Even if you only use your fireplace as part of your decor, the chimney still needs a cap. Many homeowners assume that they don’t need to worry about their chimney if they never light up a fire in their hearth. This isn’t true. Leaving your chimney without a cap puts your home at risk of unpleasant pests, expensive damage and toxic mold.

There are 4 reasons why every chimney needs a cap:

1. Keep Pests Out of the Chimney

Many animals—from squirrels and raccoons to birds and bats—love to nest in chimneys since they look like safe, dark spaces. No matter how much you like woodland creatures, it is not a good idea to let them live in your chimney. They can bring diseases and other pests or cause damage. Bats and squirrels are well known for getting into homes through the chimney. One squirrel can cause thousands of dollars in damage by chewing on walls, furniture and linens.

Many critters get trapped and die in chimneys. A rotting animal carcass can attract insects and rodents. It can also put off a strong odor that can get into your home. Even when they are alive, animals leave dropping and stash rotting food in nests which can create a foul smell.

Finally, you can avoid all these problems by getting a chimney cap. The solid top and strong mess around the sides will prevent animals from being able to get into your chimney.

2. Catch Leaves & Debris

Leaves, sticks and other debris may not cause as much trouble as animals, but you still don’t want them in a chimney. Any organic material—like sticks, leaves and paper—will decompose. If it decomposes in the chimney, it can create the condition for mold to grow along with producing an unpleasant rotting scent. Mold can cause health problems from minor respiratory issues to allergic reactions, asthma attacks, chronic sinusitis and even pneumonia.

Leaves and debris can also retain moisture. Moisture is the biggest enemy of a chimney because it deteriorates bricks and mortar which can lead to serious structural problems. Just like a chimney cap blocks critter from getting into the chimney, it prevents leaves and other debris from falling down the chimney.

3. Prevent Water Damage & Mold

Rain can fall down your chimney if it doesn’t have a cap. While the damper should prevent it from falling into the fireplace, it won’t protect the rest of the chimney. Water damage from this precipitation can cause a wide range of expensive problems. If the moisture seeps through the chimney lining and masonry into your home, it can damage nearby walls, floors, and ceilings.

Even if the moisture stays in the bricks and mortar, many freezing and thawing cycles can cause the masonry to chip and break. This type of water damage can eventually make a chimney lean or collapse as the masonry deteriorates.

A chimney can also be a breeding ground for mold when it has a lot of moisture in it. Making a small investment in a chimney cap can prevent mold from growing and save you thousands of dollars in repairs from water damage. It is designed to stop any precipitation from falling down the chimney.

4. Reduce Drafts

You might have heard that chimney caps cause drafts, the opposite is actually true. It will help to prevent unpleasant drafts as long as the cap you choose is the correct size for your chimney and it is professionally installed. The only time a chimney cap will cause a draft problem is if it was improperly installed or is the wrong size for your chimney.

If your chimney has an especially bad draft, you may want to choose a chimney cap that is specifically designed to solve bad draft problems.

If your chimney doesn’t have a cap, don’t wait to have one installed! Chimney caps are affordable and durable. This long-lasting chimney accessory will protect your home from pesty critters, moisture problems and downdrafts. Give SootAway a call if you need one installed! We will ensure that it is the correct size for your chimney and expertly installed.