How to Keep Animals Out of Your Chimney
Your chimney is designed to expel exhaust out of your home while your family enjoys the warmth of a gas, wood-burning fireplace insert, or heating stove. However, with its proximity to Lake Erie and brutally windy, cold, and snowy winters, animals residing in Batavia and other communities in the Greater Buffalo-Rochester region are also seeking a warm and comfortable place to stay.
So, if a bat, mouse, raccoon, snake, or other small mammal happens to be hunting for shelter in the neighborhood, they may decide to take up residence in your chimney. These animals can be more than a nuisance. They can block the flue vent, resulting in a dangerous backdraft that pushes smoke, toxic carbon monoxide gas, and hot debris into your living room. That’s why it is essential to keep animals out of your chimney.
How Do Animals Get Inside My Chimney?
So, how do animals get into your chimney in the first place? You may only realize your chimney cap is broken or missing if you have had a recent chimney inspection. A chimney without a cap is like an open window for unwanted pests. Small animals like mice, rats, and snakes can squeeze through tiny cracks in the masonry, chimney crown, or even a small gap in the flashing.
The problem is that once animals check in, they only sometimes check out. Some will stay, hatch their young, and raise a family in the flue. Sometimes they may make their way down the flue when the damper is open to exploring your home. Others will get disoriented or trapped and perish in the chimney.
Signs of Animals in Your Chimney
- Hearing chirping, squealing, or clawing sounds, especially at night
- An increase in pests or rodents inside your home
- A foul odor around the fireplace
- Your fireplace is smokey or has ventilation problems
Keeping Animals Out of Your Chimney
The best way to keep animals out of your chimney is to have an annual chimney inspection to ensure your chimney cap or chase cover, damper, chimney crown, and masonry are not damaged. Making chimney repairs as soon as possible also helps keep animals from making your chimney their home.
Chimney Cap / Chase Cover
Whether you have a traditional masonry or manufactured fireplace, your chimney should have a cap or chase cover with a durable wire mesh screen. It will help keep animals out as well as moisture and debris. Inspect the top of your chimney regularly to ensure the chimney cap or chase cover is secure and free of damage.
Most homes in Rochester, Buffalo, and surrounding Western New York communities have a traditional throat damper installed just above the firebox. Unfortunately, while throat dampers do a great job of keeping animals out of the fireplace when shut, it doesn’t keep them out of the chimney. That’s why the Felgemacher Fireplace Shop recommends folks install a top-sealing damper. This damper is installed at the top of the chimney and serves as a chimney cap.
It completely seals the flue when shut, keeping animals, rain, wind, leaves, and debris out of the chimney.
Other Methods for Keeping Out Wildlife
- Schedule an annual chimney inspection
- Periodically check the masonry, chimney cap, and chimney crown for damage
- Install a full-width chimney crown or chase cover
- Close the damper when you’re not using the fireplace
- Make chimney repairs quickly
Protecting Your Chimney from Animal Intrusion in Buffalo NY
Visit the Felgemacher Fireplace Shop at 2727 Broadway, Suite 5 in Buffalo, to browse our complete selection of stylish chimney caps, chase covers, and other accessories to keep animals out of your chimney. You can also call (716) 452-9157 or contact us online to schedule an appointment today!