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Magic Sweep Blog

Consider a New Chimney Cap or Damper This Summer

Your chimney may be done for the winter, but it may be costing you this summer, and you don’t even know it yet. If your chimney has missing or damaged parts, you may be losing conditioned air through the flue, or warm air may be coming in by way of the flue. As your central air system works harder to cool the air in your home, your utility bill goes up!

 

How a Cap Can Help

A chimney cap is installed on the top of your chimney and serves as a roof. It also keeps animals out and protects your flue against water and weather year-round. You can even buy a specific model that deflects wind away from the flue opening, keeping gusts from affecting your fire in the winter and your central air in the summer. Having a cap installed this spring will not only save you on utilities but will also protect your entire system from water damage and damage from animal intrusion. Choosing the right cap for your chimney can be difficult. Professionals at Magic Sweep can help. Your chimney may be best protected with a new damper–a top seal damper.

 

Energy Saving Damper

You can save even more money by having a new top-sealing damper installed before the weather gets too warm. Sometimes called an energy-saving damper, the top-sealing damper kills two birds with one stone. It works as a chimney cap while a fire burns in the fireplace, and it is a tight-sealing damper while engaged. Not only does it act as a damper, but it seals the entire chimney system from the top with a tight seal. Neither water or animals can penetrate a top-sealing damper. You can avoid losing air through this new damper as well! The best way to close your system off for summer is with a top-sealing damper. It will keep humid air from mingling with the soot and creosote in your flue, cut down on odors, and protect the system until it’s time for a fire in fall.

 

Call a Professional

Magic Sweep is your #1 choice for chimney maintenance and repair in Hampton Roads. Our chimney sweeps are certified, insured, and experienced choosing and installing chimney caps and dampers. Our top priority is safety and efficiency for our neighbors and customers, so we only carry the best in brands and models.

Are you tired of spending too much money on your AC every summer? You may be surprised how much you’ll save with a new cap or damper–not just in utility bills, but also in prevention. Installing a top-sealing damper or cap now can protect your chimney and prevent costly damage later.

Call Magic Sweep today at 757-523-2400 or request an appointment for your home or rental now.

The Benefits of Top-Mount Dampers

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), a damper is an important component of every chimney. Essential for an energy-efficient home, the damper keeps the heat in and the cold air out of your house, which saves you money on heating bills. Your damper is also used to control the flow of smoke, gases, and the other byproducts of combustion up the chimney to exit your home. Available in two different types, you can choose between the throat damper and the top-mounted damper. Also known as the traditional fireplace damper, a throat damper is installed right above the firebox and is found in many old masonry chimneys. However, this type of damper has many flaws and issues. At Magic Sweep, we highly recommend the top-mounted damper over the throat damper. We would like to tell you more about the benefits of these dampers to explain why.

Top-Mount Damper Chain - Chesapeake VA

A top-mount damper serves two functions, allowing you to “kill two birds with one stone.”

One of the main benefits of a top-mount damper is that it also serves as a chimney cap when the damper is closed, and, to be honest, this type of damper actually gives you better protection than an ordinary chimney cap. Equipped with a silicone rubber gasket that seals in heat and air conditioning as a damper, a top-mount damper also gives you an air-tight seal to keep out water, debris, birds, squirrels, and raccoons — just as a chimney cap would. When our customers need a new chimney cap, Magic Sweep will recommend that they install a top-mount damper instead of a chimney cap. Some models of top-mount dampers come with caps, so even when the damper is open, your chimney is still protected from debris and animals.

A top-mount damper will save you both energy and money.

Throat dampers just do not completely seal as well as top-mount dampers. You will not have to worry about cold air, ice, and snow entering your flue to create a cold core in your chimney. A cold core tries to cool your home at the same time that your heating system is trying to warm it up, which wastes both fuel and money. As a top-mount damper sits atop your chimney, cold air never even has a chance to get anywhere inside because your entire flue is sealed air-tight with the silicone rubber gasket. Believe us when we say you will save money on both cooling and heating bills when you install a top-mount damper.

A top-mount damper is easy to operate.

With some throat dampers, you must practically stick your head up the fireplace to open and close them. When you have a top-mount damper, opening and closing the damper is simple. A stainless steel cable from the damper drops down the chimney and connects to an easily-accessible handle which is mounted inside the firebox. Different models will have different opening and closing methods, but Magic Sweep guarantees you will find all easy to use.

Want to know more about the benefits of top-mount dampers? Contact Magic Sweep to find out even more advantages to this type of damper.

 

Choosing the Right Chimney Cap

One of your best defenses against water penetration and animal invasions of your chimney, a chimney cap sits on top of your chimney’s opening. With several different types of chimney caps available, how do you know which cap is the right fit for the flue of your chimney? At Magic Sweep, we are experienced with fitting all types of chimney caps, even customized caps. We would like to tell you a bit about the different kinds of chimney caps and what you should know about selecting the right kind for your chimney.

Choosing Chimney Caps - Chesapeake VA - Magic SweepThe main thing to consider when deciding which chimney cap is right for your chimney is the shape of your flue. Chimney caps come in different shapes to fit each type of flue. These shapes include:

Round Flues

Whether you have a clay, masonry, or metal flue, you can find a round chimney cap that can either attach to the outside of the flue or slip inside the flue. Round chimney caps are made from an assortment of materials including copper, stainless steel, and galvanized steel. Some round flue liners require chimney caps that must be inserted inside the chimney flue, such as round flexible flue liners and round solid pack flue liners.

Square and Rectangular Flues

The most commonly shaped flue, square and rectangular chimney caps can be attached to the flue, or, if you have a chimney crown, there are chimney caps in these sizes that can attach to the crown. Made from the same metals as the round chimney caps, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends you choose a chimney cap constructed from a sturdy, durable, and rust- and corrosion-resistant material to ensure a long-lasting cap. For chimney caps that attach to a chimney crown, you will need to choose from top mounted chimney caps.

Oval Flues

Unless you have a custom-shaped oval chimney cap made for you by our technicians at Magic Sweep, you will need to look at rectangular shaped chimney caps that will cover the exterior of your flue.. When you look inside this type of cap, you can see how the corner tabs or interior ledges will accommodate oval flues.

There are other considerations to think about when choosing a chimney cap. These include:

  • Mesh Spark Arrestor – To prevent animals from entering your chimney to take up a new residence and to keep sparks from flying out of your chimney and possibly starting a fire, your chimney cap should be equipped with wire mesh sides. Be sure the mesh openings are between ¾ to ½ inches in size to keep animals out, to contain large pieces of hot debris and ashes, and to allow toxic gases to escape.
  • Combination of a Chimney Cap & Damper – You can now find top sealing chimney caps that do double duty as a protective cap and as a damper. Perfect for new home constructions and for older chimneys in need of numerous repairs, the damper is located on the cap. When it is sealed closed, the air loss from your home is reduced by 90%. When the damper is opened, the wire mesh on the chimney cap protects your chimney from invading animals and prevents stray sparks from exiting.

Want to know more about the different types of chimney caps? Contact Magic Sweep today to talk to our expert staff about your many options.