I own a three story house with two chimneys. The chimney in the center of the house has two flue liners, one of which is used by our hot water heater and the other was for a fireplace that is sealed in by drywall, thus no longer in use.

Last winter a bat got into the center chimney and stayed for a while. Last month I heard a short blood curdling scream in the night, which I assume was a small animal being killed and eaten in the chimney, possibly by an owl. Although, I tried to let my wife think that the sound was coming from outside the house, but the chimney goes right past our bedroom.

Long story short, I need to put something on the chimney to keep birds and other animals out. I can get to the chimney by leaning a ladder on the back roof of the house over the addition. I was thinking about putting a stainless steel chimney cap on and sealing it with roof sealant. Is there any reason why this would not work? Is there something else that I should do?

2 Answers 2


Sounds like you need a chimney cap

chimney cap

These come in a variety of sizes and shapes. They keep out most rain and snow and, most importantly, animals.

You should attach any cap with stainless screws and lead anchors. Sealant is not a big issue, since there is no need for air or water tight joints. While sealant might hold in most conditions, strong winds could rip the cap off if it is not mechanically attached.

  • That is similar to what I was thinking except I would get a double chimney cap that is stainless. I was just wondering if there is something else that I haven't considered.
    – Gandolf989
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 16:48
  • This is pretty much the standard approach in the northeast US. Some brick chimneys have a stone cap held up in the corners by pieces of brick, but these leave room for small animals to enter if screening is not used.
    – bib
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 16:50
  • 5
    Do yourself a favor and get someone to clean out the chimney first before installing the cap. Nothing like rotten-animal smell creeping in through your fireplace.
    – friedo
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 19:07
  • Probably a good idea, but if I haven't noticed a stink yet, it could be all the good dead animal smell is being vented out the chimney. :-)
    – Gandolf989
    Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 19:15
  • If you want a lower cost alternative, you could just mount some chicken wire around the top of the chimney. Commented Aug 24, 2015 at 19:44

In the UK we fit all our chimneys with a 'cage' or 'balloon' made from strong wire formed into a ball (other decorative shapes are available) with long stiff legs that are pushed into the chimney pot to hold it in place.

wire chimney cage/balloon

The ball shape prevents large birds from building nests on top of the warm flues, ironic since most folks around here call them 'bird cages'!

  • Its seems odd to me that the chimneys are open to the sky, yet chimneys don't fill up with water... :-)
    – Gandolf989
    Commented Aug 26, 2015 at 14:33
  • A brick can soak up nearly its own weight of water and there are many hundreds if not thousands of bricks in an average chimney! Plus rain rarely goes straight down...... :-)
    – handyman
    Commented Aug 27, 2015 at 16:29

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