Depending on where you live, your chimney might have been affected by bad weather this summer, maybe high humidity, or maybe wild animals. If you’ve had animals in your chimney this summer, it’s important to call a professional now. Even an animal that leaves on its own can cause damage and debris in the system, but a chimney professional can help you determine if there is a reason for concern this fall and winter.
Animals in the Chimney
Any animal that can get to your roof can also get into your chimney. Small animals such as chipmunks and squirrels have been known to find their way into an open flue, and even larger ones like raccoons and opossums! Birds are also common culprits. Animals big or small are a nuisance when allowed into the chimney system. Some may suffocate and die in the system, causing foul odors. Others, certain birds, for instance, are protected under federal law and cannot be removed or harmed. Chimney swifts commonly nest in chimneys across the continental U.S. and cannot be removed until their natural nesting period is over. This can take up to 90 days in the spring, and leave mud and other nesting materials on the interior walls of your flue.
Chimney Sweeps Clean the Mess
Even when animals leave the chimney on their own, they leave behind a mess that can affect the safety of your system. Birds leave nesting materials, feathers, droppings, and sometimes carcasses. Mammals leave fur, droppings, urine, and other materials that may lead to odors and a drop in chimney efficiency. Besides the mess left behind, animals may also damage the system as they leave.
Chimney Inspections After Animal Intrusion
In order to ensure your system is still in proper working order, it’s important to schedule a chimney inspection if you know an animal has been in your system. As the animal leaves, it may claw the flue liner on its way out, leading to depressions in the liner that can collect creosote and soot buildup and eventual deterioration. A chimney inspection will determine the extent of the damage and also the cause of the animal intrusion in the first place. When all the chimney parts are in place, animals should not be able to gain access to the system.
Chimney Caps Keep Animals Out
When you have had an animal in your chimney system and call on a certified chimney sweep, your technician will first set out to determine the point of entry. This is most often the chimney cap. A faulty or missing chimney cap will allow animals in, along with water and weather. The fact is that many homeowners still consider caps as nonessential. This is a horrible mistake. Your chimney cap prevents water from falling directly into your chimney flue and damaging your entire system. The cap also keeps animals out, prevents wind gusts from affecting your fire, and actually prevents sparks and fire from escaping the chimney. In short, Chesapeake Chimney & Co. recommends every chimney have a cap on it. This keeps your system working properly and keeps it lasting as long as it should.
If you have had an animal in your flue this summer, it’s important to call the professionals. Call our team at 410-535-0052 and schedule services now to ensure your chimney is ready for a fire this fall.