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What Types Of Animals Can Get Into My Chimney?

The arrival of spring brings warmer temperatures, longer days, new growth, and plenty of cute baby animals. Unfortunately, spring is also the season of animal entry into chimneys. In middle Tennessee, there are several different animals seeking solace in chimneys. The following is a guide to chimney animal entry, what kinds of animals we commonly find, and prevention.

Bird Entry

What Types of Animals Can Get Into Your Chimney - Memphis TN - Coopertown ServicesBirds, particularly chimney swifts, love chimneys. The dark, enclosed space of the flue makes an ideal nesting ground for many birds, particularly in areas where housing and development has replaced their natural habitats.

While most birds and their nesting materials can be quickly and easily removed, some are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. The act protects birds like chimney swifts during their nesting period, making it a federal offense for them to be removed. Luckily, most migratory birds have a short nesting period of less than six weeks. After six weeks, we remove the remaining nesting materials.

Animal Entry

Some of the most common animals found in chimneys include bats, squirrels, and raccoons. Raccoons can be particularly dangerous; in addition to carrying disease, they can sometimes make it past the smoke shelf and into your home. Likewise, raccoons claw and gnaw around the chimney in order to create a hole large enough for them to fit through.

How Animals Get In

There are dozens of ways that animals find their ways into the chimney. Holes, gaps, and cracks as small as a few inches might seem insignificant, but in reality can provide enough space for small animals to squeeze through.

One of the most common ways that animals get into the chimney is through a damaged chimney cap. If the chimney cap is damaged or not installed correctly, animals of all sizes can gain entry to the chimney.

Preventing Future Animal Entry

It is important to prevent animals from coming back after their removal. At Coopertown Services, our highly trained staff has more than 30 years of experience safely and humanely removing wildlife. We are licensed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency and are Natural Wildlife Control Operators Association members.

Our technicians take an average of 10-12 hours to inspect, repair, and seal every inch of your chimney. By using metal, steel mesh, and stainless steel screws, we fully secure every inch of your chimney against future animal entry. In fact, we are so confident that we can keep animals out permanently that we offer a renewable 1-year guarantee.

If you come home to the tell-tale sounds – or smells – of an animal in the chimney, don’t delay; call Coopertown Services and allow our trained wildlife experts to safely and humanely remove them. For more information on what kinds of animals you are likely to find in your chimney in middle Tennessee or to schedule your next chimney services, contact us today!

By Christina Robinson on April 16th, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Our Partners: Bishop Hearth & Home

At Coopertown Services, we are proud to join together with several local businesses. All our partners provide our customers with high quality services and products. One of our local partners is Bishop Hearth & Home, who provides high-end, name brand building products and supplies for architects, builders, decorators, and their clients.

About Bishop Hearth & Home

Our Partners Bishop Hearth and Home - Memphis TN - Coopertown ServicesBishop Hearth & Home is a second generation, family owned business that has been serving the Nashville and Memphis areas since 1974. With a commitment to high quality brands and materials and superior customer service, they provide an unmatched experience to their clients. Likewise, their wide variety of materials and products allow them to serve as a one stop shop and showroom. Customers looking for everything from masonry fireplaces to outdoor shutters or custom closets can find everything they need.

Isokern Fireplaces and Chimney Systems

One of the unique products that we are proud to offer our customers are Isokern fireplaces and chimney systems. In the past, homeowners had to choose between customizable masonry fireplaces or easy to install modular units. Isokern fireplaces combine these two properties to give homeowners unprecedented choices when it comes to their new fireplace.

Isokern fireplaces are manufactured in Chesapeake, Virginia with a unique volcanic stone. This material provides immense insulation with lower levels of weight and bulk. Likewise, the building material used in Isokern fireplaces do not expand and contract in heat. This helps it to be a more durable and long-lasting building material.

Customizing Your Isokern Fireplace

Unlike most manufactured systems, Isokern fireplaces can be customized to meet your home’s unique style and heating needs. Isokern units can be installed both indoors and outdoors, allowing homeowners to add warmth to their homes or create a unique outdoor living space. The dual modular refractory chimney system also allows us to install Isokern fireplaces almost anywhere in your home. This zero clearance chimney system minimizes the space required between the chimney and the rest of the home, allowing for broader installation options.

