If you’re hearing noises coming from your chimney, don’t be alarmed; it most likely isn’t robbers breaking into your home! There are easier ways to get in to a house than through the chimney.

Usually there is one of two causes: a small animal (such as a raccoon or a squirrel) that has decided that your chimney makes a great den for raising a family or an a bird or squirrel animal has fallen down the chimney and cannot get back up.

You should never try to remove the animal yourself or try to smoke it out. If the animal is injured or trapped you will only succeed in burning or killing the animal! In some cases you could be committing a crime.

The Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918 (MBTA) is a US federal law that was first enacted in 1916 in order to protect 800 species of migratory birds between the United States and Canada.  Basically it’s illegal to pursue, hunt, take, capture, kill or sell birds listed in the statute (“migratory birds”). It also grants full protection to any bird parts including feathers, eggs and nests.

Wild animals mistake an uncapped chimney for a hollow tree. They don’t realize that the hollow tree is connected to a home. Unlike a hollow tree, the inside of a chimney is slippery and  except for raccoons other animals find it difficult to climb up the chimney.

You can tell that an animal is stuck in your chimney just by the frantic high pitched noise that it will make, wouldn’t you if you were stuck in a chimney. It will scratch at the damper to try to find a way out. It might even fall into your living room if the damper is not closed!  If the animal succeeds in going back up the chimney, he will still be unable to climb the entire length of the chimney.

Animals that have created a den in your chimney will move once in a while but not frantically or as is the case with babies waiting for their mother, they might call out every so often. During the spring and summer months, mother raccoons will create a den in a chimney or an attic. The best way to keep raccoons from nesting in your chimney is by keeping it spotless. Raccoons look for quiet and dark places to build a den.  By creating the opposite conditions, you can successfully discourage them. Keeping the damper closed and blasting a radio with loud music in your fireplace will do the job. If you really want to fix the problem you can also install a chimney cap. Once the raccoons are gone for their nightly rounds to gather food, promptly call a chimney sweep to install a chimney cap.

There are four types of chimney caps that you can install. The standard chimney cap has a side screening; preventing animals from nesting in your chimney. If your chimney is short or too wide, it will have a hard time to get air to your fire to keep it burning. In that case you might want a draft increasing chimney cap. If your chimney crown is a square or rectangle, a single-flue chimney cap will cover the chimney crown efficiently. The last type of chimney cap is a top-mount chimney cap that attaches to the chimney and connects to the crown. Chimney caps come in a variety of materials such as aluminum, galvanized steel or bronze.

If you need help removing animals from your chimney call Professional Chimney Services at 281-491-0433. With more than 15 years’ experience of removing all kinds of small animals, you can say goodbye to your unwanted visitors for good!