If your chimney has a cap, you have made the right move in protecting the chimney from debris, and keeping small animals and birds from getting in. A cap covers the entire opening of the chimney, and it is fixed in place. It has a wire mesh screen that allows smoke to get out when you use the fireplace. The mesh also keeps sparks from being blown out of the chimney and possibly causing a fire. If you take good care of your chimney, you should not leave out the chimney cap as it will sometimes need to be cleaned.
The mesh screen can become clogged with soot and creosote as you continue to use the fireplace. This will decrease efficiency, and it can cause smoke and flue gases to enter the home.
The mesh gauge size is an important aspect of chimney safety. If it is too large the mesh will not be an effective spark arrestor. It will also be easier for windblown debris to get inside. At the same time, you should avoid using mesh that is too small, as it will clog quickly. Generally, a one-inch square mesh is suitable for most chimneys. If it clogs frequently this could indicate that there is another problem inside the chimney. It is important to note that mesh size is sometimes covered by building codes.
Cleaning the Cap Mesh
You don’t need to climb up to the roof to find out if your screen is clogged. If you look at it in the daytime, you should be able to see light through the mesh. If not, then it time for a quick cleaning. You can remove the blockage easily with a wire brush on your own but it might be time for a professional cleaning. Buildup inside the screen could also mean a heavy creosote buildup inside the chimney. If you schedule a visit from the chimney sweep, cleaning the screen will be a part of the process.
To protect your screen take all the steps to build efficient fires. Learn how to build fires correctly, and use only seasoned wood to slow the production of creosote. If you notice that your screen cap clogs frequently, report this when you call us for a chimney service so the system can be checked.
The chimney sweeps here at Lou Curley’s Chimney Service are CSIA Certified and we have years of experience under our belts. We strive to continue our education as often as possible so we’re always in the position to offer you the best possible chimney services in Drexel Hill and all along the Main Line. Call us at 610-626-2439 to discuss your chimney needs or to schedule an appointment for a chimney cleaning, chimney inspection, or chimney repair.