As the weather outside becomes colder and colder, most people gravitate towards their home’s warm interiors as a way to ward off the winter chill. Unfortunately, animals feel the same way; during the winter, animals are more likely to seek shelter from the weather outside in your chimney structure.
To many birds and mammals, a chimney presents itself as a warm, sheltered, and safe place to escape the winter weather. However, getting stuck in the chimney can be extremely dangerous to animals – as well as extremely damaging to your chimney.
How do animals get in?
The most common way that animas get into a chimney is if the chimney is uncapped. Uncapped chimneys have nothing to protect the entrance to the flue; this can allow animals – and the elements – to easily get into the chimney structure.
Damaged chimney caps are also more susceptible to animals getting in. Holes, dents, missing screws, or damaged mesh can all create spaces for small animals to get into; likewise, larger mammals like raccoons are often sometimes able to claw or bite weak areas on the chimney cap to create a hole large enough for them to crawl through.
How do animals damage my chimney?
Even tiny animals can create big problems for your chimney system. First, animals can cause or worsen damage to the chimney cap when they attempt to get it. This leaves your chimney system vulnerable to water and debris, as well as other animals entering in the future. Next, the sharp claws and talons of small birds and animals can scratch and chip the slippery chimney tiles in the flue. Damage to the tiles of the chimney liner can expose the surrounding building materials to heat from the fire and may require the chimney to be relined. Animals can also carry in bacteria and bugs; their presence in the chimney can expose your family to disease or affect the air quality in your home.
Unfortunately, many animals that find their way into the chimney cannot get back out, becoming disoriented and distressed in the tight, dark environment. If this occurs, you should never attempt to “smoke out” an animal. Trapped animals – especially any babies present in nests – are often killed before they are able to escape. Likewise, this can also cause debris and nesting materials in the chimney to ignite and create a chimney fire. Instead, use noise to attempt to draw the animals out or call a wildlife removal group.
How do I keep animals out?
The best way to keep animals out of the chimney structure is to have a well-fitting, quality chimney cap installed. Likewise, regular yearly chimney inspections can help ensure that the chimney cap remains in good condition and there are no areas of damage that may allow animals to find their way in.
While they may view it as a safe haven from winter weather, animals can cause serious damage to your chimney structure. If you think you have animals in your chimney – or simply want to make sure they stay out – contact Coopertown Services today at 901-358-7777!