CONTROVERSY: Should you use a chimney mount (chimney strap)?

Chimney mounts have been part of the antenna landscape for over half a century. Yet, if you look online you will actually find people who say you shouldn’t use them. Let’s take a look at the evidence for and against this popular mounting method.

What is a chimney strap?

Some call them chimney mounts. Some call them chimney straps. It’s the same thing. A chimney strap (or mount) wraps around your chimney and lets you attach a mast that can be used for antenna or satellite dish mounting.

The whole idea of a chimney mount is that it’s non-destructive and easy to put up. It wraps around the chimney and you don’t have to drill holes. It’s a perfect project for weekend antenna fans who don’t want to drill into the wall, eave, or roof of a house. Using a chimney mount makes putting up an antenna simple.

The typical kit comes with corner pieces that keep the chimney protected plus metal bands that connect it all together. The antenna’s mast mounts into a dedicated area that stands a little bit further from the chimney. One or two people can install this product easily in under an hour.

Could a chimney strap damage your chimney?

If you look at some of the ham radio forums, they come out pretty strongly against chimney straps. They say that these products weaken a chimney over time because the movement of the mast creates friction of the strap against the chimney. They even go so far as to say that only a fool would use a chimney strap.

That seems a bit harsh but I do understand why people in the ham radio world would say that. Ham radio operates on lower frequencies than TV antennas. The lower the frequency, the larger the antenna you need. Keep in mind too that ham operators aren’t just receiving. They’re sending too and that means they’re likely to want to put that antenna up very high.

Because of those two issues — a large, heavy antenna and a long mast — I can see why these people really don’t want to use chimney mounts. It seems like a very bad idea for antennas weighing 50-100 pounds.

However, I still think chimney straps for most antennas are just fine. Maybe you might think twice if you’re getting a real behemoth like our HD8200XL but most antennas will be light enough that it’s not an issue. Also since you have a choice of where to put the antenna mount it should be easy to use a fairly sort mast, which also cuts down on problems caused by weight.

Before you put up that chimney mount though…

I would do a thorough inspection of the chimney. If you can scratch little bits off the brick, then it’s become porous and it might need to be replaced anyway. In some parts of the country, brick fireplace chimneys can be over 150 years old and the process for making bricks wasn’t as sophisticated as it is today. Those older chimneys could absolutely suffer by having a chimney mount dug into them.

Also, when mounting, try to find a level of tightness that will let you hold a mast steady but one that’s not so tight that it’s digging in. If even a loose fit causes bits to come off the chimney’s bricks, I’d avoid this mounting method. For everyone else, though, I think it’s an easy and economical way to mount an antenna. Shop now for chimney straps at Solid Signal.