All types of chimneys and stoves swept,clear view,charnwood,aga,rayburn e.t.c. Chimney c.c.t.v surveys carried out,cowls supplied and fitted,liners installed,call for a no obligation quote  01246 436486 or 07854947851

 Q...  I have some redundant chimneys in my property. Do they need to be capped off?

 All redundant chimneys left open to the elements will be a prime site for Jackdaws to nest and rain water could also become a problem. Rain can seep out through the sticks of a nest and cause damp patches in a chimney breast (usually the upstairs rooms). 
However, All redundant chimneys need to breathe therefore any cap to seal it must have ventilation holes.


  • Rain can work its way down the chimney and bring old soot with it which can end up in your room if there is an open fire or it can run down the outside of a stove if fitted and cause it to rust which can make the stove look very unsightly along with thick black tar which it has collected on the way down and which will stain your fireplace.
  • It is also a potential problem as it can eventually lead to holes forming in your  wood/multi fuel stove - dangerous due to heat and, more importantly, fumes escaping into the room. It is also very expensive to put right...a new stove is much more expensive than having a cowl fitted and your chimney swept regularly

  • Birds can cause a problem when they nest in redundant chimneys. Many people have spent large sums of money on rendering and the stripping of walls to find a 'leak' which may only have been caused by rain 'leaching' through the sticks of a birds nest and into the chimney breast. 
  • This quite often happens in bedrooms where the chimneys are more often than not sealed up.


All chimneys which are not in use need to breath or they can dry out and cause damage to the inside and outside of the chimney,have the correct cowl fitted



  • The metal 'hat' keeps the rain out. Most important if the chimney is very straight

  • The mesh stops birds and debris.

  • Perhaps most importantly, the height of the mesh allows the chimney sweep to get brushes right up and out of the pot without disturbing the cowl. This means the brush can be 'jiggled' to dislodge any build up of soot on the mesh

The clamps on the outside of the pot mean that when the chimney is swept,the brush will not push any 'legs' out from inside.
There is a junior version of this cowl also. However, there is very little room for the brush to come up and we highly recommend spending a few pounds more and purchasing the larger version.

A lot of cowls have metal legs which just push into the top of the pot.(see pic)
These are not ideal from the sweeps point of view and are easily dislodged or knocked off completely. Not ideal for either the sweep or the client!
 These types of cowl are often bought because they are cheap. 
We do not recommend them for the reasons mentioned above




Anti downdraught cowls are for use where there are problems with the fire 'drawing' (getting enough air to suck the heat up the chimney thereby keeping the fire going).
There are several reasons why a fire or stove does not draw properly

  • The location of the property. 
    Are you low lying?
    Are there trees close by?
    Is your property in amongst other tall buildings?
    All these outside influences can have an effect

  • Is it windy outside? Strong winds will quite often cause a change of direction and can create a temporary problem with the draw on the chimney.

  • The stove itself - is it fitted correctly? An ill fitting stove will affect the draw on it.

  • Is the correct cowl fitted? See the section above on Redundant chimneys. The wrong cowl could also have allowed birds to nest in the chimney. This WILL affect the draw!!

  • An open fire often opens into a large chimney and the draw on this will be significantly reduced. In any case, at least 60% of heat from an open fire is lost up the chimney.

  • Very cold weather will also affect the (initial) draw on a chimney. It is not unusual to get a blow back of smoke from both an open fire or a stove when lighting on a very cold day.
    It takes time for the chimney to heat up and warm the thermals which will draw the heat upwards. 
    To help avoid a roomful of smoke, start with a small fire and allow the chimney to warm up slowly. Banking the fire up to begin with will almost certainly guarantee smoke!!

  • Finally - and importantly - has your chimney been swept?
    If it has - has it been swept properly?
    An unswept or badly swept chimney will undoubtedly cause you problems.
    Soot and creosote can build up inside the chimney. As it reaches the top of the chimney, it cools and this is where potential problems could be created. Any blockages are nearly always due to the build up of this residue and the only sure way to remove it is traditionally, with brushes.
    A long unswept chimney however, could have a build up of creosote (from wood) which has set like rock and cannot be removed by sweeping alone.