Protecting your chimney is essential to its structural integrity, keeping your fireplace in good condition and your fire burning efficiently. You’re likely familiar with the chimney cap, which prevents water, rodents, and debris from getting into the flue; however, you may not know what a chimney chase cover is, or maybe you think it’s just another name for a cap. Let’s look at what a chimney chase cover is, what it does, and why you should consider installing one.
What is a Chimney Chase Cover?
Many people confuse chase covers with chimney caps because they provide similar functions. However, a chase cover is entirely different. Whereas a chimney cap fits over the flue opening, a chimney chase cover is a metal or wood enclosure that covers the entire chimney. It is vital to have a chase cover because it protects the chimney from weather damage and prevents animals and debris from entering. Chase covers are most typically used for factory-built fireplaces and chimneys because these systems are often made from wood.
What Does a Chimney Chase Cover Do?
As mentioned, a chimney chase cover functions similarly to a cap; both keep debris, water, and animals out of the chimney. This is essential to your chimney’s health, longevity, and safety. When animals enter the chimney and set up their nests, they can introduce pests like fleas or wreak havoc if they get into the house. Imagine a loose squirrel or two running rampant, and you can see why it’s wise to do everything you can to keep them out.
Furthermore, bird and rodent nests and debris in the chimney block airflow, causing harmful carbon monoxide and smoke to flow back into the house, and the blockage puts you at risk of a chimney fire. Finally, if an animal gets trapped in the chimney and dies, it will produce a foul odor that permeates the house until you get rid of it. Besides protecting against animal intrusion, a chase cover protects against water damage, the number one cause of chimney deterioration. A slanted chase cover directs water away from the chimney to the roof, which flows into your gutter system.
Should I Install a Chase Cover?
Now you know what a chase cover does, maybe you’re wondering if it’s worth installing one if your chimney has been unprotected for years, and the simple answer is yes! There are a few reasons to consider installing a chase cover now. If your chimney is starting to show signs of wear and tear, a chase cover can help protect it from further damage.
If you live in an area with a lot of wind or other harsh weather conditions, a chase cover can also help keep your chimney in good condition. Additionally, if you have animals that like to climb on your roof, a chimney chase cover can prevent them from damaging your chimney. Finally, if you have a factory-built chimney, you need a chase cover to protect it and keep it sound throughout its lifespan.
When to Replace a Chase Cover
How long your chimney chase cover lasts depends on a few factors, including what it’s made from, the severity of the weather it’s exposed to, and whether it was installed correctly. Chase covers made from galvanized steel have the shortest lifespans and need to be replaced about every 5 years. Copper, aluminum, and stainless-steel fare better and can last the life of the chimney, providing you keep them well-maintained and barring catastrophic damage caused by impact or severe weather.
Signs Your Chase Cover Needs Replacing
There are several signs that a chimney chase cover needs to be replaced. One is if the chase cover is cracked, split, or otherwise damaged. If the damage is severe, it can allow water and animals to enter the chimney, which can cause further damage. Another sign is rust, which is common with galvanized steel covers. This can also lead to water and animal entry, as well as weakening of the structure. Finally, if the chase cover is loose, warped, or structurally unsound, it needs to be replaced.
The best way to ensure your chimney and fireplace components are in top condition and safe is by scheduling annual maintenance and inspection by a trained chimney professional. Hiring a certified chimney expert allows you to find and repair minor issues now before they escalate into damage requiring expensive repairs or replacement a few years down the road.