Investing in this critical home exterior appliance is not just a sound choice for your protection, but it’s a responsible decision for your neighbors. Even a well-contained fire in a fireplace is a potential hazard that shouldn’t be taken lightly. If you have a chimney, check out these chimney caps.
Why buy a chimney cap?
An unprotected chimney is just a two-way funnel for heat and smoke to go out of your home and for moisture to come in. Whenever water enters a house, bad things like dry rot, mildew, and mold could happen in the interior walls, ceilings, and attics. Other things can go wrong, too, of course. Without a chimney cap, animals like birds may enter and get stuck. Chimney caps also stop downdrafts and prevent fires by catching hot embers from moving from rooftop to rooftop. And believe it or not, some chimney caps add a nice decorative flair to your home’s exterior.
What should you look for in a chimney cap?
- Durability: You want to look for a chimney cap made of sturdy materials like galvanized steel, stainless steel, or copper. That applies to all parts of the chimney cap, including the base, hood, sides, and hardware. Another crucial part of a durable product is its design. Chimney caps with spark arrestor screens, ample hood coverage, and double-strength bases, for example, add an extra level of safety and security. In the long run, these features will pay off.
- Size: The size and type of cap that you will need will depend on your chimney’s style and dimensions. Measure the base of your chimney flue or have someone measure it for you before making a decision. Many issues regarding fit may have been circumvented with proper measuring. The shape of your flue—round, square, or rectangular—comes into play as well; however, some chimney caps are adjustable to both square and rectangular flues. Most chimney caps fit clay flues, which are the most common flue type, but check yours to make sure.
- Installation: Take into account the tools you have as you’re browsing for the appliance. Some products come with screws and other hardware needed for installation so that all you need to have on hand is a power drill. Other aspects that make installation easier include an adjustable base and an easy clamp-on design. Consider your ability to safely use a ladder and reach the chimney top. There’s no use in buying the easiest-to-install and least expensive chimney cap to save a few bucks if the installation puts you in danger. It’s better to call an expert if you’re worried about being able to install it safely.
How much should you expect to spend on a chimney cap?
The price of chimney caps varies depending on the types of metals used. Copper chimney caps can be as expensive as $500 or more. Most chimney caps are made of stainless steel. Even then, there are price differences between alloy stainless steel and galvanized stainless. The latter is arguably more durable and more expensive. Expect to spend between $50 and $150 for a quality product.
Shelter SCADJ-S Adjustable Clamp Single Flue Chimney Cap
This chimney cap features durable galvanized steel construction and a simple installation process.
Pros: This chimney cap by Shelter checks off on multiple requirements for many homes. It’s inexpensive, durable, adjustable, and suitable for the weather in most regions of the country. The 14-gauge 100% galvanized steel base for extra strength is designed to bolt onto your existing, single flue chimney tile with steel mounting clamps. It’s also adjustable to fit square and rectangle flue tile sizes between 8 by 8 inches to 13 by 13 inches and round flue tiles between 8 to 12 inches. The 24-gauge powder-coated galvanized steel hood has scalloped corners and roll-formed edges to ensure no moisture enters your home.
Cons: A few people report that the steel clamps and screws are less durable, which makes installation more difficult.
Bottom Line: If you have a single-flue clay chimney, and its dimensions line up, this Shelter chimney cap may be the solution to your home’s needs. Fortunately, the adjustable design allows for some room to work with, and it’s super sturdy.
HY-C SC99 Shelter Bolt-On Single Flue Chimney Cover
This chimney cap comes in a wide array of sizes, features galvanized steel construction, and offers great protection from animals and fires.
Pros: The HY-C Shelter Bolt-On Single Flue Chimney Cover features durable, 24-gauge galvanized steel hood construction with scalloped corners and straight-cut edges. This chimney cap offers a great deal of protection from animals, leaves, sparks, and even downdrafts. The HY-C Shelter Bolt-On Single Flue Chimney Cover is also quick and easy to install with only a screwdriver, making it a fantastic chimney cover option.
Cons: You may need to adjust the screen fingers to fit your chimney flue, depending on how the cap sits when you first install it. Also, some users might have trouble with the screws being too short for a perfect fit.
Bottom Line: Yet again, Shelter came up with a design that promises to protect your home and the quality parts needed for optimal durability. The scalloped covers and wide hood ensure that wet weather won’t come in. Strong winds won’t knock it around either, as the 16-gauge stainless steel base provides extra strength.
The Forever Cap CCSS1414
This extra-durable stainless steel chimney cap features a unique mesh screening that helps prevent creosote buildup.
Pros: The Forever Cap Stainless Steel Mesh Chimney Cap features 100% stainless steel construction and a unique two-piece design for added durability. The 0.625-inch oval holes in the mesh screening offer superior protection against animals, debris, and creosote buildup. The Forever Cap Stainless Steel Mesh Chimney Cap can even be used on round or oval clay flue tiles without rocking, making it great for a wide array of applications.
Cons: It could potentially develop rust over time. Be sure to measure your flue, and you should be good to go.
Bottom Line: It’s such a relief when you find the right product to satisfy your needs. This affordable, quality chimney flue keeps the unwanted stuff out and the sparks inside. The simple two-piece design is easy to install and has extra-strong durability.
Simpson Duravent 8DP-VC
This chimney cap features a spark arrestor for extra safety. It's also easily disassembled so that you can clean your chimney without hassle.
Pros: This Simpson DuraVent Chimney Cap features an 8-inch class A chimney pipe cap with a spark arrestor and removable screws so that you can easily clean the chimney or spark arrestor screen. The durably constructed stainless steel design keeps cool on the outside and has an 8-inch inner diameter and 14-inch outer diameter. For a stylish chimney cap that will last a long time and protect against fires as well as animals and debris, this Simpson DuraVent chimney cap is a fantastic pick. It’s also an all-fuel chimney cap that gives it a wide range of applications.
Cons: You may need to keep an eye on potential creosote buildup. Also, it’s pricier than similar products.
Bottom Line: When you find a chimney cap that’s easy to clean, practical, and even sophisticated stylistically, it’s not one to pass up. This DuraVent high-quality stainless steel chimney cap keeps the heat inside and animals and wet weather out. It’s compatible with wood stoves, furnaces, and even water heaters.
Colibrox Metal 6 Inch Round Cap
This fire-safe chimney cap is both practical and nice to look at. It's easy to install and made of quality stainless steel.
Pros: If you want to one-up your neighbors’ chimney caps when it comes to style, you’ve made it to the right place. This round chimney cap by Colibrox looks like it’s made of expensive copper, but it’s actually a more affordable but equally durable stainless steel. The smart, fire-safe design is perhaps its most outstanding feature. For example, the cap has double-layered compressible blanket insulation that allows the liner to expand out if, worst-case scenario, there’s a creosote fire. Held securely in position, this ceramic insulation prevents hotspots from occurring.
Cons: While this stainless-steel chimney cap is less expensive than a copper one, it’s still more expensive than similar steel caps. Is it worth it? That’s something you’ll have to mull over.
Bottom Line: With a well-thought-out safety design and attractive exterior, the Colibrox round chimney cap is a solid decision. The three-walled construction keeps animals and moisture out and traps stray sparks. Plus, the insulation material and the way it’s secured give you a nice, hot draft inside and keep the exterior cool.
Safety is something homeowners invest in to protect their home, family, and even their neighbors. It’s a measure that’s especially important for those with fireplaces and wood-burning stoves. Buying a quality chimney cap is an important step in this process, so check out our top picks for chimney caps.