Some people think that having birds, as pets, is a good idea. Others think that birds should not live in the same living quarters as humans. Despite both sides, there are some major risks that come with being around birds. Birds are notorious for carrying diseases in their droppings or even themselves.

Birds can carry many diseases, such as psittacosis and cryptococcosis. Psittacosis is an uncommon infectious disease that is often transmitted to humans from being exposed to infected birds. This disease affects the lungs while it may cause pneumonia. Additional symptoms include fever, muscle pain (myalgia), headaches, and a dry cough. Psittacosis is an infection with the bacterium, Chlamydia Psittaci, known as Ornithosis. It is rare among humans. Bird pet owners are the most likely to be affected by psittacosis. Symptoms typically start showing between five to fifteen days; symptoms will either come on abruptly or gradually. These symptoms tend to be taken as other conditions. To protect yourself from catching the disease, it is best to wear a mask and gloves to protect your hands and breathing.

Cryptococcosis is a fungal infection that is caused by inhaling the Cryptococcus Neoformans fungus. This fungus is normally found in soils enriched with pigeon droppings. It typically only affects those with a weakened immune system, particularly those who have advanced HIV/AIDS. Common symptoms based on the location:


  • cough
  • shortness of breath
  • chest pain
  • fever
  • possible skin lesions


  • headache
  • fever
  • neck pain
  • nausea & vomiting
  • sensitivity to light
  • confusion or changes in behavior

Besides the symptoms, there are more risks in those who have weakened immune systems, especially those that have advanced HIV/AIDS. Those that have received an organ transplant or taking medications for rheumatoid arthritis are at risk of catching the disease. It is difficult to avoid breathing in the bacteria because it is common in the environment. There is a small window of time for treatment before the symptoms set in. Most of the inhaling can be brought on by burning wood in the fireplace that has not been cleaned yet.

As homeowners, chimneys that are attached to the home are susceptible to housing chimney swifts. The chimney swifts will nest in the chimney flue where they will release droppings into your fireplace. Their droppings are the main source of catching these diseases. Scheduling your next chimney sweep will lower the risks of catching both diseases.

chimney cap

Caps, Covers, & Damper Repairs

Living in the south, mainly along the Gulf Coast, then you know there are lost of rain storms. Actually, we get more rain than anywhere else in the country, including Seattle. The ranking of the most amount of rainfall goes as follows: Mobile, Pensacola, and Seattle in 41st.

This region has such a big deal about rain when it comes to chimneys and fireplaces. As the Chimney Safety Institute of America explains, “water, not fire, causes most chimney damage.”

“Whether masonry or factory-built,” says the CSIA, “prolonged water exposure can result in cracks or gaps in chimneys where creosote can collect and increase the risk of fire or where noxious gases can escape into your home and expose your family to carbon monoxide.”

Fireplaces, Chimneys and Leaks

In basic terms the problem with fireplace and chimney leakage is that water combines with the creosote that remains from fires to form an acidic mixture. Over time that mixture can eat out the silica in the mortar joints.
Once the joints are no longer secure, moisture — remember all that Gulf Coast rain — can get into the house through the chimney. For example, if water comes in through the chimney and is released under the shingles it can lead to the need for a roof replacement.

Also, without proper sealing, heat from fires can travel into areas which should not be exposed to heat, dry out wood, and in some cases actually cause the wood to catch on fire.

In fact, according to a staff report by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are about 22,000 fires a year which are associated with fireplaces, chimneys and chimney connectors. Such fires can cause substantial damage and in some cases may lead to fatalities.

Also, without caps it does happen that birds and animals get into fireplaces. Sometimes nests are built and in some cases animals unable to get out die inside chimneys and fireplaces. Noises and odors can result from such problems.

Caps, Covers and Dampers

You can protect your household with caps, covers and dampers. Caps with spark arresters are devices that go over the flue. They keep out both moisture and animals, plus they help prevent sparks from leaving the chimney. Covers are at the top of the chimney, go around the flue, and protect against moisture. Dampers are inside the chimney itself. They can help create a proper draft to achieve the best fire, plus when closed they prevent animals from getting into the house.

Cap, Cover and Damper Services

We can install, repair and maintain caps, covers and dampers. We inspect such devices as part of our basic chimney sweep services. We have many devices in stock and can recommend the equipment which is right for your fireplace and chimney, whether it is masonry or metal, new or historic.

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