Frequently Asked Questions — Faqs
Making your Fireplace or Stove more Efficient
Installing the most efficient wood fired heating system or increasing your existing fire's efficiency is worthwhile and becoming increasingly so as the price of fuel increases. While significant improvements can be achieved by choosing the best possible low moisture content fuel, there is now another step that can be taken for new installations or retrofitted to existing systems. A fire is completely dependent on the flue that serves it. A flue that doesn't work properly gives the fire below little chance of working effectively. The ideal flue provides minimum resistance to exhaust gases and promotes a steady even draw. The majority of flues struggle to achieve these optimum conditions but installing a Windkat can improve flue conditions significantly. The steady even draw promoted by the Windkat has been shown to increase fireplace and stove efficiency by up to 20% with a minimum improvement of 5%. The Bavarian Ministry for the Environment has confirmed this. Apart from the obvious cost savings of reducing fuel consumption, additional advantages include pollution and soot reduction as a more efficient and complete burn is also a cleaner burn. The Windkat allows for cleaner and more efficient burning so join us in creating a better environment for us all and reducing black carbon.
Does the Windkat Cowl prevent downdraught?
Yes, Windkat uses a system of injection nozzles to maintain constant negative pressure in any flue to which it is fitted and is the most effective anti-downdraught cowl on the market.
What does the Windkat Cowl do?
- Cures downdraught and draw problems more reliably than other products.
- Improves fireplace and stove efficiency by creating ideal steady flue conditions.
- Reduces black carbon.
- Lights quicker.
- Acts as a rain and bird guard.
- Operates to 600 degrees centigrade.
- Solves short chimney problems.
- No moving parts.
- Has no moving parts to fail which increases reliability and safety over many other products.
- Is ideal for new installations to make your fire the best it can be as well as retrofitting to cure downdraft problems on existing systems of any age.
The Windkat guarantee & warranty
Our guarantees are simple at Windkat - we want all our customers to be happy with their purchase.
- In the unlikely event the Windkat does not live up to expectations, you can return it to us for a full refund within 6 months of purchase. Please contact us before posting returns.
- Furthermore, Windkat is covered with a 10 year manufacturers warranty against defects.
Will the Windkat fit directly onto a twin walled flue pipe?
Yes, the Windkat is perfect for fitting onto twin walled flues or single walled flues.
Does the Windkat Cowl work in low wind and still weather?
Yes, the Windkat continues to work even in extremely still conditions with no wind long after spinning cowls have stopped and become a hindrance rather than a help. The Windkat has extremely low resistance and as there is always some air movement even when the weather appears absolutely still, the Windkat will continue to channel that slight air movement upwards, which in turn draws air up the flue. No other cowl works as effectively.
Does the Windkat Cowl have any effect on wind noise?
We cannot guarantee that the Windkat will reduce all wind noise, but as Windkat gives all fires and stoves a more constant even draw excessive wind noise is likely to be reduced.
Increasing chimney height?
If you have a chimney stack that's too low and you want to find the easiest way of increasing the height of your chimney, Windkat has the solution. Windkat allows an additional 0.5m or 1m extension to be easily added. Windkat extensions are made from high grade, twin walled, insulated, stainless steel flue pipe. Keeping flue gases warm is essential for good draw and nothing does that better than the Windkat extension. Email us for further information on chimney cowl extensions.
Chimney fan alternative
We regularly get enquiries from customers who've been told by a 'chimney specialist' their only remaining option is to install a chimney fan such as the Exhausto. They are delighted to discover the Windkat option saving them a great deal of money and running costs when compared to chimney extractor fans. Windkat regularly proves to be a reliable chimney fan alternative.
Twin wall flue performance enhances by Windkat Cowl
Customers often contact us with downdraught and draw problems in twin wall flue systems that are simply too short. 3m-5m of twin wall flue is prone to a variety of performance issues and ideally should be extended in height. Extending a twin wall flue can prove very expensive as supports may need to be constructed and good quality insulated flue does not come cheap. The alternative may well be to fit a Windkat instead. Many of our customers have been saved the expense of extending their flue by the simple effective addition of a Windkat. With the shortest flues it may be necessary to increase the height of the flue a little (e.g. 0.5m) as well as adding the Windkat but additional flue pipe can be added retrospectively.
Why Is Windkat better thank other Anti-Downdraught chimney cowls?
Apart from stopping downdraught, Windkat will provide a constant even draw in your chimney unlike competitor products that either have little effect at all (many other static cowls) or can make your chimney draw too much or too little depending on the wind (spinning cowls). Constant draw makes for an efficient fire that’s a pleasure to use. Windkat is also a pot and cowl all in one so if you’re having a new fireplace or stove installed its worth fitting a Windkat straight away as you will need a pot/cowl anyway and the features of the Windkat will improve your fire’s efficiency and guard against any future weather related problems.
Wood burning stove smoke in room
The majority of enquiries we get concern this problem. Whether it is lighting a wood stove or smoke coming out of the fireplace, apparently randomly once lit, these are the problems Windkat is designed to fix.
