The crisp autumn weather is starting to settle in. Chilly winds have vividly colored leaves falling to the ground, and most people no longer leave the house without at least a light jacket. Many homeowners are starting to look ahead to heating their homes in the upcoming months. For those who use their fireplace or stove in the fall and winter, now is a popular time to schedule the necessary regular maintenance. Everyone is scrambling to make a chimney sweep appointment to clear out any debris that built up since last winter, but a lot of people forget about a simple yet very important part of the chimney: the chimney cap.
What is a chimney cap?
The chimney cap is a small apparatus that sits atop the chimney. Generally made with stainless steel or copper, it serves a few different purposes, not the least of which is keeping birds out of your chimney. Luckily, right now the birds are heading for warmer climates, but they will return next spring wanting a safe place to live. The interior of your chimney is as good a place for a bird to live as any. However, it can cause some serious health hazards for you.
A blocked chimney is a broken chimney
The function of the chimney is to allow smoke and other toxic gases created by the fire to escape the home. If an animal builds a nest and lives in your chimney, the function of the structure is suddenly lost. With the path of the fumes blocked by the animal and debris, the poisonous gases have no option except to flow back in your home. The debris can also catch fire and can lead to a lethal chimney fire.
Smoke produced by fire consists of a wide range of dangerous chemicals, but you may know of the two deadliest. Carbon monoxide is an invisible, tasteless, scentless gas produced during combustion, or any type of burning including gas. If carbon monoxide cannot escape through the chimney because of a bird and its nest, the gas will build up inside the house. This can result in suffocation in a matter of minutes. Creosote is another harmful chemical that results from burning wood. This tarlike particle floats through the air while hot and clings to nearly everything as it cools. If creosote is forced to infiltrate your home due to a chimney obstruction, you will inadvertently inhale it or consume it, causing health problems like cancers and birth defects.
All things considered, keeping birds out of your chimney is in the best interest of your and your family’s health. Right now, while the birds are heading for warmer areas, is the best time to have a mason out to install a chimney cap that can keep birds out. This low-cost option is a very effective solution for blocking access to your chimney. If you live in upstate South Carolina, contact Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps today to talk to a specialist about your chimney needs.