Likewise, Isokern fireplaces are customizable with a variety of building materials. Use brick, stone, tile, and stucco to finish your fireplace and create a unique focal point. By partnering together, Coopertown Services and Bishop Hearth & Home can provide our customers unprecedented service when designing and installing their new Isokern fireplace system.

Why Shop Local

Supporting another local business benefits both our customers and our community. Hiring local keeps dollars in the local economy. In addition, it ensures you are working with someone who understands the unique needs of families in middle Tennessee. Local businesses also help keep our communities vibrant and thriving from generation to generation.

At Coopertown Services, we are proud to partner and work with local businesses such as Bishop Hearth & Home in order to provide our customers with high quality services and products. For more information about Isokern fireplaces or the other products that Bishop Hearth & Home offers, contact us today.

By Christina Robinson on March 27th, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Spring, Birds, And Animal Removal

Spring is a season known for growth, warmer temperatures, new plants, and baby animals. Unfortunately, many nesting mothers view chimneys as they perfect hiding place for their young; this is particularly true of many species of birds who can navigate the small spaces of the chimney system.

Birds in the chimney, along with other small animals such as squirrels or raccoons, should never be ignored. While it might seem like nothing more than a minor annoyance, animals can cause damage to the chimney or expose your family to disease. Because of this, it is important to have animals removed – and the damage they cause repaired – as soon as possible.Spring Birds and Animal Removal Image - Memphis TN - Coopertown Services

How animals get into your chimney

Small mammals and birds can get into chimneys through even the tiniest gaps and holes; raccoons can use their claws and teeth to create large enough spaces for them to fit through. Damaged or missing chimney caps and cracked masonry around the top of the chimney are two of the most common entry points for animals to find their way into the flue.

Birds in the flue

If you wake up one morning to the sounds of scratching, flapping, or chirping coming from your chimney, the natural response is to want the birds out as soon as possible. However, some species of birds are protected and may not be able to be removed.

Chimney swifts are small, migratory birds known for nesting in chimney systems. Swifts and several other species of migratory birds are nationally protected by the Federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act; this act makes it illegal to remove or destroy the nests of migratory birds until hatchlings have left the nest.

Spring animal removal

If you have birds or other animals in your chimney, it is important to call a professional who understands both chimney repairs and wild animal removal. At  Coopertown Services we have more than 35 years of experience removing the wildlife unique to middle Tennessee. We are National Wildlife Control Operators Association members and are licensed by the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency to safely and humanely remove wild animals from your chimney.

While many animals can be removed as soon as they are found in the flue, chimney swifts and other migratory birds must be left alone until their nesting cycle is complete. For most birds, the nesting and hatching process takes around six weeks; once the young hatchlings have left the nest, we can safely remove the nests and begin repairs to the chimney.

Homeowners should never attempt to remove wildlife from the chimney themselves – especially if the animals could be federally protected migratory birds. First, many animals carry diseases; these microbes and bacteria are also present in nesting materials and droppings. Second, attempting to “smoke out” animals can also cause more harm than good. Animals often become disoriented by the smoke and heat from a fire. Dried out nesting materials can ignite and cause a chimney fire as well.

Birds, raccoons, and squirrels may be small, but they can cause serious damage throughout your chimney system. If you suspect the presence of wildlife in your chimney, contact the animal removal experts at Coopertown Services today.

By Christina Robinson on March 13th, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Disposing of Fireplace Ash

Fire safety doesn’t end when the flames go out; it is important for homeowners to learn how to properly remove, store, and dispose of their fireplace ashes. Proper ash disposal can make both your fireplace and your home safer during the fall and winter burning season.Disposing of Fireplace Ash Image - Memphis TN - Coopertown Services

Are ashes dangerous?

Fireplace ashes are often a hassle; shoveling, scooping, and cleaning ashes after a fire can be seen as an additional hassle in the way of enjoying your fireplace. While ashes themselves are more messy than dangerous, they can create pockets around smoldering embers and coals. In fact, wood ashes retain enough heat to ignite other combustible materials for several days.

Disposing of ashes – the wrong way

Many of the most common methods of ash removal and disposal are actually unsafe. The following are just a few of the wrong ways you may be disposing of ashes.

