Fireplaces offer homeowners and their families excellent reasons for staying home on cold winter nights -- who can resist cocoa by the fire? However, these scenarios quickly turn unpleasant when fireplace malfunctions come into play. In these days of do-it-yourself home maintenance projects, many people attempt to act as their own chimney sweeps. However, professional fireplace care is something homeowners shouldn't skimp on.
There are over 100 reasons why fireplaces cease to work properly, and most homeowners simply don't possess the expertise to effectively troubleshoot possible problems or to repair conditions that are interfering with proper functioning. Following are just three of the many reasons why you should have a professional chimney sweep install a chimney cap after giving your chimney a thorough cleaning.
Chimney swifts aren't dangerous, and they don't carry disease or damage human habitat like certain feathered friends such as pigeons, but many people simply don't want birds nesting in their chimneys. However, chimney swifts are protected under the Migratory Bird Act, and if you or a household member knowingly removes their nests or denies them access to them, you may face federal fines. If a family of swifts has already set up shop in your chimney, you'll have to wait it out until they migrate to South America for the winter. A professional chimney sweep will remove all traces of their nesting materials and equip your chimney with a cap that will prevent future interlopers from gaining access. Many homeowners choose to have special chimney swift towers installed on their property to provide these feathered friends with a place to build their nests.
If a family of raccoons decides to move into your chimney, the best course of action is to simply close the damper so they can't gain access to your home interior and wait the situation out. Mother raccoons move their litters often, so chances are excellent that your chimney is just a temporary stop. Trying to physically remove these animals may result in injury -- mother raccoons protect their young with razor sharp claws and teeth if they perceive you to be a threat, and they may attack household pets.
Try making a great deal of noise in the vicinity of your fireplace if you want to hurry them along. Because raccoons create large nests that could result in chimney fires when cold weather sets in and you decide to to light the first fire of the season, the interior of your chimney should be professionally cleaned after the raccoons vacate the premises. As with chimney swifts, a properly installed chimney cap will prevent future invasions.
Colonies of bats also prefer the dark, secluded environment chimneys provide. Many homeowners equate bats with rabies, but in reality, bats are far less likely to carry this disease than many other animals. However, one of the problems with having bats in the chimney is that they sometimes gain access to home interiors and frighten occupants. Their small size allows them to squeeze through tiny openings that other creatures aren't able to navigate.
If you suspect you have bats in your chimney, close the damper as tightly as possible and inspect your fireplace screen carefully for any possible openings and rectify them immediately. Bats hibernate during winter, so once they've vacated your chimney, have a professional chimney thoroughly clean it and install a chimney cap. Also, bats are actually beneficial to human populations because they eat mosquitoes and other insect pests, so consider installing a bat house on your property to provide them with necessary habitat.
Chimney caps will also help keep vegetative debris such as fallen leaves from entering your chimney. Find out here more info on chimney clear.Share