12/20/2016 | Defending Your Chimney From Unwelcome Guests
We gotta be blunt: it’s really important you have a clear, clean chimney this time of year. When the big man is making his rounds, he needs a nice easy descent down into your home while he drops off your presents. Can you imagine what ol’ St. Nick would think if he sidled up to your chimney, hoisted himself into it, and found his way blocked by a dead raccoon? It might even be enough to nudge you onto the naughty list!
Don’t make good Kris Kringle’s job any harder than it needs to be. Here are some easy things you can do to keep pigeons, bats, bugs, and all manner of distinctly-less-than-jolly pests out of your chimney all year. Don’t worry, Santa will find a way in. He might even be impressed enough with your diligence and responsibility that you’ll start racking up “nice” points for next year!
Have Your Chimney Swept and Cleaned
If you you’ve had problems with pests in your chimney in the past, it might be because something inside is attracting them. You should have your chimney thoroughly swept and cleaned once every year or so. The chimney sweep will be able to find anything troublesome inside the chimney such as an animal body or food residue that may have been attracting pests.
Chimney sweeping will also clear any built-up creosote and other bi-products of burning which can become dangerous over time. Your chimney will be safer and more effective, and you won’t have to worry about attracting pests! Plus, everything will be nice and clean for any festive gentlemen who may be using it.
Get a Chimney Cap
Capping your chimney is by far the easiest and most effective way to ensure no birds, rodents, bats, or large insects can get into your chimney. A chimney cap is a steel or copper lid with a mesh wire opening on its underside. You install this cap at the mouth of your chimney. Smoke is safely vented through the wire mesh at the bottom of the cap, but the animals can’t get to your chimney’s opening.
Chimney caps are considered a must-have by most industry professionals, so if your chimney doesn’t have one, you should strongly consider the investment. Not only will a chimney cap keep pests out, it’ll also keep weather, trash, and other debris from getting into your house through the chimney’s mouth. Don’t risk installing a chimney cap yourself; have a professional install it for you when you purchase one. We don’t all have Father Christmas’ uncanny rooftop dexterity, and it’s harder to enjoy the Holidays in a neck brace.
Get a Chimney Screen
If a chimney cap isn’t feasible for whatever reason, or if you’re concerned about moths or other tiny pests infiltrating your home from above, you should consider a chimney screen. Screens are exactly what they sound like: a screen with very small opening is placed inside your chimney. The screen’s holes allow safe smoke ventilation, but nothing else can squeeze through it--not even fleas and other small pests!
One problem with screens is that pests can bite through them over time. To account for this issue, you could install both a chimney cap and a chimney screen. Big pests that could bite through the screen won’t be able to get to it, small pests that could get past the cap can’t get through the screen, and you rest easily knowing you really pulled one over on would-be invaders.
Get a New Damper
A fireplace damper should be closed whenever the fireplace isn’t in use. This prevents cold air and pests from getting into your house from the chimney. If your damper doesn’t close all the way or was damaged, however, pests might be able to squeeze past it into your house!
By installing a new damper, you can ensure that it will work correctly, making your home more energy efficient as well as pest-proofing your fireplace. Make sure to measure the inside of your chimney before you choose and install a new damper to ensure the new will actually fit. Remember: you will still need to open the damper whenever you have a fire, unless you want all the smoke to pour into your house!
If you have a particular problem with pigeons or other birds roosting in and around your chimney, consider installing a Ultrasonic Bird Deterrent. This devices can be found at most hardware stores. They work by continuously producing an ultrasonic that frightens birds and bats away. The noise bird deterrents generate is too high-pitched to be audible to humans, so you don’t have to worry about being annoyed yourself.
Ultrasonic bird deterrents are more specialized than the other products, so if you want to effectively keep pests out, combine it with other methods of pest prevention. If a chimney cap and screen won’t keep the birds away, give science a try!
There’s still time! Incorporate some of these chimney-defense strategies now, and come the big night, you’ll be totally ready to give Santa the red carpet (or chimney) treatment. He might even drop off an extra present or two since you’ve been so nice!
If you’re having trouble with a pest infestation in your chimney, your business, or anywhere else, give Assured a call today. We’ve got a bit of experience with pest control, and we’re confident we’ll be able to find and fix your problem fast. Happy Holidays!