Prefabricated fireplaces are a cost effective alternative to masonry chimneys; however, these heating appliances still have components that need to be regularly cleaned, inspected, and maintained. One of the most important parts of any prefabricated fireplace is the chimney chase cover.
What is a chase cover?
Sitting at the top of the chimney and protecting the flue, the chimney chase cover has a similar to function to chimney caps on masonry chimneys. Traditionally made of metals such as stainless steel, aluminum, or copper, chase covers protect the top of the flue, letting smoke and gas safely draft out without letting debris, animals, or water in.
Chase covers are designed to extend over the sides of the chimney chase. This allows moisture, ice, rain, and snow to drain onto the roof instead of onto the sides of the chimney. This design features helps protect the chimney from water entry, as well as keep the chimney chase from being damaged by water.
Why is my chase cover important?
The chimney chase cover is the first line of defense for your fireplace, protecting the chimney and flue against water, animals, and debris. This important function protects the chimney year round; from keeping water out during spring rains to preventing leaves from falling in during the autumn, chase covers keep your fireplace burning safely throughout the changing seasons.
Because of the important function of the chimney chase cover, any damage to it can create serious problems for your fireplace system. Water entry is a serious concern for prefabricated fireplaces; not only can water damage and rust the metal fireplace components, but it can also lead to mold and mildew growth in the chimney.
Leaves, sticks, and other falling debris can also pose a problem for unprotected chimneys; without a chase cover, debris can damage the flue and cause chimney blockages that prevent proper venting and drafting. Animal entry can be equally problematic, with birds, squirrels, raccoons, and other small animals causing damage – and uncomfortable odors – in your fireplace and chimney.
Signs your chase cover may be damaged
While prefabricated chimneys do not last as long as their masonry counterparts, with regular upkeep and maintenance they can continue burning safely and efficiently. However, overexposure to the elements, strong winds, poor construction, and other problems can all cause damage to your chase cover.
One of the most common signs of chase cover damage is rust or staining on the sides of the chimney chase. This kind of staining indicates that the metal of the chimney chase cover has begun to rust and deteriorate; by the time rust stains occur on the side of the chimney chase, the damage is often bad enough to cause chimney leaks. Even without staining on the sides of the chimney chase, the presence of any water inside the fireplace indicates a chimney leak.
Chimney chase covers are important to protecting your prefabricated fireplace during the wet and cold months of winter – and throughout the rest of the year. To have your chase cover inspected, repaired, or replaced, contact the experts at Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney today!