During the winter season many of our daily routines change. Much of the focus is on staying warm and keeping the home warm and comfortable. Before winter, steps should have been taken to prepare the home so that it can remain comfortable without being a strain on your budget. If you live in an area where there is wildlife, these creatures too will always take steps to get ready for the cold season. Some of their methods may be an inconvenience to you. Others can be downright problematic when it comes to the use of your chimney.
Wildlife in Winter
Just like humans do, animals make every effort to stay warm when the temperature drops. While they can find ways to stay warm, they will still look for other sources. Nearby homes create the easiest opportunities for staying warm. It is common for homeowners to hear noises inside the home only to find that the attic or crawlspace has been infiltrated. You might think that your home is sealed from such intrusion, but an unprotected chimney is practically an invitation.
Clearly, this situation presents a danger to you and your family. Animal droppings can leave unpleasant odors inside the home and there is the risk of disease. You could also be bitten if you try to remove the animal yourself. This can become worse if the creatures start to breed inside your home.
The Effect on the Chimney
In warm months, it is unlikely, although possible, that critters will seek out your chimney or other spaces in the home. However, as soon as they realize that winter is coming, they will prepare by seeking out these spaces for warmth. You might realize that there is a problem until you try to use the chimney. The nesting animal will have created a blockage that will prevent smoke and flue gases from leaving the chimney. Slowing the release of smoke from the chimney can speed up the depositing of creosote, increasing the risk of a chimney fire.
Cold weather can have a physical impact on the chimney structure as well. Moisture inside the mortar will freeze and put stress on the surface. After winter, you may see cracks or flaking that needs to be addressed by a technician. Cap the top of your chimney to keep critters out, and check it occasionally for damage. Before winter, check for any opening that an animal can use to get into your home.
Fireplace Safety and Chimney Inspections in Drexel Hill
We have two CSIA Certified chimney sweeps standing by to assist you with your chimney needs. Give us a call at 610-626-2439 to schedule an appointment for a chimney inspection or cleaning. We provide chimney services throughout the Main Line region.