Here is a practical guide on chimney cap repair.
Chimneys play a crucial role in the conduction of smoke and combustion gases up from a fireplace. For these structures to work smoothly, they’ll need to be maintained.
Chimney maintenance includes the repair or replacement of faulty parts. One of those parts we’ll be discussing is the chimney cap. To better appreciate the importance of chimney caps, it’s necessary to consider the benefits offered.
This chimney component helps in the reduction of moisture, restricts animal access, prevents or blocks downdrafts, and also prevents embers and sparks from leaving.
Common Reasons For A Fireplace Chimney Cap Repair
Your chimney cap should be frequently inspected and maintained to promote functionality.
This key component will affect the smooth functioning of a chimney when it’s left unattended. The benefits derived are lost due to cap defects and malfunction.
Speaking of benefits, let’s briefly discuss what they mean.
Reduction of Moisture
Moisture causes all sorts of chimney issues especially when it’s in excess. Now, consider your chimney cap as an umbrella that keeps out hail, rain, snow, and sleet from getting access to the chimney interior.
You’re saved from common moisture-related problems like rusting of stainless steel liners, toxic mildew &mold, and damper rust. What more? Mortar joint deterioration is also prevented.
Restriction of Animal Access
It’s a fact that a chimney without a cap serves as a ready access point for all sorts of animals. This is due to its warmth and darkness which attracts squirrels, raccoons, and birds.
These animals create all sorts of problems including blockage of the chimney. With a functional chimney cap on, all such problems are prevented.
Prevention of Downdrafts
On windy days, chimneys without a cap are most affected.
Windy downdrafts usually occur in such situations, filling your living room with smoke. The chimney cap serves to reduce the chances of that happening.
Prevention of Sparks and Embers from Leaving
When sparks and embers resulting from combustion aren’t trapped, they float out and could cause chimney fire by igniting combustible material. This is more common on windy days.
With a chimney cap on, there’s little chance of that happening.
Who Performs A Chimney Cap Repair?
All chimney-related problems are best fixed by seeking expert help.
Chimney sweeps are trained professionals with expertise and experience on all chimney-related issues. So, having them come over to check the condition of your chimney cap as well as the entire system won’t be a bad idea.
On the other hand, homeowners’ seeking to adopt a DIY approach to fixing the chimney cap isn’t entirely a bad idea. This is because repairing a chimney cap isn’t a complicated procedure.
However, it will involve climbing up your roof. This exposes you to risks. As such, you’ll need to be extra careful.
Fixing A Faulty Concrete Or Metal Chimney Cap
Ordinarily, a chimney sweep should provide all the repair services you need.
When they come around, they assess the level of damage. The extent of damage determines whether the cap needs to be repaired or replaced outright.
Also, the state of disrepair might have affected other chimney components.
As such, they’re also checked and fixed in addition to the chimney cap. Now, if you’re interested in performing a DIY repair procedure, you’ll need guidance on how to proceed.
Generally, all chimney-related repairs should be handled by a pro as anything could go wrong when handled by a novice. Who’s a novice?
Simply refers to someone without the skills necessary to get the job done.
DIY Chimney Cap Repair
Having stated the need to have a pro perform a chimney cap repair procedure, let’s shift our focus to DIY repair. We’re providing this information to help you succeed in this undertaking.
So, what needs to be repaired?
Basically, the chimney cap serves as a barrier that keeps out moisture while also keeping in embers and sparks.
Combustion also releases creosote-laden particles that fly up the chimney. These are trapped or get accumulated on the cap. In a nutshell, there’s a need to clean the cap to prevent the blocking of airflow.
a. Cleaning the Chimney Cap
There are two basic steps when it comes to fixing a chimney cap. The first involves cleaning the cap while the other has to do with repairing the crown. To clean the chimney cap, you’ll need an extension ladder to climb up.
You’ll also need a wrench as well as a screwdriver.
Begin by lifting off the cap. For those attached to the flue, have them unscrewed using your screwdriver tool. The wrench will come in handy at this point as it helps you hold the nuts while loosening the screws.
Climb back down with the chimney cap for a cleanup. This is performed by dislodging stiff creosote with the help of a chisel and hammer. Care must be exercised to prevent damage to the chimney cap.
Your protective gloves should be worn during this procedure.
A metal brush will also be useful for cleaning. With this completed, you’ll need to check for separated joints on the chimney cap. If any appears, they’ll need to be fixed before the cap is returned.
b. Repairing the Crown
Before the repaired chimney cap is replaced, an inspection of the crown is needed. This is the mortared lining around the outside of the flue. Using a brush, scrub off any algae.
You’ll need some water to do this. If there are cracks, these will need to be sealed up.
Crown sealant products are best used for repairing chimney crown cracks. For more extensive crown repair, the loose mortar will need to be chipped off using a chisel.
New mortar is placed over the surface and with the help of a trowel smoothened in place.
Be careful to not slope the new mortar into the chimney opening. Rather, it should be sloped away from it. The chimney cap is only replaced once the sealant or mortar is completely dried.
Return the cap in position and you’re done!
Chimney cap repair isn’t a complicated process. It’s ideal to have a chimney sweep perform such a procedure. However, DIY repairs are also popular.
We’ve included basic steps to take in fixing the problem.
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