Very few features of a home bring more physical comfort than a fireplace. Its warmth and bright flames spark nostalgic memories that bring joy to the hearts of one’s family and friends. Additionally, a working, well maintained fireplace normally increases a home’s resale value. A fireplace and chimney has relatively few components, but they are crucial to the safe and proper operation of the fireplace. For example, chimney covers are essential for the correct operation of one’s fireplace during bad weather. The keys to safely getting the most comfort and value out one’s fireplace are periodic chimney inspections, proper maintenance and prompt repairs. Here are some important reasons to monitor a chimney’s cover and have damaged covers repaired or replaced by experts.
Chimney Cover Designs That Prevent Fires
A common source of house fires is found at a home’s chimney according to the National Fire Protection Agency. For example, flames that break through damaged masonry and reach a home’s wooden framing or roof can quickly cause fatal house fires. Chimney covers are also called caps or crowns, and they come in a variety of styles and materials. The cover sits atop a chimney and is designed to prevent flaming fireplace debris from flying out of the top of the chimney and setting one’s roof on fire. Chimney covers can be made of concrete or metal, and their specific styles are dependent on the type of chimney one has.
Properly Installed Chimney Covers Halt Water Damage
One of the main functions of chimney covers is to prevent the chimney from being damaged by rain water. While the cover designs vary, all covers are fashioned to divert water from the chimney’s bricks or stone. Brick masonry characteristically expands and contracts with climate variations, and water that seeps down the chimney deteriorates it even more quickly. Additionally, the shifting of the brick masonry often breaks chimney covers and renders them inoperable. Although many people attempt to conduct their own repairs and replacements of chimney covers, it is well advised to allow a professional to inspect and maintain them because of the height and angle of the covers.
Chimney Covers Prevent Pest Invasions
A less dangerous and costly dilemma than fire or water damage that is experienced by homeowners with defective chimney covers is pest invasion. While many residents spend a great deal of time and effort covering up spaces where unwanted visitors usually gain entrance, they often miss the gaping hole that leads to their roof. A properly installed and maintained chimney cap sufficiently prevents squirrels, birds, bats or other rodents from making their way into a home when the fireplace is not in use. Making sure that chimney covers are properly installed and operable can save one annoyance, embarrasment and money used on exterminators when these critters decide to drop in and make themselves at home.
Understanding the role that a chimney cover plays in the protection of one’s real estate investment is a key step towards years of enjoyment of one’s fireplace. For safety reasons, many homeowners wisely choose to let professionals conduct repairs and replacements of these covers. However, they must remember that servicing a chimney requires some of the same city permits as many other home improvement projects. Chimney service contractors chosen should be licensed, insured and completely knowledgeable of city building codes.