Diagnosing the Sounds
It’s getting to be that time of year that we wait for Santa to come down the chimney. But if you’re hearing scratching or chirping noises on Christmas Eve (or any other eve, for that matter), it isn’t probably going to be the gift-giver on his way down—it just might be an animal that’s confused your chimney for a fantastic place to start a family.
We’ve heard of bats, chimney swifts, raccoons, squirrels, starlings, owls, and even ducks as confirmed suspects in chimney critter invasions. But before you throw on you hunter’s cap and set up shop with a shotgun outside the fireplace, here are a few facts you might find interesting and helpful.
If you hear chirping: HALT! In other words, don’t do anything to evict a bird, unless you’ve clearly identified it. A common chimney pest is the chimney swift, and even though they might be driving you up the wall, you’ll have to play Switzerland for a little while. Swifts are migratory birds, and are protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, which prohibits anyone from meddling with their affairs, even if they’re invading your property. (Don’t worry—we have a handy solution for even this problem later on.) If you have these birds already, you’ll have to wait for them to vacate.
You know what? HALT is actually a good rule of thumb in general when it comes to critters. Critters aren’t just a nuisance, they also carry diseases. The North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services reported 341 confirmed cases of rabies last year (2012), the majority of which were raccoons. Raccoons are one of the many animals that like to crawl down into chimneys, which to them look a lot like a nice, hollow log—perfect for nesting. It’s best to let a professional deal with animals. Call your chimney sweep on this one—we’ve seen it all. If we can’t handle it, we’ll know who can.
Here’s the good news: you don’t have to put up with critter invasions. Having a chimney cap with a screen installed will keep animals and birds from entering your chimney. At Owens Chimney Systems, we can install chimney caps. We’ve got a lot to choose from, depending on your type of chimney and your specific preferences. Chimney caps are a great solution not only for this problem—they also keep out things like debris that can get trapped inside your chimney and cause a fire, and moisture from rain and other weather conditions that can cause structural damage to your home. Give us a ring if you’re in the Matthews or Charlotte area.