Various chimney components serve important functions in maintaining smooth operations. Chimney caps and screens are among such components.
The condition of these will determine how effective your chimney works.
Here, we seek to show you simple ways to take care of these components.
About Chimney Cap Screen
Animals like raccoons and squirrels have been known to take up residence in chimneys, thus affecting their performance.
These screens are also designed to trap embers that could end up igniting combustible materials nearby. This includes your roof among other things.
Snow and sleet are also kept from entering your chimney system.
What Happens When A Chimney Screen Isn’t Maintained?
To better appreciate the importance of maintenance, it’s necessary to take a look at the possible issues that could result from the lack of it.
A chimney cap screen is simply a mesh placed over the chimney cap. With time, there’s a gradual buildup of soot and creosote over the screen surface.
From the outside, storms and windy days may cause leaves to fall over the chimney cap screen, thus obstructing the free flow of air. Over time, this situation takes its toll as starting or lighting a chimney fire becomes more challenging.
Such a situation mostly arises from the absence of sufficient air caused by obstruction to the chimney cap screen. This whole scenario can be avoided by simply keeping a chimney cap screen maintenance schedule.
An even riskier situation may result where carbon monoxide fumes from your chimney fire could get into your home. This situation could lead to poisoning.
What Maintenance Entails
Since we started, several mentions about maintenance have been made. This term may sound vague for a lot of readers if we don’t get into details about what it entails.
From basic definition, it simply refers to the process of preserving the condition of something.
The same applies to chimneys. The condition of a chimney needs to be preserved. In other words, such a chimney needs to be kept in perfect working condition.
Therefore, issues such as blockages or obstructions by leaves or accumulated creosote deposits need to be cleared.
How To Maintain A Chimney Cap Screen
Having defined what we mean by maintenance, this section considers the processes involved.
First, chimney cap screen maintenance can be done in two ways; the first involves calling for professional help with this task. The second available option includes the adoption of the DIY cleaning approach.
Calling for Professional Help
A more comprehensive approach to chimney cap screen maintenance involves calling for professional help.
Chimneys only function optimally when each part serves its purpose. The only way to find out is by calling for inspection and maintenance by a professional.
Chimney sweeps are trained for such tasks. These are technicians that carry out a wide range of chimney related maintenance services including chimney cap screen maintenance.
Asides from those for chimney cap screens, other areas of specialization include chimney inspection and cleaning, masonry repair, and chimney video scans.
Chimney sweeps also provide chimney relining or chimney liner installation services as well as fire insert installations.
Chimney flashing repairs among several other tasks are performed by them. It’s important to have these technicians perform your chimney cap screen maintenance as they have all the tools necessary.
Also, hidden faults or problems are solved before they worsen.
Setting a chimney cap screen maintenance schedule is the best approach to take in keeping it functional. Inspections and possible maintenance can be done once each year.
Also, only certified chimney sweeps (Chimney Institute of America CSIA certified) should be considered for the job.
Adopting the DIY Approach to Chimney Cap Screen Maintenance
If you feel you have what it takes to get the job done yourself, then a DIY approach would be in order. However, you must know the risks involved when carrying out this task.
One of the most obvious risks has to do with accessibility. To clean or fix or clean an obstructed chimney screen, you’d have to climb up your roof to the chimney stack.
To do this, you have to figure out the tools needed for the job. Such equipment may include a ladder and harness where necessary. Accidents could occur as roofs are usually slanted. As such, rolling or slipping off such areas is a possibility.
The DIY maintenance approach wouldn’t be a big deal to technically inclined persons.
This is obvious because, with a little information on the maintenance actions to take, they’re able to get to work using basic tools that they’re likely to have.
When To Maintain A Chimney Screen
Asides from observing yearly scheduled maintenance of your chimney (including chimney cap screen), you’ll need to know when to have it checked. By this, we simply mean your response to likely issues that may come up.
Luckily, these are preceded by symptoms or signs such as faulty drafts.
Asides from this symptom, you should consider taking a look at your chimney cap screen after major stormy days. This is necessary to remove any obstructions that could be made by debris.
Also, you need to confirm that your chimney cap screen hasn’t been displaced by the storm.
In a lot of situations, you’ll need to act in anticipation of future chimney cap screen problems. Waiting till an issue develops is never an effective maintenance strategy.
The more proactive actions taken, the better the outcomes are.
One of the best ways to ensure your actions are deliberate and well-calculated is by speaking with a chimney sweep. The chimney sweep will provide you with key information on proper maintenance actions to take.
This helps bring about concrete results which are in the form of a functional chimney system.
There you have it! Chimney cap screen maintenance can be achieved by focusing on the strategies outlined above. We’ve covered to an appreciable extent the actions to be taken to keep a chimney cap screen in good condition.