Keep Your Chimney Pest-Free
Adding a quality chimney cap to your chimney is a very smart move. Without a cap in place, chimneys are subject to all manner of obstructions, which will cause drafting issues and could initiate or intensify a chimney fire. In addition, depending on the kind of obstruction, there could be a health hazard for you and your family.
Animals in the chimney
A common cause of obstructions in chimneys that don’t have chimney caps is small animals. Based on where you live, you might find squirrels, birds, raccoons, bats or chimney swifts (small birds that cling to the walls of chimneys) making homes in your chimney. This often happens during warmer weather when the fireplace isn’t being used. Then come the fall, and the chimney could have a serious obstruction.
Anything that impedes the flow of smoke from the firebox to the air outside the home is a problem. A faulty draft can send both smoke and dangerous carbon monoxide into the living areas of the home. You can see smoke and know right away there’s an issue. But you can’t see carbon monoxide, which is an invisible, odorless poison gas.
Animal nests pose further danger because they’re highly flammable. Along with the smoke byproduct creosote, which clings to the inner walls of the chimney, nest material can ignite and start a chimney fire. Some chimney fires start and go out on their own – but some level of damage is always done. Other fires can spread to other parts of the house and result in a real catastrophe.
Some animals will die in your chimney, adding to the obstruction and fire-hazard problem. Raccoons, bats and chimney swifts are all capable of getting out of a chimney, while squirrels and most birds are not. When these animals die, they create a permanent obstruction until you do something about it.
Additionally, many small animals carry parasites such as fleas, ticks and mites – all of which can end up inside your home. Once inside and undetected, these little creatures can wind up becoming a serious and potentially dangerous infestation, requiring considerable time, effort and expense to eradicate.
What to do about animals in your chimney
If you’ve already got animals and their nests in your chimney, installing a chimney cap won’t solve the immediate problem. Your first step is to bring out a certified chimney sweep to inspect your chimney and then clean it. Only a professional can guarantee an animal-free chimney, because these technicians have special tools and training to make sure every inch of the chimney is clear and clean.
The next step is to have the technician install a good-quality chimney cap. These devices have wire mesh on the sides, which lets out smoke and keeps animals – and debris like leaves and twigs – from getting in. The stainless steel or copper top of the cap prevents rain water from getting into the chimney.
Chimney Solutions of Alpharetta, Ga., performs thorough inspections, cleaning and repairs of all types of chimneys and fireplaces. We can get your chimney clean and safe and then keep it that way by installing a new chimney cap. To schedule an appointment with a certified technician, or to get your questions answered, call us at (770) 691-6707.