The temperature is beginning to fall as we enter the cold months, meaning the animals will start becoming more active. They’ll be in search of warm, cozy and dark places to build their nests. For many of you homeowners, this sadly means your chimneys will be a common option for several potential pests. However, with the tips we provide below, and sometimes with professional help, you can keep them out of your chimney for good.
Animals and Chimneys
To many animals, chimneys serve as a place to build nests and shelters. They represent a warm place safe from predators and sheltered from the rain. Animals instinctively feel the need to provide a safe and protected place for their offspring. Unfortunately, that chosen place threatens your home.
There are several different kinds of animals that may seek shelter in your chimney. These include:
- Rats, mice and other rodents
If these animals begin building a nest in your chimney, they will create several safety hazards for your home. This could create chimney fires and also block off airflow, which puts you at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Certain animals can be carriers of rabies, parasites or other diseases like plague, hantavirus, leptospirosis and other bacteria and viruses.
A chimney cap, or chase cover, is a metal cover over the top of a chimney chase. The cap is constructed of galvanized metal, allowing it to last from five to fifteen years. Chimney caps are sure to keep animals out of your chimney. The metal housing is made to allow smoke to move out the flue freely while preventing animals from entering in. Along with keeping animals out, chimney caps provide several other benefits for your chimney.
For one, chimney caps provide protection against the potential hazard to the brick and mortar, which is moisture in your chimney, which in turn causes cracking. Additionally, damaged brick can expose your home to certain risks. These risks can include fires, because of the heat that escapes into spaces before reaching the top of the flue.
Chimney caps also reduce airflow issues from situations like windy days that cause drafts. That can leave your fireplace unable to work or chill your home. You need proper airflow for a good fire. Chimney caps can help air go up and out of a flue, instead of building a draft down into it.
They can even fight back against debris from tall trees surrounding your home or windy days that bring in debris. The debris can be leaves, twigs and even trash into your chimney. These can be a hazard from directly increasing the heat on the masonry when you use your fireplace. It may even clog the flue, forcing smoke back into your home.
A damper is a door inside the chimney that opens and closes according to your needs. When you start building a fire, make sure you open the damper to let smoke escape upward instead of outward. To seal your chimney, make sure there’s no fire and the previous one is completely out, then close the damper.
Most dampers today are known as “throat” dampers. This means that they’re located above the fireplace at the top of the chimney, right below the opening. Top-sealing dampers have still become quite popular though. Yes, they can help keep animals from living in your chimney. However, they provide other great benefits to your chimney as well.
You’ll come to find that a top-sealing damper provides great benefits in several unique ways. A top-sealing damper seals the top of the chimney. So, there’s no room for animals to build nests if the damper stays shut. The dampers also can add on an extra layer of protection against water and moisture.
They’re even able to help downdrafts and reduce the risk of fires. In the future, you may need your damper to be repaired. Fortunately, top-sealing dampers are usually a lot easier to reach and work on, in comparison to their throat-mounted counterparts.
Keep in mind that animals are most definitely a threat to all chimneys. Installing a chimney cap or top-sealing damper are two of the best ways to keep them out of your chimney. Hiring a professional chimney service company is also the best defense.
Our team at Ray Arnold Masonry are experts in chimney repair. It only takes one nest to ruin your chimney, so don’t wait until it’s too late. Take action now and contact Ray Arnold Masonry today for exceptional chimney repair services!