CHIMNEY COWLS and GUARDS
Chimney cowls come in many shapes and styles. They are fitted to stop birds, rain and/or smoke coming down chimneys. These are the main types for use on solid fuel chimneys.






The Bird Guard A large bird like a pigeon coming down a chimney into a room can cause much damage to furniture and decor. Over the years I have noticed a large increase in the number of birds (mainly pigeons) getting into chimneys.

Having a bird guard fitted to the chimney pot is a wise precaution especially if you live in an area with trees.

If you are going to have a bird guard fitted I strongly advise you to have a combined rain and bird version fitted.

The "upturned chip basket" type, shown in picture 3,  I consider a total waste of money - for a few pounds more you can have a secure and worthwhile combined rain/bird guard fitted.
PROS
-  Keeps out BIRDS, RAIN and LEAVES
-  Secure fixing method
-  Durable
-  Easier for chimney sweeping
-  Wide mesh that will not clog with soot

CONS
-  Takes a little longer to fix
-  Hiigher initial purchase price
PROS
-  Keeps out BIRDS
-  Wide mesh that will not clog with soot

CONS
-  Doesn't stop RAIN
-  Not a secure fixing method
-  Easily dislodged during chimney sweeping
PROS
-  Keeps out BIRDS

CONS
-  Doesn't stop RAIN
-  No proper fixing method
-  VERY Easily dislodged during chimney sweeping
-  It's just a handy perch for birds to poop through!
PROS
-  Keeps out BIRDS
-  Good anti-downdraught properties

CONS
-  Can run VERY noisily after a few months wear
-  Easily damaged during chimney sweeping
-  Needs maintenance
-  May not cure smoke blowback problems
ANTI-DOWNDRAUGHT COWLS
BIRD / RAIN GUARDS
PROS
-  Keeps out BIRDS, RAIN & LEAVES
-  Good anti-downdraught properties


CONS
-  Not easy for chimney sweeping
-  May not cure smoke blowback problems
OTHER COWLS
PROS
-  Keeps out BIRDS, RAIN & LEAVES
-  Allows ventilation in unused chimneys


CONS
-  Not easy for chimney sweeping
-  Not for use on active chimneys
RATING       POOR
RATING       GOOD
RATING     V.POOR
The Anti-Downdraught Cowl Fitted if a chimney is "overshadowed" by surrounding building or trees. This can cause smoke to be blown back into the room.

Old properties were built with chimneys which were the highest point of the house - and with good reason. The golden rule for chimneys and flues is "The higher - the better". That is, the longer a chimney is, the better the upward draught will be - generally speaking!

A solution to a problem smoky chimney can be a specialised cowl with aerodynamic properties which promote a stable or increased upward draught.

In my experience I have found these are seldom 100% effective and can even make the situation worse! However, at least one cowl manufacturer will refund the cost of their product if it does not improve a smoky chimney.
The Chimney Cap Fitted to chimneys that are not used.
It will keep rain, birds and leaves from entering an unused chimney while allowing a little ventilation through the chimney to stop condensation.
RATING       FAIR
RATING       GOOD
RATING       GOOD