As temperatures drop, animals begin to look for warm, dry places to seek shelter. All too often, chimneys seem like the perfect, inviting atmosphere: They’re dry, warm and uninterrupted, as long as the fireplace isn’t yet in use. For nocturnal animals, the chimney provides a nice, dark place to nap during the day.

The Problem of Animals Being in a Chimney

While sheltering inside a chimney might be an ideal situation for some animals, for others it can be a death trap. They get in and they can’t get back out. And for homeowners, animals in chimneys can cause some serious problems. They can be noisy and messy, leaving behind droppings and food scraps. Animals who intentionally nest in the chimney can clog your chimney with nesting material, preventing smoke from getting out and creating a fire hazard. Animals who enter your chimney by accident and become trapped can die and fill your home with a putrid smell. Any animal who manages to make their way into your chimney might even be able to find a way into your home through the fireplace opening.

Signs an Animal in is Your Chimney

If you’re hearing bird chirps, scampering, clawing feet or fluttering wings in your chimney, it’s likely an animal has found its way in. If so, you will need to hire a professional to safely remove the animal. You’ll also want to find a way to prevent animals from entering your chimney again. The answer to keeping them out seems obvious. You need to block your chimney opening so animals can’t get in. A Chimney Cap will help keep animals out, while still maintaining the function of your chimney. A chimney cap outfitted with a surrounding cage keeps animals from being able to approach your flue.

The Problems Animals Cause To Your Chimney

For homeowners, animals in the chimney pose several major problems, including:

  • Odors. Animals and their droppings can introduce unpleasant odors to the chimney and the home. Smells can be particularly bad if an animal or bird becomes trapped and dies within the chimney.
  • Blockages. Animals and their nests can obstruct chimneys. That prevents smoke from rising out of the chimney, which poses a major risk for chimney fires or carbon monoxide buildup within the home. At the very least, a blocked chimney will send smoke flowing back into your home when you light a fire.
  • Diseases. Animals and their droppings can introduce fleas and disease into your home. An animal infestation in your chimney can sicken your family.
  • Damage. Animals within a chimney can cause damage. They can scratch chimney liners and damage the damper within your chimney throat.
  • Noises. Animals and birds within a chimney can cause a lot of noise within your chimney. It can serve as a nuisance, especially at night when chimney-dwelling animals are more likely to be active.
  • Inconvenience. An animal or bird in your chimney must be professionally removed. While you wait for your animal to be removed and your chimney to be inspected to ensure no damage was done, you won’t be able to use your chimney.

Protect Your Chimney From Animals

If an animal has gotten into your chimney, first you will need to have it removed. Next, you will need to have your chimney swept and inspected to ensure that all traces of the animal have been removed and that there is no permanent chimney damage. Finally, top your chimney with a new cap or top-sealing damper to keep animals from entering your chimney again. At SootMaster Chimney Sweep, we install high-quality chimney caps that will keep the critters out of your chimney! Call us today to have your chimney cap inspected or to talk to us about replacing your inadequate chimney cap.

If you need help cleaning up after an animal intrusion or topping your chimney to keep animals out, give your local SootMaster a call today!