Whether it’s flapping, scratching, climbing, or babies calling for their mother, hearing the sounds of animals inside your chimney can be an unsettling experience. Because they are safely protected from the elements, chimneys present an ideal hiding place or nesting ground for many birds and small mammals, especially in the spring time.
Unfortunately, the presence of animals in your chimney is dangerous for the animals and harmful to your family’s health and safety. Because of this, we recommend calling a chimney sweep or animal removal company as soon as you hear a noise in your chimney.
How do animals get into my chimney?
Animals, especially those seeking shelter from rain, cold temperatures, or predators, are extremely adept at finding their way into chimney structures. The primary way most animals get into your chimney structure is through a damaged or missing chimney cap. Some animals, like raccoons, will even claw or bite damaged portions of the chimney cap until they create a large enough hole for their entry.
A chimney cap protects the top of your chimney from not only animal entry, but also from moisture or other debris from getting into the flue. A top sealing damper works in the same way as a chimney cap as long as it is closed whenever the chimney is not in use.
What are the dangers of animals in my chimney?
If the top of the flue is unprotected, animals can easily enter the chimney structure to nest or seek shelter. Unfortunately, many animals cannot get out once they get in. Being in the dark of the narrow flue can be extremely disorienting, causing them to scratch – and therefore damage – the flue liner. In addition, nesting materials or animal droppings can create both strong odors and fire hazards. This debris may partially block the flue, prevent smoke and gas from properly exiting the chimney, or ignite when dried from stray sparks or embers.
Why should I have animals professionally removed?
Some intrepid homeowners may attempt to remove animals from their chimneys themselves. Unfortunately, this can be dangerous for you, your home, and the animals. First, homeowners should never attempt to “smoke out” animals in their chimneys, as the heat and gas from the fire will kill animals before they are able to exit the chimney. In addition, opening the damper to force animals into the firebox only serves as a way to expose you and your family to diseases carried by wild animals – or get a bird, raccoon, or squirrel trapped in your home.
When animals are alive and trapped in the chimney, removing a small portion of the masonry may be necessary to get them out. In order to prevent serious structural damage to the chimney structure, this should only be done by a professional. At Jack Pixley Sweeps, we have perfected a method of animal removal that only requires the removal of four bricks; once the animals are gone, we can easily repair the chimney damage and find ways to prevent the animals from coming back.
Contact Jack Pixley Sweeps at the first signs of animal entry to minimize damage to your chimney system!