Your chimney is great. It has one main purpose and that is to help keep your home smoke-free while keeping your fire burning efficiently. As long as you keep your fireplace well maintained and free from soot and creosote buildup, it will continue to fulfill its role of keeping you warm all winter long. That’s why it’s so important to have your chimney and fireplace inspected and cleaned on an annual basis. When you give us a call at 704-554-9595 to set up an appointment to have this work done, we’ll make sure that any creosote buildup is cleared out, that your chimney cap and chimney crown are in great shape, and that the chimney liner is clear of cracks and dings and fits properly. But did you know that there’s another thing that your chimney is great for?
The other thing that your chimney is good for is making a home for unwelcome critters! This is an unfortunate byproduct of having a tall, hollow structure attached to your home. When an animal is looking for a safe, warm spot to build a nest and raise a family, your chimney is the perfect spot. It’s tall, it’s dark, and it’s out of the way of wind, rain, sleet, or any other weather that a North Carolina winter might bring. It’s also warm and out of the way of any predators that might be looking for a meal. Hollowed out trees used to be the best place for creatures to build a nest, but nowadays there aren’t many hollow trees around anymore, so a great substitute is a chimney!
What Kind of Critters?
You might be wondering what type of animal would crawl into your chimney. There are actually several different kinds of animals that might crawl in there. First, there are birds. Although there are many different types of birds that can and do make nests in your chimney, one that might be around is the chimney swift. The chimney swift is a small, gray bird that actually resembles smoke as it’s flying through the sky. It’s unique in that it doesn’t perch, but is constantly in flight. It eats, it bathes, and it even plucks twigs to help it build its nest, all while flying. It literally only stops flying to sit on the nest or to roost. Chimney swifts used to use hollow logs to build their nests, but now because so many trees have been cleared to make way for developments, chimneys are a great alternative.
There are also animals that can crawl down into your chimney, most especially squirrels and raccoons. These animals also will build a nest and raise a family. When any type of creature gets in your chimney, it can be annoying because of the noise the babies make as they demand food and as they begin to move around. Although it usually only lasts a short time, until the babies are old enough to be out and on their own, those noises can be very annoying. If you’re okay waiting until the animals move out, that’s great, but if you’d rather get those animals out right away, you may need to call out the professionals to help. Just keep in mind that there are some animals that are protected by law and you may just need to wait until the babies are grown and out and then clean up the remains of the next. Another problem with this is that if these animals die in your chimney, they can start to emit a very nasty odor.
Blockage is another major reason that we need to take care of getting your chimney inspected and cleaned. If those nests are allowed to dry and settle in your chimney, they can create blockages that cause your fire to burn less efficiently. A bigger problem yet is that these dry nests can catch a spark from your fire and cause a chimney fire that can have devastating effects on your home. Even if it’s only a little fire, it means there could be damage to your chimney that can cause your chimney to leak or leave the structure of your chimney to be unstable.
We Can Take Care of Blocked Chimneys
It is so important that you make sure that there are no blockages because of the damage that it can cause to your chimney and your home. Blockages can also end up losing you money because of the inefficiency of the burn. That’s why you need to give Owens Chimney Systems a call soon. Spring is the best time to take care of this before those creatures can take up residence in your home. If we are too late, if the creatures are in before we can get there, we can wait until they are ready to be moved and then take care of your cleaning. And once we get that finished, we can fit you up with a chimney cap that will keep animals and birds out of your chimney!