Total Chimney Care's Blog

Keeping Animals Out of Your Chimney

If your chimney isn’t protected, you could find it playing home to an animal. Whether they enter the chimney by accident or are tempted into building a nest by the warmth and shelter of the chimney, birds, bats, raccoons, and squirrels are common intruders in chimneys. Those intruders can cause some serious problems, which is why you should take measures to prevent animals in your chimney.

Keeping Animals Out is Important

Once inside your chimneys, animals can bring a host of problems. At the very least, you can’t use your fireplace if the chimney is blocked by a trapped animal or an animal nest. And having animals removed from your chimney by a professional can be expensive. Some of the other problems animals in chimneys can cause include:

  • Chimney damage. A trapped, frantic animal can damage your chimney with clawing and scratching. A nesting animal can damage the chimney as it enters and exits, and as it builds the nest.
  • Fire hazard. Animal nests are usually constructed of flammable materials. If you have a nest in your chimney that you’re not aware of and you light a fire, the nest could ignite and start a chimney fire.
  • Carbon monoxide hazard. If your chimney is blocked by an animal or an animal nest, gases generated by your fireplace, including carbon monoxide, can’t exit the chimney. That can cause the gases to build up to dangerous levels within your home.
  • Foul odors. If a trapped animal can’t escape the chimney, it can die and decay, filling your house with a horrible smell. Nesting animals can leave behind smells from droppings, rotting food or rotting nesting materials.
  • Diseases. Animals carry diseases. When they enter your chimney, they carry a risk of spreading those diseases to your family or your pets.

Prevent Animals From Entering Your Chimney

There are three primary ways to protect your chimney from animal intrusions:

  • Chimney caps. Chimney caps are perhaps the most common method for keeping animals out of your chimney. Chimney caps cover the chimney opening, and a proper chimney cap is surrounded by a metal cage to keep out animals and debris.
  • Top-sealing dampers. Top-sealing dampers close off your chimney entirely when the chimney isn’t in use, keeping out water, animals, and debris. When the chimney is in use and the damper is open, the damper opening should be enclosed with a wire cage to keep animals out.
  • Chimney sweepings and inspections. A chimney sweeping and inspection won’t keep animals out of your chimney, but a chimney sweep can spot a trapped animal or signs of an animal nest. A chimney sweep can clear away any signs of an animal nest or animal droppings, and he can help with any repairs needed due to damage caused by animals.

If your chimney isn’t protected from animal intrusions, call Total Chimney Care to schedule an appointment today! We can install a chimney cap or a top-sealing damper to keep animals out. If an animal does enter your chimney, we can clear out a nest, clear away droppings and debris left by the animal, and make sure that your chimney is safe for use.

By Steve Sobczak on August 3rd, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , | Leave a Comment

Common Chimney Repairs

At Total Chimney Care, we do all we can to help our clients avoid chimney damage, from advising on best burning practices to providing diligent annual maintenance (including chimney inspections and chimney sweeping and cleaning).

It is our mission to assure you that we will get the job done right, in a timely manner, and for a fair price. Our goal is to exceed your expectations!

It is our mission to assure you that we will get the job done right, in a timely manner, and for a fair price. Our goal is to exceed your expectations!

But the reality is, even with the best care possible, problems can and will crop up — your chimney is constantly under attack from punishing weather and high heat, so it’s almost impossible to avoid the need for repairs altogether. The key is to keep on top of those inspections so we can handle problems while they’re still small, and to call Total Chimney Care as soon as possible when you notice an issue with your chimney in between inspections. Our technicians can get your system back in shape quickly and properly, so you can enjoy your fireplace or stove again.

Wondering what to expect? Here are some of the more common chimney repairs we make:

Replacing Chimney Caps

Two things often bring an early end to the life of a chimney cap. One: a particularly bad storm with heavy winds, which can tear a cap off (and sometimes carry it away, never to be heard from again). Two: being made of galvanized metal. That material tends to be the least expensive, so cost-conscious builders and homeowners sometimes prefer them. The down side is that galvanized metal isn’t the most durable choice — it can corrode and degrade, leaving your cap unable to do its job of keeping moisture, nesting animals and falling debris out of your flue.

If your chimney cap is gone, literally or figuratively, Total Chimney Care can replace it with a properly sized and installed, highly durable new cap.

Repairing Or Replacing Chimney Dampers

Your chimney damper’s role is to close off the flue when you’re not using your fireplace, which makes it an important part of your home’s energy efficiency and your system’s protection against moisture intrusion. It’s not uncommon for throat dampers in older chimneys to eventually fail — the metal plate used to close off your flue can rust and corrode, get stuck or come off the track it’s on. Total Chimney Care can often repair damaged throat dampers, but we can also replace them with far superior top-sealing dampers, which are more energy efficient and more durable.

Repairing Damaged Masonry

Masonry materials are beautiful and durable, but time and the elements can and do take their toll. From masonry joints that recede from years of exposure to the elements to cracks that develop from your home’s settling, masonry damage can lead to leaks and to improper venting — and those are certainly things you don’t want. Total Chimney Care can handle all kinds of masonry repairs, from intricately tuck pointing damaged joints to repairing spalling chimney crowns, bringing your chimney back to looking and functioning its best.

Those are just a few of the more common repairs we’re called out to do, but Total Chimney Care is focused on what our name indicates. If you have a problem with your chimney, fireplace or stove, we can help — just give us a call!

By Steve Sobczak on May 20th, 2014 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , , | Leave a Comment