How To Know Which Cap Is Best For Your Chimney
Masonry chimneys and water don't mix well, especially during the snowy winter and humid summer months in Alexandria, VA, and throughout the Greater Washington, DC, area. A cap is one of several essential components explicitly designed to protect your chimney from the damaging effects of moisture intrusion. The right cap will also stop sparks, prevent obstructions, and keep out chimney swifts, raccoons, and other critters. So, here's how to know which cap is best to cover your flue.
What You Need to Know When Buying a Chimney Cap
When shopping to replace a damaged or missing cap, you will find a wide assortment of sizes, styles, and materials. Unless you're a Certified Chimney Sweep®, it can be a rather challenging task to choose the best cap for your chimney. Here are a few things to consider when buying a cap.
Single Flue or Multi Flue
First, do you have a single or multi-flue chimney? Most standard chimney caps at big box retailers cover a single flue, attaching to the flue liner. If you have a multi-flue chimney, you will need a cap that attaches to the crown, covering the multiple exposed flue pipes. You also want to consider adding a top mount flue damper to your chimney.
Your Chimney Size Matters
Second, what is the width of your chimney? Yes, size matters. If the cap doesn't cover the flue entirely with a minimum 3" drip edge, the rain will damage the exterior masonry and leak in the fireplace, which can result in costly repairs. Choosing the wrong size cap will cause draft problems and allow debris to clog the flue.
Choose Stainless Steel for Durability
Caps are made using many materials, such as aluminum, copper, galvanized steel, and stainless steel. Due to its natural moisture, corrosion, and pest-resistant properties, stainless steel is the best cap for your chimney. The best-performing stainless steel caps will carry a lifetime warranty.
Look for a Cap with a Six- to Eight-Inch Drip Edge
The next thing to know is that most caps have a standard 3-inch overhang, which provides little protection when gusty winds come across the Potomac. Our custom chimney caps have an 8- to 9-inch drip edge. The extra-wide surface area will help ensure your cap remains secure when rain and over 50 mph wind gusts fly across the top of your chimney.
Your Cap Should Have a Mesh Screen
Lastly, you should know that the best cap for your chimney will have a durable mesh screen. If the screen is too thin, then owls, squirrels, weasels, and other wildlife with razor-sharp teeth and claws can invite themselves inside your chimney. Also, sparks from hot embers can fly out of the flue and land on the roof or tree branch, igniting a brush fire that can quickly spread to your neighbor's house.
The Best Cap for Your Chimney in Washington, DC
The best chimney cap is one that is custom-made just for your chimney. Bethesda Chimney is your hometown provider of custom chimney caps, inspections, cleaning, repairs, and installations for residential, commercial, and government buildings throughout Greater Washington DC, Montgomery County, MD, and Northeast Virginia.
Call 301-969-4444 (MD), 703-935-4444 (MD), or 202-217-1767 (DC) to schedule an appointment or a free estimate. You can also contact us online to consult with a Certified Chimney Sweep®.