What Is a Chimney Pot and Do I Need One? (Homeowner’s Guide)

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If you’ve seen a chimney from the outside, you may have noticed that some taller chimneys have round pots at the top. Made from clay, steel, or copper, these pots come in various shapes and are used to improve the draft.

Like any other chimney part, chimney pots serve an important purpose. It is important to understand what is a chimney pot and how it works, what their types are, and what purpose they serve; so that you know what’s best for your chimney.

The following article gives homeowners all the information they need on chimney pots.

What Is a Chimney Pot Used For?

Chimney pots originated in Europe as a cheap fix to poor chimney drafts. These pots became popular in America in the 19th century when people began to burn coal. Their ability to better exhaust smoke and dangerous exhaust gasses led to their popularity.

Chimney pots work on a simple principle: the higher the chimney, the greater the pressure difference.

When chimney pots increase the chimney stack height, it increases the pressure difference. Thus, the chimney draft is improved.

Apart from their utility, chimney pots improve the architectural appeal of a house or building through their beautiful designs.

Chimney pots are made from different materials and come in different shapes and sizes. While chimney pots are usually tapered, their design can range from simple tubes to intricate sculptures. The tapering helps prevent downdrafts and improves the updraft of your chimney.

A chimney pot is attached to a chimney flue at one end, while the other end is vented. If there are multiple pots on top of a chimney, it means multiple flues are present inside the chimney.

Why Should You Install a Chimney Pot?

A chimney pot is a useful addition to your chimney that offers several benefits. Here’s a list of reasons why you should get a chimney pot installed by a certified chimney sweep: 

Prevent Downdraft

Chimney pots increase the updraft of your chimney by increasing its height. Improving the chimney draft prevents the downdraft of smoke and other harmful combustion gasses.  

Weather Protection

Chimney pots are installed on top of a chimney, providing additional coverage to the chimney top. If you’ve got a chimney top, you can rest assured that fallen leaves, debris, and broken branches will not enter your chimney.

Some chimney pots also have covered tops (cowls) to prevent rainwater and snowfall from penetrating your chimney. This type of pot also has a mesh to allow combustion gasses to exhaust while keeping dust and debris outside.

Investing in a chimney pot is a good idea if you want to keep your chimney safe from water damage and clogging.

Protection From Birds and Rodents

Chimney tops provide small critters with a warm and secure place to nest. Squirrels, raccoons, bats, and other such animals and birds hide inside a chimney to save themselves from predators and harsh weather.

You can prevent them from entering your chimney by installing chimney pots that come with a mesh.


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Are Chimney Pots Necessary?

Installing a chimney pot is not mandatory, but having one can be advantageous.

Many homeowners think you should install a chimney pot if you face downdraft issues. But it is best to install a chimney pot as a preemptive measure.

Without a chimney pot, dust, debris, and fallen leaves can clog your chimney. This can cause downdraft. Smoke and Carbon Monoxide (CO) can enter your house or building and cause respiratory issues. CO gas can even be fatal. A clogged chimney also increases soot and creosote deposits and the chances of a chimney fire.

Without a pot, your chimney is at risk of water damage. Rain and snow can penetrate your chimney and rust your chimney damper. Water can also deteriorate your chimney masonry. It ultimately weakens the chimney structure.

All these issues can be prevented by installing a chimney pot. It ensures your chimney is safe to use and increases the lifespan of your chimney. You’re also saved from spending thousands of dollars on repairs.

Types of Chimney Pots

Chimney pots can be categorized based on the material used and their styles. Each of these types has its advantages and drawbacks. Understanding the various types can help you decide which is best for your chimney.

Chimney Pot Material

Different materials are used to manufacture chimney pots. Each of these materials provides a unique set of properties that helps manufacturers design pots for different chimney conditions.

Clay Chimney Pot

Terra cotta chimney pots are handmade from clay. These pots can withstand the heat of a chimney fire, making them extremely durable. Once installed, clay pots will last a lifetime. In the past, chimney flues were also made from terra cotta clay because of their heat resistance.

Another advantage is that ceramic does not attract lightning strikes, a problem with metal caps.

All these properties of clay chimney pots make them an excellent choice for harsher climates.

On top of that, these posts are quite cheap and can be installed easily within a few hours.

Traditionally round, these pots come in many shapes, sizes, and glazes. You can also ask for customized designs besides the standard shapes and sizes. As for the colors, you can either go with the natural look or choose between the six standard glazes, i.e., black, sandstone, dark red, limestone, brown (salt glaze), or buff.

Masonry Chimney Pots

People usually install masonry chimney pots for decoration. These pots are made from brick, stone, and (sometimes) clay.

Masonry chimney pots are usually installed at the time of construction of the chimney. Masonry pots are expensive because they are difficult to construct.

