On those typical cold winter days, nothing is as inviting as a well-stocked fire over the hearth as a homeowner. However attractive this image is, did you know that the coziest part of your home could also be the most dangerous? The steps on how to repair chimney caps are essential to keep both family and home safe and warm for many years. The chimney cap constitutes absolute protection for the roof outlet more than a simple finish. It preserves the chimney flue from various external aggressions such as rain or wind. The chimney cap prevents the risks of humidity and infiltration, which accelerate the chimney pipe’s corrosion. Even if this accessory is not legally compulsory for a wood stove or an insert, it is strongly recommended.
What is a chimney cap
A chimney cap is a fixture — usually metal — covering the top of a chimney. It rests atop the masonry known as the crown or crown cap. The chimney flue is the metal or masonry tube inserted inside the body of the chimney. It typically extends two to six inches past the top of the crown. The chimney cap often looks like a miniature roof — it’s flat, round, or peaked.
Click here and learn how to tell if a chimney is structural.
How to repair chimney caps
If your chimney cap was damaged recently, you may be wondering how to repair chimney caps. While this task can intimidate home maintenance staff on the weekend, fixing a broken fireplace cap can be a straightforward procedure, especially if approached with a complete set of instructions. So if you are looking to repair a damaged chimney cap, just read on to learn everything you need to know.
If the chimney cap just came off, use your screwdriver to tighten the screws that hold the device in place firmly. However, suppose the cap is held in place with adhesive. In that case, the problem can be solved with a simple new adhesive application. Be sure to check your cap’s owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website to determine the correct type of adhesive for the job.
If water has leaked through the chimney cap, use the caulk and caulk applicator to repair the leak’s source. Again, before proceeding with this step, it is highly recommended that you consult your cap owner’s manual or manufacturer’s website to determine the proper type of caulking for the job. Your cap should not leak after letting the freshly applied putty have enough time to dry. Your cap should not leak.
If your chimney cap is copper or steel, it can occasionally get dented. Use your hammer to tap off any dents and restore your cap to its original shape to fix this problem. Alternatively, suppose the dents are relatively small. In that case, you can use a pair of pliers to straighten the dented areas on your cap. However, think you are faced with a dent that encompasses the entire cap. In that case, it is generally recommended to carry out a chimney cap replacement.
If you have a mortar-based chimney cap, remove any damaged mortar with a cold chisel and hammer. After finishing and cleaning up any resulting residue, use your trowel to apply new mortar to the damaged areas. Before proceeding to the second phase of this step, be sure to check your cap owner’s manual or the manufacturer’s website to determine the correct type of mortar for the job.
Smoke plugs generally feature a protective screen designed to prevent unwanted dirt and pests from reaching your fireplace. These screens will occasionally clog, thus reducing your chimney draft. If this occurs, use a small chimney brush to clean the cap with vigorous cleaning. Once the screen has been sufficiently cleaned, the clog’s source will be overcome, and your chimney draft should return to normal.
Types of chimeny caps
Before learning how to repair Chimney Caps, it’s best to learn about the different models, as each one has its specificities. Which choice to make also depends on your need?
As its name suggests, the rain cap – or rain cap – protects the chimney flue from rain and moisture. Its design is straightforward: a metal disc placed on a support that fits over the duct or your chimney casing.
It is one of the best historic roof caps. Its shape is as simple as possible: a plate mounted on 4-foot support. This chimney cap owes its inventor, the German physicist Heinrich Meidinger. It also offers good protection against rain and supports improved draft.
This cap is particularly suitable for protection against rain and wind because its surface is more significant than the chimney’s opening. The Napoleon chimney cap’s practical option is the maintenance hatch, allowing the chimney sweep to perform the cleaning without removing the chimney cap. The name of this hat refers to its shape, echoing that of Napoleon’s bicornuate hat. It further offers good protection against snow or rain.
The smoke extractor cap uses the wind’s energy to optimize the heating installation draft, thanks to its shape.
The steel lamellar fabrication of this cap improves the heater draft while providing good weather protection. The removable cover makes cleaning more accessible while also offering good protection against rain and improved current.
How to maintain a chimney cap
“Chimney caps typically require very little maintenance,” says Dimmitt, “especially if you have a stainless steel or copper chimney cap, which will not deteriorate with the weather.”
Dimmitt says maintenance mainly involves making sure leaves and other debris haven’t accumulated around the cap with most chimney caps. If your chimney cap has moving parts, such as a directional wind cap, make sure these function as they should. Also, check for holes in the screen where small animals might crawl.
Routine maintenance and cleaning are best scheduled for spring or early summer when you maintain your fireplace. Dimmitt says that’s when chimney sweeps are more available. “Plus,” he adds, “if your chimney needs any repairs, this gives them time to make those repairs before the colder months hit.” This timing is also good if you’re climbing on the roof to do a maintenance check. You might discover you need to call a professional for repairs.
How to repair a concrete crown on a chimney
Concrete chimney crowns are bonded to crack as the mortar displaces or breaks down over time. Cracks lead to leaks in your home, which leads to rot. Therefore, it is imperative to repair and seal these cracks before the worst happens. Sealing the chimney crown when the job is completed in the first place will not always do the trick. Plan to reseal the crown down the road, after a year or two has passed, and then as needed.
To do this, clean the chimney crown’s surface by brushing it with a bristle brush and water. Remove dirt, cobwebs, grime, and mold, if present. Next, allow the surface to dry as recommended in fireplace paint sealer indications. Drying times can vary from one to five hours, depending on your climate and the amount of water used in the cleaning process.
After proper drying, open the chimney sealer’s container for painting by removing the lid and dipping the brush in it, covering the brush’s middle. Next, apply the sealant to the crown of the fireplace with broad, overlapping strokes of paint. The point is to cover the whole with a thick layer of sealer. Finally, allow the sealer to dry and apply a second coat if necessary and recommended by the manufacturer. Drying times vary, so check the product information for more specific drying times.
In conclusion, chimney caps are visible features on the outer end of most fireplaces. They are essential in their capacity as roofs for chimneys. They are still susceptible to damage, such as shrinkage, cracks, or dents, whether made of the most durable materials. Repairing these defects does not always require a professional’s involvement. In fact, it can be done relatively quickly, as highlighted above. Hope you learn how to repair chimney caps.