It might not seem like it, but your chimney is an appealing location for animals. Birds, bats and many kinds of critters and pests have been known to find their way into chimneys. During the heat of the summer, chimneys provide a cool, shaded place. In the fall and winter, they provide protection from the cold and wind and are warm. From mice, rats, squirrels and raccoons to birds and bats, here’s what you need to know about critters in your chimney.
The problem with animals in your chimney
While your chimney is an ideal habitat from an animal’s perspective, it is not ideal for you. Animals in your chimney can introduce plenty of problems. If they find their way around your chimney damper and into your firebox, they are in your home. They bring diseases, food and debris in your chimney, and they can cause foul smells to fill your home. Some animals will build nests in your chimney that block the flow of smoke and pose a fire hazard. In short, an animal intrusion in your chimney is a major problem.
What to do about animals in your chimney
If you hear an animal in your chimney, or see it entering/exiting through your chimney top, it’s time to call the professionals. Removing a bird or animal from your chimney by yourself can be dangerous for both you and the animal. A trained professional can assess what animal is in your chimney and remove it for you. After the animal has been removed, you will need to have your chimney swept and inspected to remove any debris left behind by the animal and to check for damage that could have been caused by the animal.
Keeping animals out of your chimney
The best way to deal with animal intrusions is to prevent them. Most chimney sweeps recommend installing a chimney cap with a sturdy wire cage to the top of your chimney to block their access. A top-sealing chimney damper is even more secure. These dampers affix to the very top of your chimney. When the fireplace isn’t in use and the damper is closed, a tight seal is formed around the top of your chimney, preventing even the smallest birds and animals from entering.
Concerned about animal intrusions in your chimney, or already dealing with one? Call Fluesbrothers Chimney Service to schedule an appointment! We can clean up after an animal intrusion and inspect your chimney to make sure it’s safe for use, or we can install a chimney cap to prevent any future animal intrusions.