Do You Need An Animal Removed From Your Chimney
Here at Allstar Chimney Sweeps, we have taken a lot of time to perfect the skill of humane animal removal. As you may have heard, we are animal lovers here, and treating animals right is one of our top priorities. Having an animal in your chimney can be very problematic and dangerous for you as well as the animal. Here are a few of the most common animals that we remove, as well as the risks they cause.
Chimneys make a great shelter for many types of wildlife, with bats being a major character. Bats naturally seek out dark and sheltered places so they can be protected from the elements, and chimneys provide the perfect dark and enclosed conditions. Bats carry more than 60 different human-infecting viruses, with one of the most prominent ones being Rabies. They also carry various bacteria that can make it in the air and have serious effects on you and your family.
Similar to bats, birds cause all sorts of issues both to health and home. Both bats and birds carry histoplasmosis, which is a respiratory disease that is mainly transmitted in bird and bat droppings. Histoplasmosis can be severe, with symptoms being fever, chills, headache, aches, and more. You can read full effects here. On top of the disease, bird nests cause a significant fire risk by creating combustible material in the flue and potentially blocking the flue completely. This obviously puts the birds at risk as well as you and your family, so it is best handled by a professional. Chimney Swifts are a case of their own, as they are federally protected migratory birds. We cannot determine a course of action without coming to see the birds and make a call in person.
Squirrels, Racoons, and Possums
Every now and then, these animals will get into a chimney, either accidentally or on purpose. This is much less common than Birds but still fairly regular. Squirrels are still rodents and carry diseases, but the nests they build also cause the risk of chimney blockage and smoke issues. There is also a significant risk of the squirrel dying in the chimney as the flue tiles may be too slick for it to climb back out. Raccoons and Possums will occasionally go into a chimney to raise babies as a chimney provides a perfect environment for protection against predators and the natural elements. Removing any of these animals is extremely dangerous to someone with no training.
Can I remove these myself?
Just because you can do something doesn’t always mean you should. As mentioned above, animals carry all sorts of diseases and they can be transmitted in a variety of ways. Bats, possums, raccoons, and squirrels all carry Rabies, and it is best to avoid handling them without the proper protection and training. Handling birds and young animals with no training risks you hurting yourself as well as the animal. In the case of chimney swifts, they are federally protected birds, and removing them too soon can land you a very hefty fine. All our technicians have extensive training in the humane handling and removal of all animals, and we keep everything clean when we do it.
How do I keep animals out of my chimney?
We recommend installing a LockTop Damper on the chimney for the most versatility and use. If you are not familiar with them, a Locktop Damper is a piece that completely covers the flue of the chimney when it is down and can be popped up when used. The beauty of a locktop damper is that it protects from animals, debris, rain, hail, and all sorts of foreign objects you don’t want around. There are several options other than a locktop damper, such as a chimney cap, chase cover, lymance, and others. Each one has its benefits in any situation. As well as installing some type of cover, having an annual inspection and sweep (as recommended by the CSIA) helps us spot evidence of animal behavior and stop the problem before it begins.