What Is A Spark Arrestor On A Chimney?

DuraVent 9284 8 in DuraPlus Chimney Cap With Spark Arrestor at Sutherlands
DuraVent 9284 8 in DuraPlus Chimney Cap With Spark Arrestor at Sutherlands from sutherlands.com


A spark arrestor is an important component of a chimney that helps prevent and control the spread of sparks and embers that could potentially cause a fire. It is commonly used in areas where the risk of wildfires is high or where there are strict safety regulations in place.

How Does a Spark Arrestor Work?

A spark arrestor is typically made of metal mesh or wire and is installed at the top of the chimney or stovepipe. Its primary function is to trap and prevent sparks and embers from escaping the chimney while still allowing smoke and gases to be safely expelled.

As the smoke and gases rise, they pass through the mesh or wire screen of the spark arrestor. The small openings in the screen are designed to trap and extinguish any sparks or burning debris that may be carried up with the hot air. This prevents these sparks from being released into the surrounding environment, where they could potentially ignite flammable materials or start a wildfire.

The Importance of Spark Arrestors

Spark arrestors play a crucial role in reducing the risk of chimney fires and wildfires. They are especially important in areas with dry climates or dense vegetation, where the likelihood of a fire spreading quickly is higher.

By installing a spark arrestor, homeowners can minimize the risk of accidental fires caused by sparks or embers that escape from the chimney. This not only protects their property but also helps safeguard the surrounding environment and neighboring homes.

Types of Spark Arrestors

There are different types of spark arrestors available, including:

1. Mesh Spark Arrestors

Mesh spark arrestors are the most common type and are made of wire mesh with small openings. They are effective in trapping sparks and embers while allowing smoke and gases to escape.

2. Cap Spark Arrestors

Cap spark arrestors are typically made of metal and cover the top of the chimney. They not only prevent sparks from escaping but also act as a barrier against birds, animals, and debris.

3. Chimney Pipe Spark Arrestors

Chimney pipe spark arrestors are designed to be installed directly onto the stovepipe or chimney pipe. They are easy to attach and provide an additional layer of protection against sparks and embers.

Maintenance and Cleaning

Regular maintenance and cleaning of spark arrestors are essential to ensure their effectiveness. Over time, the mesh or wire screen may become clogged with soot, debris, or creosote, reducing its ability to trap sparks.

It is recommended to inspect and clean the spark arrestor at least once a year, preferably before the start of the heating season. This can be done by removing the spark arrestor from the chimney and gently brushing or washing it with warm, soapy water.


A spark arrestor is a vital safety feature for chimneys, helping to prevent the spread of sparks and embers that could cause fires. By installing and maintaining a spark arrestor, homeowners can enjoy their fireplace or stove while minimizing the risk of accidental fires and protecting their property and surrounding environment.