A spark arrestor and rain cap on a chimney top, is designed to prevent wood embers from floating up the chimney and landing nearby on combustible materials. Such as a neighbors wood roof, dry grass, dry tree branches or other things that will easily catch fire. These hot embers from the fireplace can start a fire very easily. The rain cap portion is designed to reduce rain water from entering into the chimney area.
If a piece of screen material is laying across the top, then…
Just laying a small wire mesh piece over the top of the chimney is incorrect and may actually create problems. For example, if someone was burning newspapers in the fireplace and the newspapers pieces floated up to the screen laying on top of the chimney, then they may block some of the smoke from going up the chimney and therefore the smoke enters into the room where the fireplaces is. Many jurisdictions, want the screen area to be at least four times the size of the chimney opening, so that this condition cannot occur.
Another advantage of having a rain cap and spark arrestor on top of the chimney is that it helps keep leaves, squirrels and other rodents or animals, including birds out of the chimney itself. Occasionally, birds will build a nest, or debris or animals will block the chimney, thus preventing it from drafting properly. Should it not draft properly, smoke may fill the room, or gather on the face of the fireplace or ceiling.
Find Them At
Local home improvement stores, hardware stores, and fireplace stores usually carry a variety of these rain caps and spark arrestor.
Easy to Install if You Want One
Generally rain caps and spark arrestor’s are easily placed on top of a chimney. Installing these devices may be risky because you generally need a ladder and sometimes are required to be on a sloping roof. Caution is advised.
Who to consult? Fireplace contractor or qualified handyman.
Home owners will often install or repair their own rain cap and spark arrestor. Fireplace contractors, qualified handymen and some roofers are proficient at handling this type of work.