A Copper Chimney Cap Is Practical
Wise homeowners install chimney caps on their chimneys instead of relying on the mud cap, the mortared area around the top of the chimney. Chimney caps increase the homeowner’s comfort; they help prevent unpleasant smoky smells by keeping rain from running down the flue and mixing with the creosote inside the chimney. Chimney caps also protect the chimney from damage by birds, small animals, litter, and rain. Because copper does not rust, a copper chimney cap is the most practical choice.
Small animals, like squirrels, can be a real nuisance for homeowners. Often, they perch on the top of chimneys and drop litter inside. A copper chimney cap prevents them from doing this.
Birds perch on chimneys, especially in cold weather. Sometimes, they are overcome by the fumes emitted from the chimney and fall inside. Many homeowners have had the somewhat alarming experience of finding a sparrow or starling appearing suddenly inside their home. A copper chimney cap eliminates these accidental entries.
Some birds even nest in chimneys, where they block smoke emission and create a fire hazard. In North America, the chimney swift is the prime culprit. In some ways these birds are beneficial to humans; they eat several times their own weight in flying insects, like mosquitoes, every day. However, these are colony birds, which means that they will return to the chimney where they hatched every spring and build their own nests there. A copper chimney cap blocks their access to the chimney and eliminates the hazard.
Water leakage in a chimney can result in structural damage if it continues for a long time. When water accumulates in the chimney clean-out, the house foundation can be weakened. Water clinging to the flue can cause cracks that are a fire hazard, since sparks can lodge in them and set fire to the wood outside the chimney. A copper chimney cap keeps rainwater out of the fireplace.
Copper is an excellent choice of material for chimney caps. Galvanized iron is often used for chimney caps, especially with pre-fabricated fireplaces. Over time, the galvanized surface wears off and the metal beneath rusts. Rain carries the rust down the exterior of the chimney and onto the roof and siding, where it leaves an ugly – and hard to remove – stain. You don’t have to worry about rust stains with a copper chimney cap, because copper does not rust! Copper is a living surface, and it interacts with the environment to form a patina. In a dry atmosphere, the patina usually develops to a warm, rich brown with hints of blue and purple. In a humid or acidic atmosphere, the patina will have a greenish hue. Many people find the patina beautiful and consider its presence an additional advantage to a copper chimney cap.
Chimney caps protect fireplaces from many problems, small and large. A copper chimney cap is a practical choice for homeowners.