Keep Your Chimney Pest-Free
Do you have living or dead animals in your chimney? That’s probably not something you get asked every day, but it’s a question well worth asking, because open chimneys are regularly inhabited by pests that cause serious problems.
The animals commonly found in chimneys are smaller ones like squirrels, raccoons, birds, bats and similar species. They go there to build nests and escape the weather. Among the various critters that might move into your chimney, bats, raccoons and chimney swifts are about the only ones who have the ability to get out once they’ve gotten in. Others, like birds and squirrels, end up dying inside the chimney.
The two main problems with animals in the chimney
1. Parasites. Wild animals often are temporary homes for parasites such as fleas, ticks and mites. Once inside a chimney, there’s nothing to stop these insects from finding their way to the inside of your home. An infestation of these little bugs is no fun, and depending on what diseases they’re carrying, it could be dangerous to the health of humans.
2. Flue obstruction. It doesn’t take long for an ambitious squirrel or bird to build a nest that partially or completely blocks the flow of air between the firebox and the outdoors. When obstructed, a chimney can send harmful smoke and carbon monoxide back down into the home. Additionally, nests and dead animals can catch on fire, which can be all it takes to create a fully developed fire in the chimney.
How to keep pests – and other debris – out of your chimney
Some fireplace users may be reading this and thinking, how can all that stuff get into a chimney when you’ve got a chimney cap? That’s the problem – a lot of fireplaces are operated without a chimney cap, a practice that leads to problems most of the time.
A chimney cap sits atop the opening of the chimney and has a solid cover and mesh sides. The holes in the mesh are just large enough to allow smoke and combustion products to get out, but small enough to prevent animals like we’ve discussed here from getting in. A good cap also prevents the entry of leaves, twigs and other debris. You should never have a working chimney that doesn’t include a quality chimney cap.
The bottom line is: if you have obstructions in your chimney now, have a professional remove them and do a thorough cleaning. If you have no obstructions, have a chimney cap installed.
Chimney Specialists of Highland, Wis., can help with complete chimney cleaning and obstruction removal and also help you choose the right chimney cap for your chimney and perform the installation. Arrange an appointment or get your questions answered at (608) 929-4887. Or visit us at 869 Main St. in Highland.