The windkat cowl works by providing a constant steady draw in any chimney and flue to which it is fitted - it is a high quality product and made in Germany and we offer a money back guarantee if your wood burner continues to smoke into the room. Quite simply its guaranteed to work or you get your money back!
Lighting a wood burning stove or fireplace
Lighting a wood burning stove can be problematic if your flue doesn’t draw up air as it should. This can be due to various reasons including downdraught, cold air building up in the flue, or a poorly insulated and therefore cold flue itself.
Installing a Windkat cowl can dramatically improve the ease with which stoves and fireplace fires can be started. That is because Windkat not only stops downdraught, but uniquely acts as a gentle passive ventilation system too, drawing air steadily up the flue even when your fire is not alight. The existing draw makes lighting your fire much easier as well as burn more efficiently.
Check out more details on how Windkat works here
Are moving or spinning chimney cowls dangerous?
The Windkat has no moving parts and is therefore one of the safest downdraft chimney cowls you can buy.
Chimney cowls with moving parts can be unreliable because they are prone to failure which can happen at any time. The reason they fail is they become choked with soot from the fire below. If you rely on a spinning cowl (that draws up air by spinning) or moving cowl (that adjusts to wind direction in anyway by moving), to stop downdraught and it fails while the fire is on, there can be serious consequences if the smoke cannot then escape.
Another common complaint we hear is that moving cowls and spinning cowls often end up making a very annoying squeaking noise as the bearings start to fail.
Up to what temperature can the Windkat Cowl operate?
Windkat is rated to 600 degrees centigrade giving you extra piece of mind.
Is a flue cowl and chimney cowl the same thing?
A Chimney Downdraft Preventer is referred to by a number of names, but yes, to all intense and purposes they are the same thing.
Chimney cowls for gas fires - Is Windkat suitable?
Yes, but don't forget to include the wire mesh option when ordering for a gas system to meet UK Building Regs.
Chimney cowls for open fires - Is Windkat suitable?
Yes, the Windkat works very well with open fires and as it also works as a passive ventilation system, it can prevent cold air coming down the chimney even when there is no fire in the hearth.
Chimney cowls for solid fuel - Is Windkat suitable?
Yes, the Windkat is perfect for solid fuel systems such as wood burning and multifuel stoves.
Stainless steel chimney system
Windkat is made of high grade stainless steel and works perfectly with all twin wall flue brands including Selkirk, Schiedel, Midtherm, Negarra, Jeremias and others. The Windkat plug-in configuration slots into those flue systems in seconds and transforms their performance. Many of our customers buy the Windkat when the downdraught cowl supplied by the flue manufacturer proves ineffective.
Fire goes out over night. Doesn't work well when turned down?
If you've tried to keep your stove burning low over night, but as soon as you turn it down it seems to go out then the Windkat could help. Its very disappointing coming down to a stone cold stove in the morning when what you were hoping for is gently smouldering embers that are effortlessly coaxed back into life. When turned right down, stoves are more susceptible to poorly performing flues and without a steady even draw, fires easily go out. Its expensive and inconvenient to own a fire that only works well when its roaring through logs. The Windkat will maintain a steady even draw in your flue transforming troublesome fires into more manageable and useful appliances. Not just for downdraught and weather related problems, the Windkat increases the efficiency and usability of open fires and wood burning stoves.
Curing AGA oily smell on Windy days?
One of the likely possible causes for an oily fume smell from your oil fired Aga on a windy day is downdraught. Fitting a Windkat has proven to be a reliable way of fixing this problem for a number of our customers and succeeds where other cowls fail. If it doesn't solve the problem to your satisfaction you can return the Windkat for a full refund even if its been used!
Is the Windkat suitable for Gas fires and flues?
Yes it is suitable; however you need to order the Windkat with wire mesh as this is a legal requirement for gas appliance.
Do you have any recommended Windkat fitters?
If buying from your local stockists, they should be able to arrange installation however if you've bought online through us, we would recommend you contact your local chimney sweep or local builder although the Windkat is simple to fit and can be a DIY job.
How do I find out what size I need?
By measuring the internal diameter of your chimney stack, chimney pot or flue at the top and following the guidelines on the product pages.
I take it that the coloured Windkats are in fact made of stainless steel?
Yes, but powder coated in either Terracotta, Black or Anthracite. We can offer Windkat in any RAL colour by special order - email us for a quote.
Would the Windkat fit a regular stainless steel chimney flue and would I need special fixings?
Yes, it is ideal for fitting directly into a metal flue and no special fixings are needed. We supply a tube of heat resistant silicone to seal the fit.
Is the Windkat going to solve the problem given the chimney is lower than the roof pitch?
We cannot guarantee it will definitely work, but you stand a much higher chance with the Windkat than any other cowl. We would also recommend using a 500mm extension to raise the Windkat away (but not necessarily above) the roof if the Windkat does not work on its own.
Do I have to remove my existing chimney pot to fit a Windkat Cowl?
Windkat is a chimney pot and cowl all in one so ideally your existing chimney pot should be removed. As we also offer Windkat with a plug-in configuration which can slide into a pot, there may also be the possibility of fitting Windkat on top of your existing pot, but particular attention must be paid to ensuring a firm, safe fit.