Anatomy of a Chimney: All that Hardware on Top of the Chimney is Important

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Have you ever just randomly noticed all of the shiny hardware on top of your chimney and questioned the validity of those items? Believe it or not, every single one of them is important to the protection of your chimney in some way. Here is a quick rundown of what those items are and how they aid in protecting your chimney, fireplace, and your home.

  1. Chimney Cap: The chimney cap sits at the very top of the chimney hardware and prevents rain water from entering the chimney. The cap should fully shield the top opening of the flue in much the same fashion that an umbrella shields you from rain.
  2. Chimney Netting: Most chimney caps have a metal or mesh netting that protects the flue from intrusion by small animals and birds. This may look similar to chicken wire or a piece of metal with holes in it.
  3. Chimney Crown: The chimney crown is located at the top of the masonry chimney structure itself. It is made of mortar much like the mortar that holds the bricks or stones together. It should ideally extend a couple of inches past the top edges of the chimney so that rain water flows off and away from the body of the chimney.
  4. Chase Cover: The chase cover is very similar to the chimney crown. The difference is that the chase cover is designed to protect factory-built chimneys, not masonry.
  5. Chimney Spikes: Spikes are often installed to protect the chimney from intrusion by bats, gulls, and birds. They aren’t designed to kill the animal, just to deter them from landing on a pointy surface.
  6. Flashing: You may notice a sheet of metal that covers the bottom four to six inches of the chimney and the first row or two of shingles. This is called the chimney flashing. It is designed to keep water from leaking into the structure of your home in the area where the chimney meets the roof.

Each of these six pieces of chimney hardware plays a key role in keeping your chimney safe from mold, mildew, and rot. They work together as intended to prevent water from penetrating the structure of your home and the structure of the chimney as well. Waterproofing the chimney is also recommended if you have a masonry chimney because brick and mortar are not impervious to water damage.

You should have your chimney and all of its components inspected or cleaned once a year by a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified professional. Both of the licensed and insured chimney sweeps here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service are CSIA certified with experience dealing with common chimney problems and complex issues that homeowners may face with their chimney. Give us a call at 610-626-2439 to discuss your chimney inspection or cleaning, especially if you haven’t had it cleaned in a while.

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