– Vacuuming. Vacuuming ashes, even with a shop vac or a vacuum with a HEPA filter, can cause ash and soot to become airborne. Likewise, smoldering embers sucked up by the vacuum can ignite other materials in the collecting bag or container.
– Putting ashes in combustible containers. Cardboard boxes and paper bags are commonly used to collect ashes straight from the fireplace. However, these combustible containers can catch fire if any embers or coals are in the ashes.
– Putting ashes into trash cans or dumpsters. Ashes should never be transferred directly to a trash can or dumpster. Hot coals or embers can ignite other trash and lead to dumpster fires.

Disposing of ashes – the right way

The following tips can help you safely remove and dispose of fireplace ashes in your home.

– Stir ashes. As a fire dies down, continue to stir the ashes. This helps prevents embers or coals from lying dormant in the ashes by exposing them to outside air.
– Use an ash container. Designate a special ash container; ash containers should be made of metal, sit off the ground, and have a tight-fitting lid and a handle.
– Keep ashes away from other combustibles. Ash containers should be stored away from the fireplace, firewood, or other combustible materials. This helps prevent accidental fires.
– Wait three days before throwing ashes into the trash. Ashes should remain in the ash container for at least three days before putting them into trash cans or dumpsters to prevent fires. However, it is important to check with your waste management company on whether or not ashes can be thrown away with regular trash.

Alternate uses for ashes

There are several ways you can use fireplace ashes around your home.

– Natural deicer. Sprinkle sidewalks and steps with ashes to melt ice and create traction.
– Prevent garden pests. Sprinkle ashes around the borders of flower beds to create a natural barrier against slugs and snails.
– Add alkalinity to the soil. Small amounts of ashes can be added to soil to change its alkalinity.

Properly disposing of fireplace ashes can prevent accidental fires and make using your fireplace safer. For more information on proper ash disposal, contact Coopertown Services today.

By Caroline Shepard on February 28th, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Spotting Masonry Damage

While you may not be a fireplace experts, many homeowners know more about their chimney systems than they realize. Because of this, you may be able to recognize potential problems with the masonry of your fireplace and chimney. The following are three common masonry problems that homeowners may notice about their masonry. If you spot these kinds of masonry damage, it may indicate a larger problem within your fireplace system.

Broken, Chipped, or Cracked Masonry

Spotting Masonry Damage - Memphis TN - Coopertown ServicesSome masonry damage is only seen when up close on the roof. However, large cracks, chips, or sections of missing bricks can often be spotted from the ground and may indicate your chimney is suffering from water damage. Bricks are naturally porous; while this makes them ideal for fireplace construction as gas can pass through them, it also means that water can seep into the bricks over time.

The freeze-thaw process can cause significant damage to the masonry. This process begins when the bricks absord small amounts of water. When the temperatures drop below freezing during the winter, the water expands as it turns to ice. This creates progressively larger cracks and holes, allowing more and more water to be absorbed until significant damage is done to the masonry.

Tuckpointing repairs masonry damage caused by water entry or the freeze-thaw process. During tuckpointing, damaged bricks and mortar are carefully removed and replaced with matching masonry. Likewise, applying a masonry-specific waterproofing product can also help protect your chimney.

Stained or Discolored Masonry

Brown, black, red, white, or even green stains on the side of your chimney affect more than just your home’s curb appeal. The color of the stain or discoloration can give clues as to what kind of chimney issue is occurring. Excessive creosote buildup in the flue causes brown or black stains; an annual chimney sweeping can prevent this kind of staining. Red stains, often with orange or brown, may indicate a metal chimney component is rusting. Red rust stains are most common in manufactured chimneys with metal chimney chase covers.

White staining both inside or outside is caused by efflorescence, or the phenomenon in which evaporating water leaves salt deposits behind. Mold or mildew growth cause green staining, particularly in areas around the chimney that receive little sunlight or have experienced water damage.

Chimney Odors

Don’t just cover up chimney odors with air fresheners or sprays! A variety of different chimney issues cause smells. Excessive creosote buildup causes strong smoky smells, particularly during hot or humid weather. Mold growth causes damp or musty odors; in addition to indicating an underlying chimney leak, mold growth in the chimney can negatively affect your home’s air quality. Sharp rotting smells, especially when accompanied by scratching or scurrying sounds, indicate a trapped or nesting animal in the flue.

While the walls of our chimneys can’t talk, they can help us spot different kinds of masonry damage. For more information about identifying masonry damage or to schedule a chimney inspection, contact Coopertown Services today.

By Christina Robinson on February 12th, 2018 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment