As temperatures drop, animals begin to look for warm, dry places to seek shelter. All too often, chimneys seem like the perfect, inviting atmosphere: They’re dry, warm and uninterrupted, as long as the fireplace isn’t yet in use. For nocturnal animals, the chimney provides a nice, dark place to nap during the day.
The Problem of Having Animals in a Chimney
While sheltering inside a chimney might be an ideal situation for some animals, for others it can be a death trap. They get in and they can’t get back out. And for homeowners, animals in chimneys can cause some serious problems. They can be noisy and messy, leaving behind droppings and food scraps. Animals who intentionally nest in the chimney can clog your chimney with nesting material, preventing smoke from getting out and creating a fire hazard. Animals who enter your chimney by accident and become trapped can die and fill your home with a putrid smell. Any animal who manages to make their way into your chimney might even be able to find a way into your home through the fireplace opening.
If you’re hearing bird chirps, scampering, clawing feet or fluttering wings in your chimney, it’s likely an animal has found its way in. If so, you will need to hire a professional to safely remove the animal. You’ll also want to find a way to prevent animals from entering your chimney again, which will likely have you asking: How did an animal get into my chimney in the first place?
The Process of Animals Entering a Chimney
Usually, animal entry into the chimney is fairly straightforward. On top of your roof, your chimney opening provides a massive opening to your flue. That opening can allow any type of animal to get in. A curious animal might nose its way in and fall, or a bird might accidentally fly down. Animals who like to make homes in chimneys, like squirrels, raccoons, and chimney swifts, may enter intentionally to build their nest.
Keep Animals Out of the Chimney
The answer to keeping them out seems obvious. You need to block your chimney opening so animals can’t get in, either intentionally or accidentally. To keep animals out while still maintaining a functioning chimney, you can outfit your chimney with either a chimney cap or a top-sealing chimney damper. A chimney cap outfitted with a surrounding cage keeps animals from being able to approach your flue. A top-sealing damper closes off your flue opening entirely when the chimney isn’t in use, and some feature a collapsible cage that surrounds the flue opening when the damper is open and the fireplace is in use.
Protect Your Chimney From Animals
If an animal has gotten into your chimney, first you will need to have it removed. Next, you will need to have your chimney swept and inspected to ensure that all traces of the animal have been removed and that there is no permanent chimney damage. Finally, top your chimney with a new cap or top-sealing damper to keep animals from entering your chimney again. If you need help cleaning up after an animal intrusion or topping your chimney to keep animals out, call Fluesbrothers Chimney Service today!