Maintaining your chimney includes maintaining all of the separate components that make it work. Chimney crowns, chimney caps, and chase covers all serve to maximize the lifespan and performance of your chimney, protecting the masonry and other structural components from water damage and making sure the structure, as a whole, remains strong.
That said, these components tend to get mixed up by homeowners since they all sit at the top of the flue, and they all, in some capacity, help in preventing water damage.
Recognizing the differences between chimney crowns, chimney caps, and chase covers, and knowing the roles they play within your chimney system is important for assessing what kind of maintenance you may need. We’re here to keep you inform and educated. Questions? Give us a call at 317-643-1128 or reach out to us online today.
What Is a Chimney Crown?
Chimney crowns are constructed at the top of masonry chimneys and serve as a protective barrier between the top of the chimney and many external elements. They are typically made of concrete, mortar, or stone and have a sloped design to ensure proper water drainage. If built correctly, your crown will hang over the chimney’s edge, which then prevents water from seeping into the masonry.
So, what’s the role of the crown? Your chimney crown acts as the first line of defense against moisture damage. This can help extend the life of your masonry significantly.
When assessing the health of your chimney crown, make sure that it physically extends beyond the edge of your chimney’s masonry. Look for damages like cracks and weak areas that could lead to deterioration. Finally, watch and make sure that it is adequately diverting water away from your chimney and safely onto the roof.
What Is a Chimney Cap?
Chimney caps sit like a little metal hat over your chimney’s flue opening. Its location allows it to act as an umbrella over your chimney vent or flue that keeps water out, while still allowing smoke and other harmful byproducts to escape out of your home. When rain, snow, wind, and other weather events occur, the chimney cap keeps any harmful moisture or debris away from the flue.
The purpose of your chimney cap goes beyond keeping any outside elements out of your flue, though. They also keep out critters that are looking to build nests and homes within your chimney system. The dry, warm, and well-protected nature of the inside of your flue makes it a great home option for raccoons, birds, squirrels, and other critters in the market for a new living space. The chimney cap lowers the risk of animals moving in.
After all, according to Indiana State Law, if it manages to squat there long enough it can make an adverse possession claim on your home. (Just kidding… but it’s better to be safe than sorry, right?)
When assessing the maintenance needs of your chimney cap, look to make sure that you have one properly fitted and solidly in place. Make sure that there are no holes from rust and weathering and keep an eye out for bending in the metal. It should be keeping water flowing out and away from the flue, so take an inventory of anything that could prevent it from doing its job.
What Is a Chimney Chase Cover?
The chase cover is a structure that fully covers a prefabricated chimney chase – a protective structure typically made of wood and covered in siding. Often made of metal, your chase cover serves as protection from rain and animals. Unlike chimney caps and chimney crowns, chase covers fully enclose the top of the chase surround. And, in addition to offering the chimney protection, a big advantage to chase covers comes in the aesthetic value they can offer your home.
If you notice any gaps, holes, bends, or blemishes in the structure of your chase cover, it’s time to pursue professional level maintenance.
Why Is Water Prevention Important?
An often misunderstood aspect of brick and mortar is that it is very susceptible to water damage. The many tiny pores found in masonry collect moisture and trap it there. And, once water is stuck within it, the risk of triggering spalling and the freeze/thaw process is greatly increased.
What is the freeze/thaw process?
The freeze/thaw process begins when trapped water in your masonry freezes due to dropping temperatures. Freezing water expands, which puts a high amount of pressure on the pores that the water is trapped in. The pressure inevitably forces those pores to expand, which means that, once the temperature warms up again and the ice melts, there is more room for water to collect down the line.
Over time the freeze/thaw process can cause a lot of damage. As expanding water continues to force pores to expand, cracking will eventually occur, and given enough time without repair and waterproofing, you’ll notice crumbling, deterioration, and structural instability.
Give Us a Call
At Clean Sweep 317, we want everyone in the communities we serve to be able to experience the joys that can be had with a healthy fireplace, stove, and chimney system. That means not only having a beautiful fireplace in the home, but a chimney that works efficiently and safely. Our training, knowledge, and experience allow us to excel at serving customers all throughout our service area.
As always, if you find anything missing, broken, or out of shape with your heating system, give us a call at 317-643-1128 and let us get your chimney system up and running again quickly and easily. You can also reach out online – thanks for trusting us.