Your chimney works constantly to vent harmful byproducts from your home, and it’s efficiency can be greatly affected by outside factors. The chimney cap is the remedy. The cap is designed to keep outside factors from getting in! It literally caps the top of the chimney, fitting over the flue, preventing weather and wildlife from getting in, and some models even prevent wind from affecting the flue as well.
Keep Wildlife Out of the Chimney
Without a chimney cap, your flue is the perfect home to a variety of small animals. Any critter that can climb to or land on your roof can also climb into the chimney opening. Critters love the chimney because it’s dry, warm, and seemingly safe. What we know as humans, though, is that it’s not safe. It’s unsafe for the animals as well as for the humans.
Animals leave debris behind. Debris is left behind in the chimney even after the animals leave. Birds leave their nests and feathers behind, and chipmunks and squirrels leave their bedding and food crumbs. Nests, leaves, feathers, and other debris can and will ignite, causing a flue fire that is very preventable.
Animals leave droppings behind. Droppings left inside the chimney flue can release toxins into the air that your family breathes. It can also result in foul smells that disrupt your life, especially during the summer when the chimney isn’t being used.
Animals scratch the lining of the chimney. When small animals climb out of the chimney, they often scratch the liner with their claws. This can be a serious problem because the scratch is a weakness in the liner that may go unnoticed, allowing heat and hazardous gasses to escape the flue and transfer to the home. The scratch can also collect excess soot and creosote, causing more deterioration in an already weak spot.
Animals can get stuck. When an animal cannot get out of the chimney, it will get stuck and die, resulting in a blockage and a nasty odor. There is no mistaking the smell of decomposition, and if this occurs in your home, it will overpower everything else.
Some animals cannot be removed. A species of migratory birds called chimney swifts nest in chimneys throughout North America during the spring months. Since this bird is federally protected, not even a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS) can legally remove them. While some homeowners opt to allow the birds access to their chimneys, it is best to prevent their entrance in the first place. Hundreds of birds can inhabit the same chimney, and they are a loud and raucous little group. They will stay in the chimney until their eggs are hatched and young-lings can fly, which can be months.
You can still enjoy wildlife, while not allowing them to enjoy your chimney!
To avoid housing the forest’s friends, you should schedule a chimney sweep as early as possible after burning season is over, and then close out the system for the season. Be sure to have your chimney sweep check that the cap is intact. At Hudson Chimney, we install a variety of custom and standard caps, and all of them can keep animals out of your flue.
Call Hudson today at 904-282-4159 to discuss what a new chimney cap can do for you!
Hearing strange noises coming from your chimney is a sure sign that birds or other animals like squirrels or raccoons have mistaken your chimney for a tree and moved inside for the winter. If you have a family of birds or animals living inside your chimney, you should never attempt to smoke them out by lighting a fire. This can result in severely burning or killing the animals and creating an even larger problem. Our staff at Hudson Chimney is used to dealing with these critters invading chimneys, and we can safely remove them to allow your fireplace and chimney to be used without problems. We would like to tell you more about how to deal with birds and animals in your chimney by sharing with you some information from Chimneys.com.
Typically, birds will build nests on the smoke shelf or just above the damper, but some types of birds build their nests on the sides of chimney liners. You can even have multiple bird nests inside your chimney at one time. The biggest problem you can have with a bird nest in your chimney is that the nest can block your flue, and this can lead to carbon monoxide being forced back into your home. As nesting materials are highly flammable, there is also the risk of a chimney fire. Birds also carry diseases like histoplasmosis, which can cause blindness. If you have migratory birds such as chimney swifts living in your chimney, it is illegal to have these birds removed. You will have to wait until the late spring when they leave their nests to have these nests taken away from your chimney.
Squirrels build nests by packing them very tightly, which makes them difficult to remove. Hudson Chimney has heard reports of chimney sweeps needing hours to remove nests that were over 15 feet long! Not only do the nests of squirrels block the flue of your chimney, but squirrels themselves can open up the damper and enter your home to cause even more damage.
If you have a raccoon in your chimney, we strongly recommend that you leave its removal to professionals and do not attempt to get the animal out yourself. Raccoons can be very aggressive and will bite you. They also carry diseases like rabies and roundworm.
HOW DO I KEEP BIRDS AND ANIMALS OUT OF MY CHIMNEY?
The best way to keep these critters from taking up residence in your chimney is to have a good quality chimney cap installed at the top of the chimney. Be sure the cap is equipped with metal mesh siding, and you will also want to choose a cap constructed from copper or stainless steel as birds and animals can tear up caps made from aluminum.
Heard sounds of birds or animals coming from your chimney? Contact us at Hudson Chimney as soon as possible to ask for our help on removing these critters safely.
Just as you would think from the name, chimney crowns sit at the very top of masonry chimneys to prevent water and animals from getting inside the chimneys. A crucial part of a masonry chimney system, your chimney crown needs to be in good condition to best protect your chimney. If your crown is suffering from hairline cracks, your chimney could be in danger of even more cracking and spalling damage. Luckily for the residents of the Jacksonville, FL area, Hudson Chimney specializes in repairing and building chimney crowns. We would like to tell you more about this important part of your masonry chimney by sharing with you some information from the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) about chimney crowns.
What exactly does a chimney crown do?
Covering the top of the chimney to seal it from the flue liner to the chimney edge, a chimney crown constructed by Hudson Chimney provides a downward slope to direct water from the flue to the edge of the crown. Without a chimney crown, the entrance to your chimney is wide open and can easily be invaded by water from rain and melted snow and animals such as birds, raccoons, and squirrels. Both water and animals will do a lot of potentially expensive damage to your masonry chimney, which is why it is so important to have a properly built chimney crown on the top of your chimney.
What kind of damage can water and animals do to my chimney?
The CSIA calls water the biggest enemy of masonry chimneys because it erodes away bricks and mortar. Hudson Chimney often sees spalling damage, which is caused when water that has penetrated masonry materials freezes within those materials, it expands. As the water thaws out, it forces the bricks and mortar to crack and break apart. If this type of damage is left untreated, the structure of your chimney is in jeopardy as it could collapse. The greatest type of damage done by animals has more to do with the nesting materials they leave behind in your chimney. Abandoned animal nests in a chimney create dangerous hazards such as fires ignited from the materials and debris and flue blockages that can cause poisonous gases like carbon monoxide to be forced back into your home.
What are the details of a properly built chimney crown?
Constructed from a Portland cement-based mixture, a proper chimney crown should be installed so that it provides an overhang projecting beyond all sides of the chimney by a minimum of two inches. Hudson Chimney additionally ensures that the flue liner tile projects above the crown also by a minimum of two inches.
Concerned about your chimney crown? Contact Hudson Chimney to inspect the condition of your crown and make recommendations for repairs or a rebuild. You can trust us to protect the inside of your chimney with a correctly constructed and installed chimney crown.