Chimney Spark Arrestor: Functions, Installation & Local Laws

If you have a chimney, it’s likely that you know and have seen a chimney arrestor. While this is true, some have heard but don’t know what it’s about.

Other readers may have seen a chimney arrestor but not know what functions it performs.

Whichever category you belong to, you’ll find this article informative. We seek to enlighten you on this important component of a chimney cap. So, do all chimney caps come with spark arrestors?

You’ll need to stick around to find out as we touch on all aspects of this component.

What’s A Chimney Spark Arrestor?

The name of this chimney component alone gives an idea of what it does. However, for clarity, we’ll be providing elaborate explanations about chimney spark arrestors.

Chimney arrestors are usually attached to chimney caps and have mesh designs that allow the escape of gases, smoke, and vapors.

More importantly, chimney spark arrestors keep embers as well as sparks from exiting the chimney. These are products of combustion that could jump out and cause a fire or other forms of damage.

Chimney spark arrestors have been merged into more recent chimney cap designs.

This has resulted in increased safety and efficiency. While some chimney caps (especially newer designs) come with these arrestors, others don’t. So, what can be done in this situation?

Can chimney spark arrestors be fitted to existing caps? Absolutely! You’ll need to contact the experts for such modifications.

  • A Little About Chimney Caps

Having made mention of chimney caps, it’s necessary to provide some explanation. Chimney caps are designed to keep water (in the form of snow, rain, and ice) out of a chimney. These have open sides that serve as an exhaust.

Recent innovations have seen the inclusion of chimney spark arrestors. With such inclusion, chimney caps double as spark arrestors. This increases efficiency in no small measure.

  • It’s All About Safety

Chimney spark arrestors are installed with the main aim of preventing sparks and embers from exiting the chimney. Dry leaves or grasses may be littered around a home without a chimney spark arrestor.

Now, when such sparks and embers land on these leaves, fire is easily ignited.

Such fires can be deadly when a home is situated close to a forest. This is because forest fires have become a recurring problem leaving massive damage in their wake. Forest fires are just one area of possible damage that could occur.

Another is the likelihood of sparks and embers landing on the roof.

Certain roof components are combustible, thus leading to fires. This isn’t a situation you want to find yourself in as you could lose your property to such damage.

Additional Risks To Fireplace & Chimney

The risk of igniting a fire isn’t the only possible problem you face without a chimney spark arrestor.

There’s also the likelihood of wild animals seeking shelter within your chimney flue. The usual suspects range from birds, raccoons, and rodents, etc. These animals have easily attracted chimneys due to their warmth.

With a chimney spark arrestor in place, you don’t only prevent sparks and embers from exiting your chimney, but also keep out wildlife. Chimneys aren’t designed to serve as shelters for animals.

Knowing this and putting preventive measures in place such as the installation of a chimney spark arrestor is in order.

Debris is also kept out of a chimney when a chimney spark arrestor is installed. You won’t be having issues dealing with debris accumulated in a chimney as it’s common with those without a protective mesh covering.

  • Free Movement of Exhaust (Gases and Smoke) Out the Chimney

By its design, a chimney spark arrestor will allow the free movement of exhaust out the chimney without hindrance. The double mesh covering won’t obstruct at all.

This situation ensures that the objective for which chimney spark arrestors were designed is fully achieved.

Who Installs a Chimney Spark Arrestor?

One of the first questions that come to mind after seeing the need to install a chimney spark arrestor is who performs the job. For such tasks, you’ll need to contact or hire a professional chimney sweep.

Such technicians should possess the CSIA certification to show their level of professionalism.

A chimney sweep performs all chimney-related maintenance tasks including repairs and installations. A new chimney cap that comes with a spark arrestor is installed.

In some other cases, retrofitting your chimney cap with this added component may be necessary.

Where to Install Chimney Spark Arrestors

The name alone speaks volumes when it comes to deciding where to install a chimney or fireplace spark arrestor.

However, apart from chimneys found in homes and other structures like restaurants, etc, a chimney spark arrestor is also installed on camper trailers.

Camper trailers serve as mobile homes and need chimney spark arrestors even more. On windy days, sparks and embers can be blown over great lengths thus starting a fire easily.

This situation is highly unlikely when there’s a chimney spark arrestor in place.

Maintenance

As time goes on, a chimney spark arrestor is bound to have accumulated soot among other debris. These will need to be cleaned off by a professional.

Again, a chimney sweep should be called for inspection and possible cleaning of the chimney spark arrestor.

A yearly inspection of a chimney system inclusive of the chimney spark arrestor is necessary. This helps extend the lifespan of the component.

More importantly, chimney spark arrestors need to be in optimal working condition at all times.

Local Laws Regulating Chimney Spark Arrestor Use

Local laws differ from one location to the next. As such, there are no uniform regulations relating to chimney spark arrestor use.

In certain locations, fines may apply to persons using vehicles without chimney spark arrestors or homes with dysfunctional chimney spark arrestors.

You’ll need to find out what’s an application to your location and stick to requirements. Following due process won’t harm at all, plus, it protects your property from fire hazards.

With our discussion so far, it’s clear that a chimney spark arrestor is an indispensable component that needs to be installed and well maintained.

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