Why have a chimney cap? Masters Services in Dallas / Fort Worth 972-877-4650 and in Houston 713-723-4854 says chimney caps keep out RAIN, ANIMALS, and PROTECTS the chimney from expensive repairs.
A chimneys that does not have a chimney cap has an open hole (the flue) at the top of the chimney. The anatomy of a chimney prevents homeowners from seeing the rain pouring into the fireplace. The rain causes cracking in the flue liner and mortar joints. These cracks are a serious fire hazard. When the cracking gets to a curtain point, water will run into the walls and on the flooring. This could of been prevented from only having a chimney cap that covers the entire top of the chimney. If the chimney cap does not cover the entire chimney top then too much blowing rain can penetrate the flue and cause damage.
Animals and birds have an easy place to nest if a chimney cap is not present. A small chimney cap can be broken into by raccoons and squirrels. The smaller chimney caps are built with good materials, but do not offer the proper way to install to prevent larger nuisance animals to knock them off. Smaller chimney caps are either installed by tension screws or mortaring them down. Mortar deteriorates with sun and rain, just like side walks and roads. Tension screws simply cannot be tightened enough to keep the larger animals out. I say all this because of experience. Smaller caps are better than no cap. Over 16 years I have taken many animals out of chimneys that had a smaller chimney cap installed. Many of these chimneys had extensive moisture damage to the chimney because of not having a full coverage chimney cap. Expensive repairs can be reduced to even be eliminated by having the proper chimney cap installed.
A basic chimney cap that covers the entire top cost in Dallas, Fort Worth, Houston, and Oklahoma is approximately $350 to $500. The price in determined by the size, difficulty of installation, and type of material.
More decorative chimney caps start at $550 and up.