Chimney caps

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Have a curiosity question that I hope the gurus can help me with. My house has the typical clay chimney surrounded by brick. It does not have one of those aluminum caps. The house apparently went decades with out one. On my street I say only 50% of the houses have chimney caps. How vital are these caps? Are they vital? I'm not comfortable going up there myself, so I'll to pay someone, and unfortunately they'll charge a pretty penny just for a small job.
Thank you
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Hi, My first house as built in arly '70 which had a wood burning FP and hat kinda chimney. Next house built in mid-70's had same FP and chimney neither had cap. From then on 4 more house with direc vent NG FPs, no more such chimneys.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

I installed one mainly to keep the raccoons and birds out.
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Reed wrote:

Same here, except 'possums.
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It depends.
My house did not have one on the chimney for the woodstove. I had a bird get in there, a year or two later a squirrel got stuck. Both animals had to be taken out inside the house, a real PITA. After that, I put a stainless steel cap on.
A cap keeps out the wildlife, but, I get condensation from the woodstove now when the products of combustion hits the cold cap.
I don't have a cap on the chimney for the oil burner and never had a problem.
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wrote:

A cap on the oil burner flue helps efficiency slightly. That's because it helps the chiminey warm up faster, so you get better draft sooner.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

Any problems with furnace or water heater blowing out? Any nasty drafts from fireplace? Any water stains on ceiling, or problems with water showing up in fireplace? Any birds or animals falling down chimney stack?
If not, I wouldn't worry about it until next time roof needs repair or replacing, since flashing will need to be redone at the same time, and that guy is probably also set up to do caps.
-- aem sends...
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wrote:

I'd install a cap before I needed one. A racoon decided to live in our chimney. My husband went on the roof at night when the animal was out feeding on the ground. Luckily no babies were in the chimney and he installed the cap right then. He waited for the animal to come back. It was really pissed off. It grabbed the cap and tried to pull it off, couldn't and eventually left. My hubby said there was scat on the roof and some vegetables the racoon brought up there, he thought from the neighbor's garden. ewwwwwww.
So, I think it's easier if you install a cap now, before you have to deal with animals during the night.
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Cool, thanks. Don't have a fireplace. It's for a natural gas furnace. never had a problem with animals, or black water puddles in the basement, or drafts. Can't determine internal motor damage. The info advice on this thread was good, thank you. Next time one of my neighbors is fixing his roof, maybe I'll negotiate with the contractor to come over for an hour, if the price is reasonable.
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After pulling alive out of the fireplace, 2 pigeons and one sparrow, and having a Racoon live in the chimney that even went right back in after I smoked him out with paper, I gota cap, it also keeps rain out and maybe makes your liner last longer.
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Put one on. Basic ones (not stainless steel) are not that expensive, maybe $35.
http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId9242-82862-SC1313L&lpage=none
It will keep critters and their nests out, keep debris out if trees are around and keep rain from continually going down and slowly damaging brick and damper. Another slight advantage is it will reduce the amount of rain the joint where the cement meets the flue sees. There's suppose to be a gap there and it and it's suppose to be filled with flexible caulk made for areas where movement occurs. Often, it doesn't happen or was filled with improper material. That results in gaps and water slowly damaging the brick/flue area out of sight.
Installing a basic cover takes 10 minutes but as you say, stay off he roof if you're not comfortable. But this gives you an idea of the labor they are charging. If they charge you a minimum hourly rate for like 1 hour, give them an hours work - inspect roof, check for exposed nailheads, broken shingles, bad vent stack boots, caulk gap mentioned above if needed, etc.
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http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action=productDetail&productId9242-82862-SC1313L&lpage=none
IMO, the extra money for SS is well worth it. The basic cap rusted and I still have rust stains on the brick after 10 years.
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Get one. Its not just for animals. It's also rain. Over time, rain coming in damages the chimney just like eventually you get small mortar repair needs on the outside. It can't be reached on the inside though very easily so is $expensive$ to fix. For 35$, you won't have that problem.
There are 2 types. The 'tension' type that just holds ther with a sort of 'spring' which i do not advise, and the bolted sort (small bolts are used to hold it firmly). Stainless Steel is best (mine is aluminium and we replace it every 3 years or so).
As to putting one on, any handyman capable of getting on the roof, can do this one. No special 'roofer' or 'chimney person' required.
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I just use a square piece of hardware cloth to keep critters out, 3" overlap on the sides bent down around the round flue pipe, never had it blow off or any critters remove it altho I have a lot of squirrels running around on the roof.
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wrote

How about a double flue chimney ?? Is there a single cap for both or does each has it's own cap ???? I have a double flue and have never had a cap...Never thought much about it till I read this thread.....
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"benick" wrote

That if i understand the design right, would need one even more because you have a better path for small leaks to hit freeze/thaw between them.
You should be able to get 1 cap that fits over both. It's essentially a small rain roof with a critter guard ;-)
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wrote

Just Google: chimney cap double
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wrote

We have 3 on top of our chimney. Each of them has their own cap.
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snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

If you don't mind an inch or 2 of water in the bottom of the chimney every time how ever much it rains it don't matter. I decided to keep the rain out of my chimney. Don't have an animal problem but this will also prevent future ones. I use my chimney for wood furnace.
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On Sat, 14 Nov 2009 21:25:12 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@hotmail.com wrote:

When we first moved in last year, we ended up with a nice puddle of black water in the basement whenever it rained (there's a little hinged inspection cover right at the base of the chimney and water would collect behind it and then seep through).
The day it didn't rain but we ended up with a duck at the bottom of the chimney was the day I decided it needed to be capped.
I had some spare metal plate laying around, so I just hopped up there and measured the chimney, then made my own cap - I wasn't too hopeful of a generic one fitting right (1940's place, no building regs, so everything tends to be a bit non-standard). I say "just", but I hate ladders... :-)
cheers
Jules
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