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Choosing the Best Chimney Cap to Prevent Water Leaks

One of your best defenses against water penetration and animal invasions of your chimney, a chimney cap sits on top of your chimney’s opening. With several different types of chimney caps available, how do you know which cap is the right fit for the flue of your chimney? At Weststar Chimney Sweeps, we are experienced with fitting all types of chimney caps, even customized caps, and we know the importance of proper installation. We would like to tell you a bit about the different kinds of chimney caps and what you should know about selecting the right kind for your chimney to prevent damaging water leaks.


The main thing to consider when deciding which chimney cap is right for your chimney is the shape of your flue. Chimney caps come in different shapes to fit each type of flue. These shapes include:


Whether you have a clay, masonry, or metal flue, you can find a round chimney cap that can either attach the the outside of the flue or slip inside the flue. Round chimney caps are made from an assortment of materials including copper, stainless steel, and galvanized steel. Some round flue liners require chimney caps that must be inserted inside the chimney flue, such as round flexible flue liners and round solid pack flue liners.


The most commonly shaped flue, square and rectangular chimney caps can be attached to the flue, or, if you have a chimney crown, there are chimney caps in these sizes that can attach to the crown. Made from the same metals as the round chimney caps, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends you choose a chimney cap constructed from a sturdy, durable, and rust- and corrosion-resistant material to ensure a long-lasting cap. For chimney caps that attach to a chimney crown, you will need to choose from top mounted chimney caps.


Unless you have a custom-shaped oval chimney cap made for you by our technicians at Weststar Chimney Sweeps, you will need to look at rectangular shaped chimney caps that will cover the exterior of your flue.. When you look inside this type of cap, you can see how the corner tabs or interior ledges will accommodate oval flues.

There are other considerations other than preventing water leaks to think about when choosing a chimney cap. These include:


To prevent animals from entering your chimney to take up a new residence and to keep sparks from flying out of your chimney and possibly starting a fire, your chimney cap should be equipped with wire mesh sides. Be sure the mesh openings are between ¾ to ½ inches in size to keep animals out, to contain large pieces of hot debris and ashes, and to allow toxic gases to escape.


You can now find top sealing chimney caps that do double duty as a protective cap and as a damper. Perfect for new home constructions and for older chimneys in need of numerous repairs, the damper is located on the cap. When it is sealed closed, the air loss from your home is reduced by 90%. When the damper is opened, the wire mesh on the chimney cap protects your chimney from invading animals and prevents stray sparks from exiting.

Want to know more about the different types of chimney caps? Contact Weststar Chimney Sweeps today to talk to our expert staff about your many options.

Removing Birds and Bees from Your Chimney

Essential to the safety of your chimney, bird and bee hive removal services can protect your family from the risks of having a chimney fire. Birds like to hibernate in chimneys, as they see them as a warm and safe place to call home during the colder months. When those birds part from a chimney, they leave all the nesting behind, which can cause a chimney blockage or fire. Bees commonly build hives on chimney walls, and the wax combs of a bee hive can be fire hazards as well. The trained technicians at Weststar Chimney Sweeps provide experienced bird and bee hive removal from chimneys and believe you should understand what this service entails.

If you have bees or birds living in your chimney, call Weststar Chimney Sweeps! We can safely remove their hives or nests, and prevent them from returning in the future.

If you have bees or birds living in your chimney, call Weststar Chimney Sweeps! We can safely remove their hives or nests, and prevent them from returning in the future.


The Dangers of Birds’ Nests

When birds build a nest in a chimney, they tend to choose the top of the chimney as the location. Not only does this pose a problem as a fire hazard, but the nest can also block the chimney’s flue. According to the Chimney Institute of America (CSIA), a chimney blockage can cause the dangerous gas, carbon monoxide, to enter your home and possibly lead to carbon monoxide poisoning. Multiple nests can be inside a chimney and can cause major chimney blockage. Another risk of having birds in your chimney is the spread of histoplasmosis, a disease carried by birds that causes blindness in humans.

The Legalities of Removing Nesting Birds

Certain species of birds cannot be removed from a chimney while they are roosting inside because they are protected by federal law, the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Chimney swifts, the most common type of protected bird, always nested in hollow trees in the past, but since many of these old trees have been cut down over the years, chimney swifts began building their nests inside chimneys. You should never trust a chimney sweep company that offers to remove nesting chimney swifts. Anyone who knowingly destroys these birds or their nests containing eggs or baby birds can be fined and penalized. You will have to wait until all chimney swifts leave before their nests can be removed.

A Solution to Prevent Birds from Nesting in Your Chimney

To keep birds out of your chimney, a chimney cap with wire meshing or a top-sealing damper needs to be installed properly on top of your chimney. Preventing birds from entering your chimney means you will not have to worry about the hazards birds and their nests can create.


The Problem with Honeycomb

Some people think they can smoke bees out of a chimney by lighting a fire; however, this can pose a problem. Not only are the wax combs a fire hazard, but when the fire heats up the hive, honey begins to melt down chimney walls. The smell of the honey can attract even more bees to invade your chimney.

The Answer to Stopping a Bee Invasion

Just as with birds, a properly-installed chimney cap or top-sealing damper works to keep bees from entering your chimney. At Weststar Chimney Sweeps, we will remove any bee hives from your chimney as well as customize a cap or damper on the top of your chimney to prevent more bees from building hives on your chimney walls.

Experiencing an invasion of your chimney by birds or bees? Contact Weststar Chimney Sweeps today to schedule an appointment for our CSIA-certified technicians to take care of this problem for you.