Fireplaces and chimneys seem like a basic concept to homeowners, but there are many parts to a chimney that you probably don’t know much about: such as the chimney chase and chimney chase covers.
Understanding the parts of your chimney can help you maintain it for future use, while also keeping you and your family safe. One of the basic components of a chimney is the chimney chase.
What is a Chimney Chase?
A chimney chase is a chimney by any other name, but usually one built of framed wood or siding. It is essentially a prefab chimney made of wood.
Chases generally do not contain the classic ceramic tile flues, but instead provide an enclosure for stainless steel flues for fireplaces and fuel-fired appliances, such as furnaces.
What is a Chimney Chase Cover?
A chimney chase cover is a chimney cover that fits on top of the chase. The chase cover and chimney cap help keep the elements—including water, snow, leaves, debris, and critters—out of the fireplace and flue. They are like a metal chimney crown.
Chimney chase covers are commonly referred to as chase pans or chase tops. They are typically a rectangular-shaped piece that covers the top of your chimney made of brick, wood, vinyl, or metal siding.
Chase tops are only found on chases connected to factory-built fireplaces. The chase also aids in directing the smoke and burning embers away from your roof to prevent a house fire.
Types of Covers on a Chimney Chase
Chimney chase covers come in various materials. The four main types are chimney chase tops are aluminum, stainless steel, galvanized steel, and copper. Each of these materials has pros and cons.
Make sure you understand the benefits and risks of each before choosing one.
One of the major benefits of an aluminum chimney chase cover is that it won’t rust, which is good for the overall longevity of the product. Of course, on the flip side, aluminum is a softer metal and might not hold up as well against harsher elements.
Stainless steel is by far the most robust material that you can find to use for your chimney. It’s incredibly reliable, especially if you live in an area that sees a lot of troublesome weather.
However, the downside to stainless steel is that it is costly. That being said, because it’s likely to last very long, it’s often worth the extra price.
Galvanized steel will most certainly be your budget option. If you need to replace your cover quickly and last minute, it might be a good option when your bank account isn’t prepared for a significant bill.
Galvanized steel does rust easily, so you’ll have to replace it probably within just a few years. So, it may be a reliable short-term solution, but maybe not for the long-term.
While stainless steel is the strongest material you can choose, copper is considered the most high-quality. For that reason, it’s usually the most expensive one. Not only does it hold up very well, but the copper shade adds a nice, visually appealing touch.
Why You Need a Chimney Chase Cover
Having a chimney essentially means having a hole in the roof of your home. Typically, a hole would let things in. That’s why you need a chimney chase cover. The cover prevents things like precipitation, leaves, dirt, and other various debris from entering your chimney and falling into your fireplace and home.
While water certainly doesn’t mix well with fire, a chase cover goes far beyond simply keeping your roaring fireplace going. Continuous leaks of water from rain and snow, plus other elements, can eventually cause structural damage. Not only can this damage be extremely expensive to fix, but it can also be dangerous.
Although chimney chase covers are useful preventative tools, they don’t last forever. Part of caring for your chimney is knowing when it’s time to get your chimney chase cover replaced.
When to Replace Your Chimney Chase and Chimney Cover
If your chase is damaged or has taken significant wear and tear, then it needs to be repaired. The most common cause of damage comes from corrosion and rust. These two things can be easily spotted by reddish-brown stains around the top of your chase.
Corrosion and rust can lead to leaks and holes in your cover. Once rust begins, it only gets worse. Eventually, you can take on significant damage and leaks that will only lead to more internal chimney damage.
Of course, not all of us have the time or resources to climb atop our roofs to check the chimney cover on a regular basis. So how can you know when you need to replace your chimney chase?
One way to maintain this area of your home is to schedule annual chimney inspections. Professionals should come out to your home once a year to do a thorough check of your chimney structure. This inspection includes a close look at your roof, your chimney, and the area surrounding it. An inspector will be able to easily tell if your chimney chase cover needs to be replaced.
Another sign that you need a new cover is finding water on the floor of your fireplace. A damaged chimney chase cover can cause leaks. So, if you’re finding water in your fireplace, there’s a good chance your cover is taking on rust or corrosion.
If you see any sign of water in your fireplace, you should call a chimney inspector right away to prevent any further damage. If you can catch it soon enough, you can avoid any additional costly repairs.
Contact Your Chimney Sweep with More Questions
Not everyone has the time or ability to be a chimney expert. While you can certainly continue to learn, it’s best to contact a chimney sweep with any questions or concerns you might have.
If you’re in the D.C, Maryland, or Virginia area, schedule an appointment with Priddy Chimney Sweeps, or give us a call to address your chimney needs. We have the expertise, experience, and professionals you need to maintain your chimney and avoid costly damage and repairs.
We follow the National Fire Protection Association’s recommendations to inspect chimneys, fireplaces, and vents annually to ensure safety and prevent blockages and potentially hazardous damage.
Give us a call and let us handle all of your chimney needs.