Punxsutawney Phil declared this past February, that we’ll all have an early spring. For folks here in northern Louisiana, spring means warmer weather and the return of lots of cute furry critters. However, If your chimney system is damaged or exposed to the elements, it can invite animals into your chimney and into your home, and lead to extensive damage and necessary repairs. What types of animals can make it into your chimney? Anything that can scurry, climb, or fly onto your roof can!

hand holding chimney swiftThe Most Common Chimney Intruders

When you detect an animal in your chimney system, you should call a professional who can remove it humanely and clean up after it properly. Never attempt to smoke out an animal. It is likely that it won’t safely escape and will die. Then you’ll not only have an animal problem but a carcass problem.

Chimney Swifts

Many homeowners aren’t familiar with the chimney swift, a bird that migrates through North America each spring and would historically nest in hollow trees. As the trees went down and houses went up, the birds sought other places to nest and what better place than the chimney! Sadly, due to the loss of their habitats, chimney swifts are a federally protected migratory bird and it’s illegal to harm or move them while they’re nesting. This can mean big problems for your chimney if they get in before you’re done with the fireplace for the season. Many homeowners merely let them stay, but you cannot light a fire once they’ve arrived and it’s imperative that they’re cleaned up after once they leave. According to the Humane Society, these tiny birds make tiny, cone-shaped nests on the sides of the flue. They are not flammable, but they will slow airflow through the flue and cause a substantial drop in efficiency if not removed. Many homeowners allow chimney swifts to nest in their chimneys and clean their nests away once they’re gone. Others prevent them by having their chimneys capped properly, and still, others construct chimney swift towers to aid in the preservation of these birds.

Critters, Big and Small

Small critters that you try to keep out of your home completely, like mice and rats, can gain entry in by way of the chimney—unless prevented. Even creatures as big as raccoons will climb into an uncapped chimney, but smaller critters will get in by a damaged one. Though many of these animals can climb in and out of your chimney unscathed, and often do, their claws and teeth will often damage the liner. They leave droppings in the chimney system along with nesting materials, their young, and sometimes even their own carcasses. Once animals are discovered in the chimney system, they should be removed humanely, and then the chimney should be cleaned of any materials left behind.

Wasps and Bees

When a chimney isn’t in use during the spring, there can often be another intruder that can be a headache and even a health hazard (especially for those with allergies). These are not in some trees in the yard or the outside eaves of the house. They’re in the house! Putting any type of spray in the chimney to kill or remove them can be a fire hazard and a safety hazard. If there are wasps and bees present in your chimney, it’s time to call in a professional. If there are other insects, like mosquitos, in the chimney, this is not only a big headache for those living in the house, but it also means there is likely a chimney leak!

Protecting Your Chimney From the Top Down

In order to prevent animals from entering the chimney, it must be properly secured with a chimney cap. The professionals at New Buck Chimney Services sell and installs chimney caps that are designed and constructed of quality materials. A good chimney cap that is installed correctly will be equipped with a metal mesh that keeps small animals and birds from getting in, as well as a metal roof that keeps water out. This is secured to the flue so that time and weather don’t dislodge or damage it. A chimney cap not only keeps animals out but also keeps precipitation from getting in whether it’s spring rain or winter sleet. Additionally, the chimney cap prevents accidental fires on the roof and yard below because it suppresses sparks and sends them back into the fire instead of allowing them to escape and wreak havoc.

Chimney Services in and Around Shreveport

Whether your chimney problem is an animal problem or the chimney just needs a routine service, we can help. Residents of Shreveport and in the border cities of Louisiana, Texas, and Arkansas including Frierson, Benton, Blanchard, Bossier City, Greenwood, Haughton, Keithville, Mansfield, Minden, Natchitoches, and Marshall depend on New Buck.

For chimney sweeps, inspections, repairs, and more call New Buck 318-674-2825 or schedule online.