What’s A Chimney Cricket & Why Is It Important?
Do you know what a chimney cricket is? Let me give you a hint. They're unrelated to a chimney swift that often flies into an open flue. As a matter of fact, they're not even a critter. It's actually an important part of a chimney, especially here in Montgomery County, MD, and the entire Washington, DC, area. Now that I have your attention, let me explain what a chimney cricket is and why they are important.
You Got Me! What Is a Chimney Cricket?
A chimney cricket, also known as a saddle or roof cricket, is a triangle-shaped component that directs water from the chimney flashing (the sheet metal that seals the seam where the roof meets the chimney) into the roof or leaf gutter. A cricket is made with a durable, water-resistant material like aluminum or steel.
So, Why Are They Important?
Depending on your roofing system, water can pool around the flat surfaces of the chimney flashing. Winter can be especially harsh, and it isn’t unusual to see ice dams forming on some rooftops. This is important because when the flashing is compromised through rust, warping, or corrosion, moisture seeps inside the chimney, damaging the interior masonry walls, liner, and other critical parts of the venting system.
When the ice dam melts, you've got water leaking in the chimney. Being exposed to water for extended periods can cause the flashing to fail, requiring repairs or replacement. The moisture damage can also cause wood rot in your attic and roof deck, leading to costly repairs to your walls and ceiling too. This vital device, called a chimney cricket, creates a peak with ridges and valleys. Thus, protecting the flashing and your chimney by channeling the water flow away from your chimney and roof.
Chimney Flashing Repair
With annual chimney inspections, we can catch most flashing issues before it springs a leak. Some of the common signs your chimney flashing may need repair or replacement include:
- Water stains on the ceiling/walls near the fireplace.
- Rain is falling into the firebox.
- Water stains or wood rot in the attic or roof deck.
- There is a musty odor in the flue.
Does My Chimney Need a Cricket?
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards and Codes Rule 211, which has been adopted into most building codes as a matter of law, including Montgomery County, MD, your chimney will require a cricket if its width is 30 inches or more.
How Much Does It Cost to Install
The cost of installing a roof or chimney cricket varies by location, roof type, chimney width, and other factors. However, the average price ranges anywhere from $400 to $1300. Remember that the purpose of a chimney cricket is to prevent water, snow, or ice from pooling on your roof near the flashing, where it can damage your home's chimney, roof, and other areas. A chimney cricket also prolongs the useful life of your chimney flashing.
Chimney Cricket Installation in Washington, DC
Installing a chimney cricket can help prolong the lifespan of your chimney, flashing, and other vital components. Bethesda Chimney is your hometown provider of professional chimney inspections, cleaning, repairs, and installations for residential, commercial, and government buildings throughout the Greater Washington DC, Montgomery County, MD, and Northeast Virginia region.
Call 703-935-4444 to schedule an appointment or a free estimate. You can also contact us online to consult with a Certified Chimney Sweep®.