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If you are in the market for a new chimney cap, it's important to know what type of cap will work best for your chimney. There are several types of chimney caps available, and they are almost always made of metal. This post will cover the various types of chimney caps and discuss a few details about each one.
Here are the most commonly used types of chimney caps:
- Weathershield Chimney Caps
- Top Mount Chimney Cap
- Band-Around Chimney Cap
- Electric Draft Chimney Cap
- Draft Increasing Chimney Cap
- Standard Chimney Cap
- Integral Damper
- Custom Chimney Caps
The price of a chimney cap can vary greatly, depending on the material and the type of cap that you purchase--customized caps will always be more expensive. If you are unsure what type of cap you need, you can go to a home improvement store or consult with a local roofer who can help you measure your chimney flue. Continue reading to learn more about the types of chimney caps.
Types of Chimney Caps
Chimney caps are the metal caps on top of chimney flues that prevent debris from falling down the chimney. They also prevent sparks from the fireplace from flying out of the chimney and onto the roof. Lastly, chimney caps act as a barrier to keep outdoor wildlife out of the chimney and help cycle air into and out of your home, which helps control interior humidity.
1. Weathershield Caps
Weathershield chimney caps are increasing in popularity, particularly in areas that have colder climates and strong winds. They can be purchased outright either online or at a home improvement store, or they can be purchased at a roofing dealer who can customize them to your specific flue--they typically cost anywhere from $99 to $500 or more.
These caps can be made with stainless steel, galvanized metal, or aluminum. Their biggest benefit is that they are corrosion-resistant (so they will not rust) and can withstand very harsh weather conditions. Weathershiled caps can be used on both masonry and prefabricated chimneys. In addition to keeping out precipitation and fallen leaves, they can also keep your chimney pest and animal-free (via a mesh screen). They are fairly easy to install and are also effective at reducing the effects of downdrafts.
2. Top Mount Chimney Cap
Another basic type is the top mount chimney cap. These chimney caps can range in price and are typically purchased at around $50 to $300 or more. They are pretty easy to install, compared to other caps, and come in various customized versions, including mesh screens.
Top mount caps are usually from copper, galvanized metal, or stainless steel; they may also contain corner reinforcements for secure placement. These caps work best on flues that stand higher than the crown--a factor that will determine if a top-mount cap is suitable for your chimney. They can be used on both masonry and prefabricated chimneys.
3. Band-Around Chimney Cap
Band-around chimney caps can be purchased at around $50 to $500. They are typically made with stainless steel or aluminum. While these caps can be purchased online or at home improvement stores, they are more commonly purchased at routine or specialty stores as they will need to be customized for the perfect fit.
These chimney caps consist of a metal mesh skirt with an adjustable band that wraps around the chimney (which fits tightly around each corner of the flue). They can be used on masonry chimneys. Band-around caps will always need to be installed by a professional to ensure proper fit.
4. Electric Draft Chimney Cap
One of the most innovative types of chimney caps is the electric draft chimney cap. These electric draft chimney caps can be purchased at around $60 to $300. One of their biggest benefits is their amazing ability to help with fireplace drafts. They work by improving its overall performance by decreasing the amount of the draft based on weather conditions.
Electric draft caps are equipped with a fan with several specialized settings to help you get a solid draft going on your fire. They can be used on both prefabricated fireplaces and masonry fireplaces. These electric caps are typically made of metal and come in various sizes, anywhere from 3 to 12 inches.
5. Draft Increasing Chimney Cap
Draft increasing chimney caps are another popular type of cap used in both modern and older homes. These chimney caps can be purchased at around $20 to $1,200 or more. Their biggest benefit is that they increase the amount of updraft inside of a chimney. This can be an important feature if you struggle with fireplace warmth in your home.
As these draft-inducing caps cycle out cold air quickly, you will notice a significant change in the amount of warmth in your home (particularly in the room where the fireplace is located). They are also extremely effective for helping you get a draft started on a new fire. Draft-increasing caps are available in galvanized metal and stainless steel and can be used on masonry and prefabricated fireplaces.
6. Standard Chimney Cap
These chimney caps can be purchased at around $40 to $300 or more, depending on the type. Standard chimney caps are probably the most commonly used chimney caps in most homes. They are attached to the chimney using screws, and they lay flush to the tile of the chimney flue. Some standard chimney caps may be attached to the interior of the chimney if the flu is lower.
They can also come with mesh screens to prevent animals from climbing inside of the chimney. These caps work very well to keep big sparks from shooting out of the fireplace onto the roof. They come in copper, galvanized metal (which is not to be used on gas logs), and stainless steel, and can be used for both masonry fireplaces and prefabricated fireplaces.
7. Integral Damper
These chimney caps can be purchased at around $300 to $500. The integral damper cap is more of a mechanism, designed specifically for older fireplaces (built before 1950) that don't contain interior dampers. These types of caps prevent cold drafts from shooting down the fireplace and blowing out your fire.
They are best used for masonry fireplaces and are typically made of stainless steel. Integral damper caps are installed on the chimney's interior and are attached to a hose that runs down the chimney into the fireplace, where a lever is attached to the wall.
8. Custom Chimney Caps
Custom-made chimney caps can be purchased at around $300 to over $1,600. Chimney flues can be very complex, and depending on the type of flue your home has, you may need to have a customized cap made to ensure that your home has the right chimney cap for its shape and size. Several roofing companies can create custom chimney caps for you, and they are available in galvanized metal, copper, and stainless steel (with galvanized metal not recommended for gas logs).
These caps can come with a variety of features and attachments to ensure that they fit your flu properly--and perform properly. So if you have issues with a pest infestation, updrafts/downdrafts, or fireplace sparks that seemed to be caused by your current chimney cap, a custom cap may be necessary.
How High Should Chimney Cap Be Above Flue?
Roofing experts recommend that the chimney cap be approximately four to five inches taller than the flue.
How Do You Know What Size Chimney Cap To Buy?
To purchase the right chimney cap, you will need to measure your flue's height to ensure that it is four to five inches taller than the flue. To do this, you need to measure the length and width of the chimney. If the chimney is round, you can measure the diameter on both the inside and outside of it. Also, if your chimney has multiple flues, you can measure the tallest flue's height and measure the width of the combined area of the flues.
When Should A Chimney Cap Be Replaced?
Quality chimney caps will typically outlast cheaper models and materials. Caps are known to last anywhere from three to over 25 years. If you noticed that your chimney cap is starting to develop rust, it might be time to explore a replacement cap. Also, if the cap has blown off of the roof or become damaged during a storm, it will definitely need to be replaced as soon as possible to help protect your chimney and home.
Wrapping Things Up
Purchasing the right chimney cap is important to ensure optimal operation of your fireplace and the protection of your home from outside elements that may enter through the chimney. If you are having issues determining the right cap for your flue, it's best to call a roofing expert to assist you.
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