Having a Chimney Cap Installed to Keep Birds out of the Fireplace

Chimneys can become a nesting spot for birds, raccoons, squirrels and other animals. Not knowing they are there or have built a nest there can lead to a variety of dangerous situations. These include opening the flue and having pests access your home or nesting material catching fire high up in your chimney where it may cause a chimney fire.

It makes sense to have a chimney cap installed to keep birds and other animals out of the fireplace.

Types of Chimney Caps

 

Before we go any further. I decided to add links to three Amazon search pages below. I did this because of the wide variety of chimney caps. Amazon has a good review system from its customer along with a large selection and varied prices of chimney caps.

Mesh Caps: These caps are the simplest and most common types. They are made from metal mesh that won’t hinder smoke from escaping but will hinder even small birds or rodents from entering. The mesh may lay flat on the top of the chimney or be a box-type cap with a solid top and mesh sides.

Caps With DampersCaps: With Dampers: These chimney caps work like a dryer vent on the outside of the house. They are fitted with one or two dampers that open when heat is rising out of the chimney. When the chimney is not in use, the damper closes to keep cold drafts from coming down the chimney.

Caps with a Vacuum: There is an added bonus to this type of animal-proof chimney cap. When the wind blows, the fan-type blades within the cap rotate, creating a vacuum. The vacuum draws air up and out of the chimney, increases the performance of the fireplace and is also safe to use on a furnace chimney.

Chimney Cap Material

Chimney caps are most often made from galvanized steel. This is the most affordable material. For longer-lasting appearance, a stainless steel chimney cap is a good option. For an upscale look, copper chimney caps are very attractive and not outrageously expensive. They do need to be periodically polished to keep a patina from developing, though some find the patina quite attractive.

Is This A DIY Project?

Installing a chimney cap is not a difficult project IF.

If you are comfortable on your roof and know how to follow the roof safety rules. Being comfortable on a ladder on top of a roof is not for everyone. if you feel safe and take your time replacing or installing a chimney cap is a good DIY project.

If on the other hand you are (like me) not comfortable walking around or climbing on ladders when you are high up on a roof then we suggest you call a roofer or good handyman. There is no such thing as an easy project if you are not equipped both with proper tools and with the mental strength to do it right.

What Does it Cost to Have a Chimney Cap Installed?

We just had two stainless caps installed on our three story house. I went with a roofing contractor rather then a handyman for this mostly because this is a 107 year old house and I wanted them to check out the flashing while they were up there. They charged me $180 per chimney. Now that is northern MN prices so I am sure it will vary in different parts of the country as well as size of the home.

Why Installing  a Chimney Cap is Important

  • A chimney cap greatly reduces the chances of a chimney fire.
  • Keeps animals and birds from using your chimney as a new home
  • Keeps rain,leaves and debris from collecting in your chimney
  • Reduces sparks and hot ash from flying onto your roof
  • Adds a classy look to the otherwise bland chimney top
  • With some caps it will improve your fireplace venting

Conclusion:

Until you have had a pigeon flying around your living room or a raccoon crying in the middle of the night while you run around trying to figure out where the heck that awful noise is coming from you may not fully understand the need for a chimney cap. A chimney cap is a small investment for the peace of mind that it provides. A clean chimney provides a safe and beautiful fire for the whole family to enjoy…

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