Homeowners are occasionally surprised at the strange things that are found inside their chimney. I shared a story several months ago about a raccoon that had made its way into the home through the chimney because the homeowner didn’t have a chimney cap. Raccoons aren’t the only creatures that make their way into the chimney and possibly into your home. Let’s look at the other types of creatures that may find a temporary home within the walls of your chimney.
A Well-Used Chimney
You may be thinking that if you use your chimney often, it’s safe from occupation by creatures. While it’s true that most animals will avoid smoke, this isn’t entirely true. If the creature has been in the chimney for a while, it may have a nest that protects it from smoke damage. The nest does more than create a safe haven for small animals; it also prevents smoke from leaving the chimney as it should. This process increases creosote buildup in the flue.
A Rarely-Used Chimney
Most homeowners don’t burn a fire at all during the summer months other than maybe an occasional romantic evening at home. Some of the most popular chimney inhabitants include:
These creatures often create nests in which to raise their young. Many bird nests contain eggs or fledglings at various stages during the summer months. Wild animals protect their young with great ferocity and are very dangerous for you to remove on your own.
Don’t ever try to smoke animals out of your chimney. The blockage itself creates a serious health hazard in the chimney. Smoke and gases can’t escape, and may result in the release of carbon monoxide into your home. The chimney may also get too hot and start a fire which would be deadly to the animal and extremely dangerous for your home and your family.
Call a certified chimney sweep if you fear that you have an animal or a nest in your chimney. We are trained to handle these circumstances, and we usually have the number of a wildlife professional readily available. We will develop a solution to the problem with animals in the chimney and help prevent it from happening again.
Crown and Cap
The first lines of defense against creatures entering the chimney from above are the crown and cap. The crown also prevents water from entering and causing water damage. The chimney cap adds another layer of protection against water as well as small animals. Call me if you see signs that there may be an animal living in your chimney, or if you would like to discuss installing a chimney cap on the top of your chimney.