Some animals, such as squirrels and birds, like to make a home in chimneys as they offer protection from predators and provide a nice and warm place to rest. While these animals mean no harm to people, they may construct large nests that block chimney flues and pose a fire and carbon monoxide hazard. The best way to avoid this problem is to keep animals from coming into the chimney in the first place. Homeowners should keep these things in mind to keep animals out of the flue and prevent unwanted blockage.
Install a Chimney Cap
Chimney caps act as a physical barrier that keeps animals from accidentally falling or flying into the flue. These ventilated caps keep critters out while filtering the smoke when the fireplace is in use. Homeowners who plan to install chimney caps should have them checked regularly to ensure that they are firmly in place and free from damage.
Put up a Top-Sealing Damper
While a chimney cap does provide a great deal of protection, smaller birds and animals may penetrate through the wiring around the chimney cap. Some birds, in fact, are so crafty that they will often look for a way through the cap by exploiting the space in cracks or footholds.
This is where the top-sealing damper comes in. This type of damper offers the most secure barrier to animal intrusion, as it forms a tight seal around the top of the chimney. When one keeps the damper shut, the chimney keeps everything out, including birds, debris, water and animals.
Schedule a Chimney Inspection
While caps and dampers are great at keeping critters out, annual chimney sweeping and inspection is also vital to keeping chimneys free of animals and their nests. During a chimney service, chimney sweeps will check the flue for any signs of animal intrusion. They will also check for nests and dead animal bodies stuck inside the chimney and remove them immediately.
Chimney caps, top-sealing dampers and annual chimney inspections can stop animals from nesting in the chimney. Homeowners who suspect that an animal has somehow found its way into their chimney should not smoke the animal out. Instead, they should call a professional to evict the animal safely.