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A copper chimney cap is a great way to add both value and protection to your home by keeping your chimney safe from outside elements while adding a unique and decorative look to an otherwise boring chimney.
Chimney caps are generally constructed out of aluminum, galvanized metal, stainless steel or copper.
Aluminum and galvanized metal will work, but using stainless steel or copper will last a lot longer and require little to no maintenance.
Since installing a cap on top of your chimney can be a little tricky depending on your roofline and outside weather, it's best to install a quality cap right from the start and skip anything made out of a galvanized material.
Although a galvanized cap will last for many years, eventually the cap will start to rust.
This limits the performance of the cap, causing unsightly rust stains to drip down the side of your chimney chase.
So, at a minimum you should install a stainless steel chimney cap that won't rust.
If you would like a high quality cap that won't rust and adds beauty to your home, use copper.
Since the price of copper has increased over the years, copper is the most expensive metal for a chimney cap, but it has a decorative quality that's hard to beat.
Chimney caps serve a couple of important functions.
First, they prevent unwanted moisture such as rain and snow from entering the top of your chimney.
This moisture can eat away at the mortar joints inside the flue potentially causing a crack to form.
Once a cracks forms inside your flue, hot gasses and potential flames have a direct route from the flue into your home.
The moisture can also run down the flue and cause the damper to rust, leading to expensive repairs.
Second, a cap installed with a screen will prevent leaves, twigs and animals from entering your chimney.
Birds, raccoons, squirrels and other animals can enter an unprotected chimney and build a nest inside the flue.
Since there is no escape, the animals will die causing a blockage in your chimney and a horrible smell inside your home.
Finally, the screen around the cap also serves as a spark arrester, preventing dangerous sparks and burning embers from rising up the chimney and landing on your roof or nearby combustable materials.
Depending on where you live, a chimney cap with a spark arrester may be required for code.
Don't forget, chimney caps are not just for fireplaces.
The flue from your furnace is also in need of protection.
When shopping for a copper chimney cap, you'll need to know the size of your flue and whether or not you have a single flue, or multiple flues.
For example, if you have a fireplace along with your furnace, chances are you have 2 flues and will need a cap that can accommodate multiple flues.
If you simply have a furnace a single flue cap is probably sufficient.
Once you know how many flues and the size, simply pick out a cover that fits your setup.
Look for a cover that has 3/4'' openings for the spark arrester.
The 3/4'' opening is sufficient to keep out animals and debris, but it limits the possibility of ice or creosote to form on the screen and plug it up.
Depending on your budget and the overall look you're trying to achieve, a copper chimney cap can be a great addition to your home.
They offer a unique look that not only looks nice, but it's an important safety precaution for every home.