Ever wonder where those chirping and tapping noises have been coming from? There is one commonplace wildlife that tends to invade as temperatures are dropping and staying dry from the rain, your chimney. How strange that these animals want to live there.
In the south, fall and winter hardly get below twenty-five degrees. When the weather drops low, there are a few common creatures that take shelter in chimneys. Raccoons, birds, bats, and squirrels all will look for dark places to hide at any given time day or night. Chimneys provide warmth, dry atmosphere, and are not used year-round allowing critters to establish ‘residency’.
Hazards/Problems with Animals Being in a Chimney
Taking shelter in the chimney can be ideal for some critters while others are trapped. Animals tend to cause issues for homeowners such as being noisy and messy by leaving behind droppings and scraps of food. They can clog your chimney with chosen nesting materials, preventing smoke from escaping and causing a fire. Blockages can raise the risks of carbon monoxide buildup inside the home. There is a higher risk of the animal finding its way into your home. Animals do not bathe like humans causing an odor and their droppings are just as bad. The smell can become worse if the animal becomes trapped and dies inside. Animals carry diseases on their fur and in their droppings. These contaminated droppings can sicken a family. These animals are most active at night which can be a nuisance for homeowners.
Animals of any kind are to be removed by a professional. There are many threats these animals can cause to someone who does not know what they are doing. These creatures can be easily scared in places where they will become stuck and die. If there is an animal carcass, it is best to have it removed professionally as there are potential health hazards.
- For warmth and protection, birds will build their nests inside chimneys. The Chimney swift, a smaller species, tend to build their nests on the flue lines while larger species will build their nests on the damper or smoke shelf. With the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, it is against the law to remove nesting birds. You will have to wait for the brood, or young birds, to leave. If there are reasons you cannot wait for the broods to leave then it is best to seek out local wildlife officers/services. This must be done before a professional can clean your chimney and install a heavy-duty stainless steel chimney cap.
- Nocturnal and known for their aggressive attitudes, raccoons are hard to remove from chimneys. One bite can cause rabies, and possibly roundworms. These critters, in particular, need to be removed by a professional only. Black steel and aluminum are no match for these critters as they are able to breakthrough. The best solution to keep them locked out is to install a heavy-duty stainless steel chimney cover.
- Excellent for warmth and shelter, bats will look hard for places like a chimney. Another animal that carries rabies, it is best to have removed by a professional. Though it is hard to keep them out due they are able to fit through bird screens or open mortar joints in the brickwork. The installation of a damper and chimney cap can help prevent bats from getting into the home.
- Squirrels are notorious for building their nests in chimneys and tend to make them extremely tight. These normally will block the ventilation of the chimney flue causing a chimney fire. Squirrels are known for climbing through the dampers entering the home. The best way to prevent their entry is to have a professional install a heavy stainless steel chimney cover.