It might not seem like it to you, 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 warmed by the air from your home. 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 might seem an ideal habitat from an animal’s perspective, having an animal in your chimney is far from ideal. Animals in your chimney can introduce plenty of problems. If they find their way around your chimney damper and into your firebox, they can gain entry into your home and cause damage. They bring diseases, food and debris in your chimney, and they can cause foul smells to fill your home. Some animals, like squirrels and raccoons, will build nests in your chimney that can block the flow of smoke up your chimney 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 and exiting through your chimney top, it’s time to call in 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
Animals are bound to try to gain entry to your chimney. The best way to deal with animal intrusions is to prevent them. Most chimney sweeps recommend installing a chimney cap, surrounded by a sturdy wire cage, to the top of your chimney to block animals’ access to your chimney opening. An even more secure option is a top-sealing chimney damper. 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 your home via your chimney.
If you’re concerned about animal intrusion in your chimney, or if you’re clearing out your chimney after an animal intrusion, 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.