How to keep animals out of your chimney

Don’t let this guy turn your chimney into his new house! Get a chimney cap installed today from American Chimney & Masonry

Have you ever heard scurrying and scratching sounds or birds tweeting coming from your fireplace? Chances are very likely you have animals (birds, squirrels, or raccoons, most commonly) or birds taking up residence in your chimney. Keeping these animals and birds out of your chimney is actually a simple task with the right chimney cap. Not only do these animals bring mites, fleas, and other parasites into your home, but they also cause some hazardous problems with your fireplace. American Chimney & Masonry in Portland knows the best way of preventing animals and birds from entering your chimney, and our certified technicians are experienced with protecting your home from becoming a hibernation spot for these birds and animals. We’d like to answer a few commonly asked questions we have gotten over the years about keeping these pests out of your chimney.

WHAT IS THE BEST WAY OF KEEPING ANIMALS AND BIRDS OUT OF MY CHIMNEY?

As recommended by The Humane Society of the United States, a stainless steel chimney cap with wire mesh is the best possible solution to keep these visitors from entering your chimney. You will want to want to be sure the mesh is small enough to keep birds, bats, and squirrels from getting stuck in the mesh, yet large enough to allow the by-products of combustion to escape from your chimney. Another plus to a chimney cap is its ability to prevent water penetration as well. Available in different styles and metals, a chimney cap can give you peace of mind and protection. At American Chimney & Masonry, we offer professional installation of chimney caps, and our experienced technicians take care to ensure the cap correctly fits on top of your chimney.

WHAT IF AN ANIMAL IS TRAPPED INSIDE MY CHIMNEY? CAN IT ENTER MY HOME?

If your damper is properly working and is closed, it should keep any animal or bird from coming in through the fireplace. However, if you have a damaged damper, American Chimney & Masonry can install a top-mount damper that also acts as a chimney cap. Placed at the top of your flue, you can open and close this damper with an easy-to-reach handle at the side of the firebox. With a top-mount damper, you must be vigilant about checking to see if it is open before starting a fire because when closed, it seals your chimney shut as a chimney cap would do. However, there is no venting as with a traditional cap, so starting a fire with the top-mount damper closed can trap toxic smoke and gases in your home.

WHAT IS ANOTHER METHOD OF KEEPING ANIMALS OUT?

Although a chimney cap is your main defense against birds entering your chimney, you can find ultrasonic devices in hardware stores and online that will scare away the birds; however, please remember that these devices are not a substitute for chimney caps.

WHAT DO I DO IF A BIRD OR ANIMAL IS STUCK IN MY CHIMNEY?

You should never attempt to trap and retrieve the animal yourself; nor should you try to smoke the animal out. The Humane Society of the United States strongly recommends you contact a professional animal removal service to evict the animal safely. Also, certain species of birds, such as chimney swifts, are protected by laws, so they cannot be removed from their nest. Animals often die when stuck in a chimney, which causes a horrible odor. Again, the professionals should be called in as they will know how to extract the dead animal as well as how to properly dispose it.

If you have more questions on how to keep animals and birds out of your chimney, contact American Chimney & Masonry today. Our experienced staff is ready to tell you more about how chimney caps can protect you from sharing your home with these critters.

Our Portland Service Area

Located right here in Portland, Oregon, our chimney sweep technicians provide the best in chimney cleaning, fireplace installation and dryer vent care in the Greater Portland-Metro area. From North Portland down to Tualatin and Oregon City in the south, from Pleasant Valley in the east to Beaverton and Sherwood in the west – when it comes to your chimney, fireplace and vents, we hope you’ll call American Chimney & Masonry!

Ready To Make An Appointment?

To schedule an appointment with one of our expert technicians, please call 503-644-0393 or fill out our online scheduling form. With over 19,000 satisfied customers since 1989, we are ready for more! We look forward to visiting with you soon about your fireplace and chimney sweep needs.