Is a chimney cricket necessary? What does it mean and how much does it cost to install one?
A chimney system has various components consisting of both interior and exterior parts.
Its interior parts include the liner, throat damper, smoke chamber, and flue. Exterior parts of a chimney include the crown, cap, stack, chase covers, flashing, and cricket.
It’s about the last mentioned external part that we’ll be discussing.
A chimney cricket isn’t a component you’ll find on every chimney. In other words, it’s best used in some chimneys over others due to construction-related reasons.
This article focuses on providing as much information on chimney cricket as possible.
About Cricket For Roof Chimney
If you’ve noticed a small peaked roof attached or installed to the back portion of your chimney, that’s cricket.
Based on your design, this piece of construction may be made from aluminum, galvanized steel, or stainless steel.
A chimney cricket serves an important function as it helps deflect debris and water from getting into the chimney.
Also, water is kept from seeping through the flashing or chimney sides. You’ll always find a chimney cricket will angled sides. Its most common shape is triangular.
With a ridge at the top, the cricket guides water to flow down its sides onto the roof which easily flows down. Asides from rainfall, the chimney cricket serves to guide snow off your roof.
During sub-zero temperatures in winter, flowing water from snow is likely to freeze before reaching the ground.
This might end up accumulating water around your chimney, thus forming an ice dam which leads to a lot of moisture issues. Your chimney cricket comes to the rescue in such situations.
Water is unable to accumulate behind your chimney, thus lessening any moisture-related problems.
Chimney Cricket Location
The positioning of the chimney cricket gives a clearer picture of why it’s installed.
You’ll find these mounted on the upper backside of a chimney. So, instead of water or snow accumulating behind the chimney, the cricket helps glide it off the roof to the ground.
This way, common moisture problems are avoided and the most susceptible parts of the chimney (sides) are protected.
A Chimney Cricket Must be Properly Installed
A chimney cricket won’t function properly when an installation job is shabbily carried out.
It must be built or installed to certain specifications. Not all chimneys will require a cricket, especially those measuring less than 30 inches in width.
In other words, chimneys measuring 30 inches wide or more will need a cricket installed. This protects the exterior chimney from water leakages.
Are Chimney Crickets Installed on Chimneys Less than 30 inches Wide?
Although chimneys crickets are recommended for chimneys with a width of more than 30 inches, it’s sometimes installed on those with wideness below 30 inches. This is common in situations where there’s existing water or moisture problem.
Water penetrating the flashing and getting into a home will require taking drastic actions. This includes installing a chimney cricket. However, you’ll need to ask for a leak test to ascertain the need for a cricket.
The leak test involves spraying water on the chimney using a hose.
This action is taken while observing for any leakages in areas such as the sealing area closest to the chimney.
Other areas to check for leakages include the attic and walls. With leaks confirmed, urgent action is needed to prevent further damage. This includes the possibility of installing a cricket.
A Flashing May Not be Enough
Chimneys are known to have flashings that serve as a seal to keep out moisture from penetrating through the chimney sides. This is an L-shaped piece of metal installed below the roofing shingles.
While this provision is meant to waterproof your chimney, it doesn’t always get the job done.
This brings us back to the width of the chimney. Those beyond 30 inches wide are likely to have moisture issues as water collects behind the chimney and easily seeps through the flashing.
This is why it’s best to have a cricket installed from the onset during roofing.
A Chimney Base May Well Exceed 30 inches Wide
There are different types of chimney constructions that result in varying base sizes.
Since we’re looking at those with a width of 30 inches and more, the cricket size will depend on chimney width. The cost of installation depends on the wideness as well as the roofing company carrying out the procedure.
For some roofing companies, an additional $100 applies to every 10 inches beyond the 30 inches size.
All Flat-Backed Chimneys Hold Water
One of the easy ways to know if you need a chimney cricket or not is by checking out its construction. Flat-backed chimneys are notorious for holding water.
When this occurs, it’s likely to the dam, thus creating a problem. Moisture problems are worsened in situations where snow accumulates behind the chimney.
The chimney cricket best serves such a situation rather than leaving your flat-backed chimney unattended, it’s best to have a cricket installed to redirect water.
With this simple provision, you won’t have to encounter moisture problems due to water accumulation again.
Follow Official Building Guidelines
There are building codes that require many actions are taken to ensure a sound structure.
This includes the recommendation of flashing for chimneys having a width of 30 inches and above. If you have no idea what such codes are about, it will be necessary to ask a pro.
Professional roofing companies are responsible for installing the cricket. So, you might want to discuss basic building codes with your roofing company.
Of most importance is the roof installation around your chimney structure.
At What Point is a Chimney Cricket Installed
We’ve stated that chimney cricket installations are necessary when chimney width is around or more than 30 inches. In most cases, such installations aren’t retrofitted.
Rather, chimney crickets are installed during roofing.
However, a roofing company may be called upon to examine the absence of cricket and possibly have one installed. In such cases, the whole roof isn’t removed, but areas close to the chimney are taken off to make way for a new cricket.
There you go! Chimney crickets are key moisture control components that may be a perfect addition to your chimney. Of course, this depends on the width of your chimney.
Those with widths of 30 inches and over will need a cricket installed.
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