As you ready your chimney for the fall, be sure to check your chimney cap! Your chimney cap should be securely in place, and it should be surrounded by a fine mesh cage to help keep out birds, bats and animals of all sorts.
The problem with critters in chimneys
Each fall, as temperatures drop and rain and snow begin to fall, animals look for warm, sheltered places to nest. Chimneys provide the perfect setting. They are dark, warm, protected from the elements and often undisturbed. For homeowners, however, animals in the chimney pose several major problems, including:
Odors. Animals and their droppings can introduce unpleasant odors to the chimney and the home. Smells can be particularly bad if an animal or bird becomes trapped and dies within the chimney.
Blockages. Animals and their nests can obstruct chimneys. That prevents smoke from rising out of the chimney, which poses a major risk for chimney fires or carbon monoxide buildup within the home. At the very least, a blocked chimney will send smoke flowing back into your home when you light a fire.
Diseases. Animals and their droppings can introduce fleas and disease into your home. An animal infestation in your chimney can sicken your family.
Damage. Animals within a chimney can cause damage. They can scratch chimney liners and damage the damper within your chimney throat.
Noises. Animals and birds within a chimney can cause a lot of noise within your chimney. It can serve as a nuisance, especially at night when chimney-dwelling animals are more likely to be active.
Inconvenience. An animal or bird in your chimney must be professionally removed. While you wait for your animal to be removed and your chimney to be inspected to ensure no damage was done, you won’t be able to use your chimney. Some species of birds are not allowed to be removed from chimneys, and you have to wait until they leave the nest to have the nest removed and the chimney swept.
Choosing a chimney cap
Often, chimney caps are designed to keep rain out but lack the surrounding mesh screens that can keep out bats, birds and animals. If you are replacing your chimney cap with mesh, it is important that you work with a certified chimney technician to choose a functional and durable chimney cap. Chimney caps should be made of stainless steel or copper, as cheaper metals can rust and stain your chimney. Heavier metal caps also are key to keeping out strong and aggressive animals like raccoons, which can pry off the metal tops of less sturdy chimney caps. It is also important that the chimney cap is properly sized to your flue to allow your chimney to continue to vent properly and to keep out all animals and birds.
At Fluesbrothers Chimney Services, we install high-quality chimney caps that will keep the critters out of your chimney! Call us today to have your chimney cap inspected or to talk to us about replacing your inadequate chimney cap.