While wildlife may be entertaining in our backyards, they cause nothing but problems if they decide to become house lodgers. Animal noises, strong odors, and debris becoming noticeable in and around the fireplace and chimney areas are dead giveaways that an intruder has moved in. See these five signs a critter is living in your chimney and has taken up residence and learn what to do about this problem.
1. What’s that Noise?
Northern Virginia’s cold winters make chimneys an attractive place for wildlife to shelter from the elements. Sturdy rooftop structures are particularly attractive to birds for building nests on and around, as chimneys help lessen the impact of strong winds and rain.
The first clue you may have that an unwelcome guest has arrived and is making themselves at home in your home is unusual noises. You may hear squeaks, rustling, scraping, or flapping sounds from the fireplace. When you listen closely, the sound will likely be coming from higher up in the chimney structure.
Pop outside and give the rooftop a good look over. A sign of wildlife in your chimney is roof disturbances such as nests atop the chimney. Does there appear to be debris where the chimney emerges at the roofline? Has the chimney cap been dislodged? If you can see any of this damage, then your worst suspicions are probably confirmed.
2. Is that Nasty Odor Coming from Around the Fireplace Area?
On top of wildlife noises, or in the absence of them, you may suddenly find a strong odor when you are near the fireplace. Critters can emit some incredibly pungent smells, particularly if they’re mating, fighting, or manage to get soaking wet. On top of that, if they’re living in the chimney most of the time, there will be smells associated with their toileting and the build-up of fur, feathers, and excrement. Ew!
Even worse, you may be able to detect the smell of a corpse. Best to get onto this one quickly before decomposition begins in earnest and the odor becomes unbearable. This may be a perfect time to get in touch with your chimney cleaners in North Virginia. The chimney is going to need thorough cleansing, and if they provide animal removal as part of the service, all the better.
3. Are those Droppings? Another Sign of Wildlife in Your Chimney
When inspecting the fireplace, you may notice clear signs of animal droppings. They can be a good indicator of precisely which wildlife species you’re dealing with. Common intruders via chimneys are birds, bats, squirrels, mice and rats, and raccoons.
4. Where did that Debris Come From?
A key sign of wildlife in your chimney is the sudden appearance of fragments in the fireplace. Mortar, crumbling brick, soot, and ash are to be expected if maintenance hasn’t been done for a while. A strong storm can also result in winds blowing down the chimney, creating debris. In addition, damage to the roof and chimney top can fall through the open cap. However, if your chimney is regularly swept and there hasn’t been recent extreme weather, then critters may be responsible.
5. Why isn’t the Fire Drawing?
It’s a chilly day, and you’ve decided to start the fire, but the fire won’t draw properly for some unfathomable reason. Also, smoke isn’t getting out through the chimney and is coming back into the room. Your first thought is no doubt that something is blocking the chimney. The obstruction could be on top of the cap or anywhere along the flue. While there could be structural damage of some sort causing the problem, it could also be a sign of wildlife in your chimney.
Put out the fire at once, as continuing may actually lead to toxic chemicals being released into the air or a dangerous chimney fire starting.
How to Get Rid of Pesky Critters in the Chimney and Fireplace
You’ve really only got two choices if you’re quite sure that you have unwanted animal guests in the chimney. One is to call out a pest control company to examine the situation and extract the animals. And the other option is to contact a company that does chimney cleaning, repairs, and removal of animals. And since you’ll probably need all three tasks done, the last option is an excellent way to go.
At Six Penny Chimney in Northern Virginia, we’ll look after all aspects of chimney sweeping and repair for you. We’ll also remove any nuisance critters that have taken up residence in your chimney. So get in touch for a free, no-obligation quote today.