9 Types Of Chimney Caps (With Photos)
Chimneys offer curb appeal, functionality, and a classic vibe that appeals to countless homeowners. They are easy to spot from the street, but their primary benefit is that chimney caps protect your roof and fireplace. With all of the benefits that chimney caps have to offer; how many types are there?
Electric, top mount, outside mount, and standard chimney caps are the most common. Draft-inducing, hurricane, and high-wind chimney caps are necessary for windy and rainy climates. Integral damper chimney caps are for fireplaces built before 1950 that don’t contain dampers to protect against drafts.
Chimney caps protect against wind, rain, downdrafts, and pests. Local building codes generally require chimney caps in modern construction, and they are worth the cost. Follow along as we explore the different types of chimney caps and see how they differ.
Chimney Cap Types
Anyone can recognize a standard or top mount chimney cap, but those are simply two varieties. It is hard to tell how one chimney cap is different from another just by looking at it. However, some chimney caps incorporate mechanisms and dampers that can improve your fires and airflow.
Electric chimney caps are the easiest way to induce a strong draft without trouble. This can be a lifesaver on those windy nights when you simply cannot keep a fire alive. The average electric chimney cap costs $180, and it can help your draft in several weather conditions.
An electric chimney cap has a fan that circulates or cycles to decrease or increase the draft. You can install an electric chimney cap on any type of chimney, and they are quite small. The average electric chimney cap only measures 12”, and it is easy to install.
2. Top Mount
Top mount chimney caps may just be the most common and recognizable variety. Many older homes have top mount chimney caps made of galvanized steel or copper. You can only install a top mount chimney cap if your crown is lower than the flue.
The average top mount chimney cap costs $175, and galvanized steel is the cheapest option. You can increase your home’s curb appeal with a copper top mount chimney cap, but that can cost over $300. Top mount chimney caps generally have mesh screens, and you’ll need to have your chimney cleaned each year to remove debris.
3. Outside Mount
Outside mount chimney caps are a perfect fit for masonry chimneys. You can fit an outside mount directly over the crown with several types of stone for fireplaces and chimneys. They are a great option for unique chimneys whether they have one or three flues.
Part of what makes outside mount chimney caps a great option for masonry chimneys is durability. Outside mount chimney caps can stand their own during intense wind and rainfall. It is easy to find outside mount caps to fit your chimney size, and it is possible to customize them to be a perfect fit.
Standard chimney caps are the most common option alongside top mount caps. The price is right at an average of $170, but you can equip your chimney with a standard cap for as little as $50. Any DIY-oriented homeowner can install a standard chimney cap on their own with no more than a screwdriver.
They aren’t the best when it comes to draft induction, but standard chimney caps offer weather and pest protection. Standard chimney caps work with just about any chimney or flue, and they can protect your home from burning embers.
5. Integral Damper
You won’t likely need an integral damper chimney cap if your house was built after 1950. Modern chimneys have dampers on the inside, but older chimneys generally don’t and that is inefficient. Without a damper, your fire stands a tough chance of staying lit and withstanding gusts of wind.
Integral damper chimney caps take care of this problem for old and outdated chimney caps. The damper protects the flame from gusts of cold wind that would typically extinguish a fire. You can work an integral damper via a lever inside of the fireplace, and they are a lifesaver during the fall and winter.
6. Draft Inducing
Draft-inducing chimney caps are a great way to keep a fire going and enjoy continual warmth. A draft-inducing chimney cap is raised slightly higher than a standard cap, and that helps induce the draft. Stainless steel draft-inducing chimney caps in particular are incredible and can help remove cool air from the shaft.
It can be tricky to keep a fire going inside of a fireplace, but it doesn’t have to be that way. The primary benefit of draft-inducing chimney caps is that they can give your fire the initial boost that it needs. You can buy a draft-inducing fireplace chimney cap for an average of $600, but they cost as little as $20.
They are ideal for flat roofs, otherwise, you will need to adjust your chimney. Use a draft master cap to ensure the calmest draft.
Hurricane chimney caps are a preventative measure for homeowners that live in a climate with hurricanes and tropical storms. The main difference between a standard cap and a hurricane chimney cap is that the latter has no mesh. A hurricane chimney cap lacks mesh which helps protect the cap from the wind while allowing maximum airflow.
The walls of a hurricane chimney cap are solid metal, and that makes them durable. Flying debris is a major concern with hurricanes, and hurricane chimney caps are designed to withstand damage. Without mesh, a hurricane chimney cap is less likely to become clogged or damaged by flying rocks and debris.
It is possible to customize a chimney cap, and it is entirely necessary in some cases. Old and outdated homes with non-traditional flues and chimneys are hard to fit with a cap. Manufacturers produce chimney caps to fit common dimensions, but not all chimneys fit a particular mold.
In that case, you will need to have a custom chimney cap made that is as functional as it is a perfect fit. You can expect to pay $900, on average, to customize and install stainless steel, galvanized steel, or copper chimney cap. Add-ons such as dampers and electric fans will add to the cost, but they improve wind and pest protection.
High-wind chimney caps help protect your fireplace from the wind because they dampen the impact. You can reduce and nearly eliminate the opportunity for wind to enter your flue and extinguish your fire. This comes in handy if you live in a windy area, and high-wind chimney caps also protect against pests.
Similar to hurricane chimney caps, high-wind caps are built to withstand debris. Debris can often clog standard and top mount caps, but that is not an issue with high-wind chimney caps.
Do chimney caps keep bats out?
Chimney caps can keep bats out if you have one with a wire mesh screen. Some small bats can get past wire mesh screens, and you install smaller screens to keep them out. Install an exclusion tube along with a chimney cap to keep bats and pests like squirrels out of the house.
Are chimney caps necessary?
Chimney caps are necessary, and many building codes require that you install a chimney cap. A complete chimney installation generally includes a chimney cap. They are also necessary because chimney caps reduce drafts and prevent pests from entering the home.
Does a chimney cap reduce draft?
Yes, chimney caps reduce draft, especially hurricane and draft-inducing chimney caps. Chimney caps with fans are perfect for minimizing draft and protecting your fire from the wind. Downdrafts can get past chimney caps, but a chimney cap can help protect your fire, so it isn’t extinguished.
How much does it cost to cap a chimney?
It costs an average of $250 to cap a chimney. Homeowners can spend as little as $30 for standard chimney caps if you install them on your own. The average labor cost is $150, and galvanized steel is the cheapest material for a chimney cap.
Summing It Up
Top mount chimney caps and standard caps are the most common variety. They are both effective against drafts and pests, but top mount and standard caps aren’t always ideal for windy climates. Homeowners that live in a windy, rainy area can benefit from draft-inducing and hurricane chimney caps that help in tropical climates.
Integral damper chimney caps are necessary if you have an old fireplace that was built pre-1950. Otherwise, outside mount chimney caps are great if you have a masonry chimney because they can protect the stone from rain and wind. Electric chimney caps cost an average of $180, and they can protect the fire from downdrafts, and the roof from embers and sparks.
Nick Durante is a professional writer with a primary focus on home improvement. When he is not writing about home improvement or taking on projects around the house, he likes to read and create art. He is always looking towards the newest trends in home improvement.
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