To start with, a lot of people don’t realise that a lot of the solutions are ineffective at best, and illegal at worst. There is out there in the Building Regulations and British Standards a list of prohibited terminals. A thoughtful person might ask why, if they are illegal, such things are still made. That’s a GOOD question, and one that has perplexed generations of chimney sweeps.
Top of that list is the hooded pot, which effectively looks like a half tube fitted to the top of a pot. This is banned for use on flues that burn solid fuel. It is banned for use on flues that burn oil. It is banned for use on flues that burn gas. How about those flues that burn nothing? Well, it’s not illegal to put them on there, but if you think they will keep the birds out, please think again. Jackdaws LOVE them, as they keep the rain out and keep the chimney snug and dry for them to build their nests in.
Next come the bird guards that just clip to the top of the pot. These will all too often come loose at the first touch of a brush, so again, we really wouldn’t recommend them.
The best ones combine cowl with bird guard. But do make sure that they are clamped to the outside of the pot. Some clip to the inside, and again, these too come off very easily.
Finally, do get the ones that are made out of stainless steel as they have the longest lifespan. If you wish, you can get them powder coated with a terracotta coloured paint. Just never buy the ones that are made of mild steel, and coated with plastic.
For information on selecting a bird guard, read our article here.