The issue with masonry chimney pots is that they require much more maintenance. The mortar that keeps the pot in place tends to deteriorate due to the impact of environmental elements. That is why it’s important to inspect masonry chimney pots yearly during the annual chimney inspections.

Copper Chimney Pot

Copper chimney pots are durable because they do not rust. That’s why these pots come with a lifetime warranty. These pots are also lightweight and have an aesthetically pleasing look.

The best part is that these pots do not require any maintenance and are easier to install than clay pots.

Metal Chimney Pot

Metal chimney pots are available in three main designs: air-insulated, mass-insulated, and air-cooled.

Air-insulated chimney pots have trapped air acting as an insulator between two stainless steel layers. Mass-insulated pots have an insulating material between the two layers of stainless steel. The design of air-cooled chimney pots doesn’t include insulation. These pots allow air to flow freely between the two layers of stainless steel. The air circulation keeps the chimney flue cooler.

As far as design goes, metal chimney pots are round and have an almost similar appearance.

Chimney Pot Styles

From the start, chimney pots have been manufactured, considering their utility and beauty. That is why you’ll find innumerable chimney pot designs to choose from. 

Capped Chimney Pots

Chimney pots covered with a cowl (covering) are called capped chimney pots. Homeowners usually purchase capped chimney pots for the extra utility they provide. Depending upon its type, a capped chimney pot can solve various chimney issues such as leaking, clogging, and downdrafts.

Tudor Chimney Pot

Tudor chimney pots are traditional, cylindrical pots tapered for better drafts. Tudor pots come in various materials, such as terra-cotta, metal, or brick.

Square Chimney Pot

If you’re looking for something simple, you can go with a square chimney pot made from clay or copper.

Victorian Chimney Pots

If you’re more into English architecture, you should go for Victorian-style chimney pots. These pots are mostly made from copper and look beautiful. Victorian pots come in various shapes, such as Queen, Bishop, Squared, etc.

Dragon Chimney Pots

You can find chimney pots with beautiful dragons sculpted on them. These pots look elegant, add to the architectural beauty, and increase the house’s value.

H-shaped Chimney Pots

H-shaped chimney pots are designed to reduce downdraught caused by strong winds. There are two main types of H-pots:

H-pots that have an inset. These are great for stoves that require chimney flues with a small diameter.

H-pots without an inset. These are great for solid flue open fires.

Should Chimney Pots Be Capped?

It’s a good idea to get your chimney pots capped to prevent damage and ensure optimal operating conditions.

Chimney pot caps or cowls are covers attached to the top of a chimney pot. Cowls solve several chimney issues, such as downdraft, chimney leaking, and clogging.

If you’re facing downdraft issues, adding a wind directional cowl can help reduce the impact of wind and improve the draft inside your chimney. Similarly, if birds, squirrels, or other small animals enter your chimney and clog it, adding a bird guard cowl can solve the issue.


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How Much Does a Chimney Pot Cover Cost?

The average cost of installing a chimney pot is $650 to $3,000. This includes the cost of labor which is around $300 to $500 on average but varies from state to state.

The cost of a chimney pot depends upon the material used. For example, a copper pot will cost more than a metal pot.

The cost also depends upon the design of the pot. Simple designs cost less; however, more intricate designs with many textures and fine details will cost a lot more.

You can save on the cost of labor by doing a DIY installation. But taking a task upon yourself is not only a hassle but also dangerous. You can hurt yourself during the process or damage your chimney. It’s also possible that you cannot install the pot properly. This can result in chimney leaks, clogging and even lead to chimney fires.

Therefore, hiring a professional chimney sweeper to install your chimney pot is better.

The Takeaway

Chimney pots are installed on top of a chimney to increase the smokestack and improve the chimney draft. People also install chimney pots because they increase the beauty of their chimneys.

Chimney pots are available in numerous shapes and sizes. You can also get a customized pot according to your taste.

It’s important to get a chimney pot installed by a certified chimney expert to ensure a proper and safe installation.


Is a cracked chimney pot dangerous?

A cracked chimney pot can result in chimney leaks and clogging. You can also face drafting issues due to a cracked chimney pot. If your chimney pot is cracked, get it repaired or replaced by a chimney expert.

How long do chimney pots last?

Clay chimney pots can last centuries, whereas copper ones come with a lifetime warranty. Masonry chimney pots also last for a long time but require regular maintenance as the mortar deteriorates due to the elements.

Are chimney pots valuable?

A chimney pot is a valuable addition to your chimney top. Not only does it improve drafting, but it also improves the chimney’s aesthetic appeal. Chimney pots also increase the value of your home.

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Thomas Green

Thomas Green

Thomas has worked in the Chimney & Fireplace field for over 12 years. He is an expert in his trade and loves to help People with their needs. Thomas Write helpful articles so that homeowners can make the most informed decisions about their fireplace and chimney.