How come your dog is drinking from that puddle of water in your living room? When it rains, sometimes water enters your living room from the chimney. Although when you had your annual chimney inspection in the autumn; your chimney sweep didn’t detect any cracks in the mortar or bricks.

There is a good chance that water is entering through the top of the chimney.  Each year Houston averages about 49.8 in (1,260 mm) or so of rain. When bad weather blows in, we can receive some heavy rains combined with heavy winds.

A high quality chimney cap prevents water from entering your home and one of the best investments that you can make for the long term life of your chimney. We recommend that every single chimney flue be covered with a stainless steel or copper chimney cap.

An additional benefit of a chimney cap is that they keep animals and debris out of chimney. During the fall and winter squirrels raccoons, and small birds called chimney swifts nest in chimneys if they are allowed to. A chimney without a chimney cap is an open invitation for these animals to build their home in it.

Wild animals and their nests droppings can prevent fireplaces and furnaces from drawing properly, forcing smoke and carbon monoxide back into the house. Branches from neighboring trees and debris can end up in your chimney too.

Downdrafts are another problem that can be minimized with a chimney cap.  When the wind is blowing in a certain direction, it can blow smoke back into the home. The flat-shaped top of a chimney cap is designed to help prevent downdrafts from entering the home.

Chimney caps also keep sparks from the fireplace from exiting the chimney; acting as spark arrestors. Burning embers can get swept up in the draft of the fireplace and damage nearby structures like a roof or a neighboring home. Chimney caps contain embers and sparks so that they don’t escape from your chimney 

There are some pitfalls from installing a chimney cap on your own one of the biggest is if you decide to install the chimney cap yourself it may void the warranty (your chimney cap comes with a lifetime warranty).  

One of the easiest problems to avoid istaking down incorrect measurements which results in buying the wrong sized chimney cap which ends up wasting your time. Make sure that you written down the right measurements before buying a chimney cap.

An issue that isn’t as easy to fix is choosing the wrong chimney cap. This can lead to safety and venting issues. For instance don’t buy a galvanized chimney cap if you have gas logs as the exhaust can damage your home. Stainless steel and copper caps are more expensive, but they require less maintenance.

If a chimney cap isn’t correctly installed it can fly off during strong winds and causing damage to your property or your neighbors’ property. The most secure chimney caps are screwed down and don’t slide into the flue.

Not all chimney caps are created equally either. Some of them don’t have mechanisms to prevent drafts and can make the problem worse. There are a couple of chimney cap options to deal with the problem. One of them is a vacuum chimney cap fits 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.

In order to be more energy efficient you can opt for a chimney damper system. The chimney cap that you buy should also have its own integrated damper mechanism to protect your home from the elements, as well as high energy bills.

The best way to keep the outdoors out of your chimney is by installing a chimney cap. There are many pros and cons of installing a chimney cap.