Is Your Chimney Welcoming Unwanted Visitors?
When most homeowners think about their chimney, the thought of animals nesting in the flue doesn’t readily come to mind. It’s a common problem that can occur at any time of year. The sounds of scratching, gnawing, and chirping in the evening or early in the morning are often the first signs that an animal intruder may be building a home inside the chimney.
So how do animals get inside the chimney in the first place? Small animals like raccoons, rats, and squirrels, for example, climb their way up the chimney. With their sharp teeth and claws, it’s no different than climbing a tree. Also, small birds and even bats often rest perched in a tree. If your chimney happens to be nearby, they may fly in for the night out of the reach of predators.
Unfortunately, climbing out isn’t always as easy as getting in. Birds and bats can become disoriented and injure themselves trying to fly out of the narrow flue. Many small animals become trapped inside the vent and are unable to escape. The foul odors can give your home an unpleasant smell.
Also, if you happen to leave the damper open, these small critters can find their way into your home, where they can also attract pests. You could have an animal and pest infestation before you realize it.
How to safely remove animals from the chimney
If you suspect that there may be live animals nesting in the chimney, don’t light the fireplace to smoke them out. It is also not recommended that you try to trap them yourself. These animals could be a carrier for bacteria and disease. Its sharp claws and teeth can scratch or bite, putting you at risk. Instead, contact your local chimney professional. They will safely and humanely remove them from your chimney. The animals will be released away from your property, where they will no longer be a nuisance to your chimney. After the animals are safely evicted, your chimney sweep can clean the chimney, install a chimney cap, and repair any damages that those unwanted visitors may have caused.
Install a chimney cap to keep animals out
Installing a chimney cap with a mesh screen can help keep small animals and pests out of the flue. A chimney cap also helps protect against moisture intrusion. A spark arrestor is another feature that can prevent hot embers from flying on to the roof, where it can ignite a fire. They are available in a variety of aesthetically pleasing styles and make an attractive addition to your chimney.
Inspect the chimney cap every year
Inspect your chimney cap at least once per year, preferably during your annual professional chimney inspection. A damaged or missing cap is like an open window for wildlife to crawl inside, make a mess, and even cause damage.