chimneycapYou’ve probably noticed by now that as a homeowner, every single part of your home is subject to routine maintenance at some point. Your chimney and dryer vent need to be inspected and cleaned once per year. Your pool needs to be cleaned often during the summer and wintertime preparations must be made to prevent cracking or damage. Your windows and doors need routine maintenance to ensure proper functionality, and the list goes on. Homeownership is the ultimate dream, but it does come with a lot of hoops to jump through year after year. Today I’m going to talk about something else that needs maintenance – your chimney cap screen.

The Role of the Chimney Cap

The chimney cap is designed to keep small animals such as birds or young raccoons from entering your home or becoming stuck in the flue. It also protects your chimney from rainfall and a variety of debris that could be blown into the chimney. Overall, the chimney cap simply protects the opening to your chimney so nothing can get stuck in the flue and allows the chimney to work properly.

Chimney Cap Screen

Some chimney caps are designed to work without a screen while others have a screen that must be cleaned. The type of chimney cap you purchase depends entirely on your personal tastes. Some homeowners simply like the look of a screen or intricate design on their chimney cap where others prefer a more traditional plain appearance.

Anything that becomes stuck in the chimney cap screen must be removed. One of the most common reasons to clean the chimney cap screen is the buildup of soot and creosote. The same creosote that lines your flue walls will create a buildup on the screen. You should be very careful about what you burn in your fireplace, especially if you have a chimney cap screen that must also be cleaned.

Symptoms and Cleaning

The chimney cap isn’t designed to limit the amount of air that enters or leaves the chimney. But if it becomes clogged with debris, that is exactly what it will do. It will keep you from easily starting fires, your fires may smother more easily, smoke may be allowed to enter your home instead of escaping through the chimney, and deadly carbon monoxide may enter your home. Cleaning a clogged screen is extremely important to the safety of your household.

You should clean your chimney cap screen as part of your regular home maintenance. Always schedule a chimney inspection and cleaning at least once per year. Most homeowners schedule the important things several months in advance, or as soon as it is completed.

Your chimney is not a maintenance-free part of your home. Like many other parts of your home, the chimney must be maintained from year to year to ensure that it is functioning as intended. If you’re in the Philadelphia area, or in Delaware County, give me a call any time to schedule a consultation, cleaning, or inspection. I’d love to hear from you.