Chimney Blog January 2019

How to Prevent Small Animals from Invading Your Chimney

Posted On: January 21, 2019

How to Prevent Small Animals from Invading Your Chimney

Your fireplace creates a wonderfully warm and cozy environment during the cold months and allows you to save money on your gas bill. This warmth is also inviting to the small animals that live outside. It draws them to your chimney, and after your fire has finished burning they are likely to crawl inside. You want to keep these animals out and prevent them from making your chimney their new home, but how?

Clean Chimney

One way to prevent your chimney from becoming the home to small animals is to have it cleaned in the spring, after the last of the cold is gone and you don't need to use it until the next winter.  Cleaning out the debris gives animals nothing to use to create a new home.

Shut Flue After Each Use

The lingering warmth from your now extinguished fire is very inviting to cold birds and rodents in the winter.  An open flue gives them access to get into your chimney and hunker down for the night.  The next time you go to light a fire, any nesting material that might be in your chimney becomes a dangerous fire hazard.  Be sure to close your flue after every fire you light.

Chimney Cap

Possibly one of the best ways to keep small birds and other animals out of your chimney is by investing in a chimney cap.  A chimney cap is just that - a cover that goes over the opening of your chimney.  It is made of either stainless steel, galvanized steel, copper or aluminum.  The top is solid and raised up slightly above the opening.  The sides are mesh, with small holes to keep even small critters out.

Keeping small animals out of your chimney is important to the safety of both the creatures and your home.  By keeping your chimney clean and the opening sealed off, you can prevent these small animals from getting in and causing any damage.

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Animal Nests In Your Chimney?

Posted On: January 14, 2019

Why You Should Check Your Chimney for Animal Nests and How

Well winter is here and with it we begin to stoke up the fireplace. Yes, nothing is better than coming home from a hard day at work and relaxing next to the fire. Of course, we’re sure you have done your due diligence before the first lighting of the fire. You’ve checked the damper and flue, you’ve cleaned out the firebox and you’ve been checking the chimney through the year to ensure the chimney itself is solid. If you haven’t, you should do it before your first fire.

So What about Nests?

If your chimney has a cap and an animal guard you’re probably fine. Hopefully you’ve checked your cap’s condition. They can rust you know and after all, they are exposed to all of the weather hazards.

If you don’t have a chimney cap you most definitely should check for animal nests. You may not realize it but birds aren’t the only wildlife that can make a nest in your chimney. Raccoons and squirrels can set up housekeeping too. And if there is a nest in your chimney it could cause a fire, not in your fireplace, but in your chimney. That’s in addition to the danger of having an animal living in your chimney that could easily make its way into your house. But don’t worry, there are ways to check that aren’t at all dangerous and that you can easily do yourself.

How Do I Check for Nests?

First do a visual inspection around the top of your chimney. If there is no cap, do you see anything besides the top of your chimney? Have you noticed birds hanging out on the roof? If not, that’s one down. Now you should go inside and open the damper. Arm yourself with a flashlight and be prepared to get down on the floor.

Shine the flashlight around the firebox to see if you notice anything that doesn’t look like it belongs, like twigs or other typical nest-building items. If you don’t see any shine your flashlight up your chimney. You should be able to see the sky. If you can’t, there is a blockage and it’s time to call a professional. Whatever you do, don’t light a fire until you’ve had the chimney inspected.


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Starting The Year Off Right - Chimney Information

Posted On: January 06, 2019

Most people don’t think about it, but your chimney takes a beating in the winter. It gives the impression that it is so strong and can withstand anything while providing you with the ability to enjoy your fireplace when the winter winds come swirling around your house. But you must remember that your chimney is made of the same substance as other parts of your house. Just as you wouldn’t let your foundation crumble, you also don’t want to watch your chimney crumble.

Your chimney and all of its parts are made of brick, mortar, concrete, steel and cast iron. All of these substances are exposed to, and affected by, the weather. Freeze and thaw conditions cause the mortar and cement in your chimney to expand and contract and can cause gaps and holes much as they do the city sidewalks.

When these gaps appear, small though they might be, they allow moisture to enter your chimney. The moisture can further deteriorate the mortar and can enter the inside of your chimney as well. When water seeps into the mortar, not only does it cause it to crumble, but it can degrade the bricks as well. Once it seeps through and works its way inside your chimney, the metal and iron then become vulnerable. If you don’t take care of these issues you can find yourself with a host of other problems.

When moisture gets into your chimney it can cause deterioration of your firebox and can clog the clean-out area. You could find yourself with a damper that begins to rust and if it isn’t taken care of, it could very well ruin next year’s winter by the fire. You could also develop cracks in the flue lining which will cause more damage to your chimney. A badly damaged chimney can start to tilt or lean and that is not only dangerous, but ruins the whole look of your house.

A good idea is to start the year out right. Have a professional give your chimney a good once over. They can spot and fix problems before they cause you to need a major overhaul.

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