5 Problems to Avoid When Installing a Chimney Cap

A red tiled roof with a brick chimney, topped with a chimney cap.

A chimney cap is used to prevent rain, animals, and wind from entering the home and causing unwanted problems. Any homeowner can install a chimney cap, but avoiding the following problems can ensure a smoother process.

Wrong Chimney Flue Measurements

Taking down incorrect measurements will result in buying an ill-fitting chimney cap and adding unnecessary steps to the installation process. Prior to going up the ladder, make sure you have outlined the measurements you need to take and bring measuring tape, a pad of paper, and a pen or dark pencil.

If you have one square flue, measure the outside length and width in inches. For round flues, note the inside diameter of the innermost pipe in inches, as well as the outside diameter. For multiple flues, measure the height of the tallest flue, as well as the width of a rectangle big enough to cover all of them.

Incorrect Chimney Cap Metal

Choosing the wrong chimney cap can lead to safety issues, such as chimney fires, as well as draft and other weather elements seeping in. For gas logs, avoid galvanized chimney caps as they can cause corrosive exhaust that damages your home. Galvanized chimney caps also require extensive maintenance to avoid rust from forming and destroying the inside of your chimney as well as your siding. Stainless steel and copper caps are more expensive, but they require less maintenance.

Unsecured Chimney Caps

Loosely installed chimney caps or those that do not require screws are at high risk for flying off during strong winds and causing damage to your property or your neighbors’. To avoid this problem, stay away from chimney caps that slide into the flue and do not require any additional support to secure them in place.

Lack of Draft Control

Not all chimney caps have mechanisms to prevent drafts. In fact, some caps can actually worsen the existing draft in your house. Evaluate the situation in your home prior to selecting a chimney cap. If drafts are a problem, consider using a vacuum chimney cap, which can fit over a round pipe or square tile and prevent downdrafts. Another option is a wind directional cap, which uses a rotating hood to create a partial vacuum in the flue that will improve the draft efficiency in your home.

Lack of Internal Damper Mechanism

Chimney damper systems insulate your home and prevent the waste of energy. Many older chimneys are missing a damper mechanism or have one that’s loosely fitting. In these situations, the selected chimney cap should also have its own integrated damper mechanism to protect your home from the elements, as well as high energy bills.

By being aware of these issues, most of your chimney cap installation difficulties can be avoided before they even begin.