Keep Your Chimney Pest-Free
You would never leave your front door wide open when you head off to work. You know that would allow animals or thieves to come into your home who might leave you with hundreds to thousands of dollars in damages. Do you know that leaving your chimney open, without a cap on it, could be just as costly?
To small mammals and birds, a chimney seems like an ideal nesting place. During the spring and summer, when they are looking for a safe place to raise their families, many make homes in open chimney tops. Unfortunately for them, even when the chimney is not in use, it is an unexpectedly dangerous home. Most birds, rodents and other small critters that make a nest in a chimney will get stuck and die in it. Animals, like raccoons, bats and chimney swifts, who can find their way out of the chimney are likely to bring nastier pests with them like ticks, fleas and other parasites.
Dangers of Animal Nests in a Chimney
You might have heard that building a hot fire is the best way to smoke out pests or clear away nests. This is actually a dangerous myth. Building a hot fire to drive out pest can cause a house fire or lead to carbon monoxide exposure and poisoning.
Any animals living in your chimney are more likely to suffocate from the smoke than to flee the chimney when you light a fire. A stray spark from the fire can ignite their nests or carcasses and cause a harmful chimney fire. Some homeowners, hoping to smoke out pest, have even caused house fires by overloading their firebox with too much wood. Large fires can easily grow out of control and ignite nearby carpet, furniture or other combustible materials.
Even if you do not build a large fire to smoke out pests, simply using your fireplace can be dangerous if it is obstructed by an animal nest or carcass. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that is produced by burning wood. Usually, this gas vents outside through the chimney dispersing into the air without causing harm. If the chimney is blocked by an animal nest or carcass, it will be trapped in your home. Small exposure to carbon monoxide can cause symptoms from dull headaches and nausea to shortness of breath and confusion. Severe or long term exposure can lead to loss of consciousness and death.
Costs of Having Pests in the Chimney
A chimney or house fire caused by an overloaded firebox or animal infested chimney that ignited can leave you with thousands of dollars of repairs. Calling in pest control to remove animals in your chimney is much safer than trying to smoke them out. It can also be a large expense.
Pest control services charge from $200 to $2,000 depending on the type of animal, how difficult they are to trap or remove, and how many there are.
Simple Solution to Prevent Pests for Nesting in the Chimney
The best way to avoid the risks and costs of having animals in your chimney is to invest in a chimney cap. A chimney cap is a metal hat that is installed over the chimney’s flue (or opening). The top of the chimney cap is made of solid metal to stop animals and water from getting into the chimney. The sides are made of metal mesh so that smoke and combustion gases like carbon monoxide can vent through it without allowing animals to get in. The mesh also catches stray embers from the fire to prevent them from igniting the roof.
Capping your chimney is a simple and smart solution to keep your chimney pest-free. Give us a call to get a quote! Our CSIA certified chimney technicians serve residents in Hartford, Tolland and Litchfield Counties in Connecticut.