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.