A Wind Cap vs A Chimney Cap

Wind cap
A Wind Cap

Enjoying a warm fire on a cold evening is one of the simple pleasures in life, but not when that beautiful crackling fire is accompanied by the eye-burning smell of smoke.

There are a number of causes for fireplace smoking problems, many of which are easily remedied.

If you live in areas prone to wind, such as the coastal or mountain region, or even off of a canyon or hillside, there is a very simple solution–a chimney wind cap.


The difference between a Wind Cap and a standard Chimney Cap

Chimney cap
A Standard Chimney Cap

A standard chimney cap serves several important purposes:
* Prevents embers from landing on the roof;
* Prevents animals and other critters from entering the home through the chimney;
* Prevents rain from going into the chimney system; and
* Prevents debris, leaves and pine needles from entering the chimney.

A standard cap, however, will not prevent wind-induced downdrafts.

What is a Wind Cap?

Wind caps have the same benefits as standard chimney caps but due to the design, wind caps have the added benefit of preventing wind from going down the flue which can cause smoking problems in your home.

Wind caps work on the same premise as weather vanes.  They rotate on a turret, turning their back to the wind while allowing the smoke to exit the flue pipe. The wind currents flow over the cap, instead of going down the pipe. The air current going past the wind cap creates a venturi effect (partial vacuum) in the pipe, helping to prevent the downdraft that creates the smoking problem. The hood of the wind cap also prevents horizontal rain from entering the flue pipe.

Where to find a Wind Cap

Unlike universal standard chimney caps, wind caps must be custom sized to fit the flue pipe. This requires taking accurate measurements of the inside and outside diameter of the flue pipe as well as the shape of the chimney flue pipe. The measurements can be tricky, especially for the odd-sized or odd-shaped flue pipe. Wind caps have to be special ordered to fit properly. It is recommended to hire a professional chimney sweep to measure, order and install a wind cap. To find a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep, go to the Chimney Safety Institute of America’s website.

One precaution with a wind cap

Please be aware that a wind cap cannot be installed on a pre-fabricated fireplace system due to the U.L. listing on the pre-fab fireplace. A wind cap can be installed on a masonry chimney and the pipe of some freestanding wood stoves and stove inserts.

Fireplace smoking problems may be easily resolved. Don’t just accept a fireplace smoking problem. Nothing should take you away from enjoying one of the simple pleasures in life.

8 thoughts on “A Wind Cap vs A Chimney Cap

  1. Completely agree with you. A professional chimney cleaning helps prevent any problems from occurring with the entire system – including the chimney cap. The flow of air through the chimney is important to the operation of your fireplace. Sometimes the small wire mesh on a chimney cap becomes clogged with creosote.

  2. Yes, very true. Sometimes downward drafts can interrupt proper air flow and circulation and can cause the smoke to get backed up into your home. Not only is this an eye irritant as you said, but it can also be dangerous with the backup of carbon monoxide.

  3. Great information on chimney wind caps!

    Most people are aware of what a chimney cap is, but have never heard of a wind cap. They can be a lifesaver when dealing with difficult downdraft situations in windy areas.

  4. I think they both add their respective advantages and pros. We recommend either based on each customer’s home and chimney situation.

  5. Oh now I know that a wind cap is really much better than a chimney cap, my friend told me this a long time ago but I didn’t listen to him, thanks to this content for the enlightenment.

  6. Wind-directional chimney caps are an excellent option if you have issues with wind-induced downdrafts or have a draft-heavy fireplace. Wind-directional chimney caps are also a common choice for factory-built metal chimneys.

  7. A chimney cap can stop the frustrating effects of downdrafts, which also means cold blasts of air are prevented from creating a chilling effect in your home. Another good feature of chimney caps is that there are many styles available to cover any type of chimney, such as a masonry chimney or a metal pipe chimney.

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