause your bricks and mortar to lose all structural integrity and, in extreme cases, collapse and damage your home.
How does the freeze/thaw process work?
When moisture penetrates masonry it collects in the tiny pores within. If the temperature drops and the water freezes, problems begin. The spaces the moisture is in are pressed against by the expansion they undergo during the freezing process. This causes holes to appear, cracks to form, and the pores to expand. When temperatures rise and the water melts, more room has been made for water to collect, and the structure has weakened.
If this cycle continues, expensive damage can occur. Sometimes the damage goes beyond the chimney and into the house. Leaks can form and wood can rot. In extreme cases your chimney can collapse, destroying your home – and your pocketbook.
Do you have wildlife nearby?
Another way your chimney cap, chimney crown, and chase cover work to help your chimney is by keeping the outside world… outside where it belongs. An environment left unprotected from the elements is a desirable place for small animals to build nests. Unfortunately, it is dangerous for both you and the animal if they mistakenly decide to move into your chimney. With animals comes debris and blockages for your chimney which means smoke and dangerous fumes coming in instead of out.
Call In Our Experts Today
Our team of experts at The Chimney Guys are the most skilled and knowledgeable chimney experts around. We have all the tools and experience necessary to inspect your chase cover, chimney crown, and chimney cap, and we can spot things that need to be repaired before they become big problems.
Call us today, and let us work to help you continue to enjoy your fireplace and keep your home safer. Dial 434-481-3796 or request you next appointment online now.