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Wildlife and Chimneys
As cold weather grips much of the nation, we continue to receive phone calls about wildlife moving inside to warm up. The most frequent calls this time of year are; “birds flying inside the house”, or the “squirrels running loose in the house”. This most frequently occurs when birds and squirrels take advantage of the warm furnace exhaust coming from your chimney. As they soak up the heat from the exhaust, they also soak up the carbon monoxide fumes, which renders them unconscious and they fall down the chimney and land at the bottom of the chimney stack, where they’re revived by the fresh air that circulates there. From there, they either work their way out of the ash clean-out door, or they scale their way up to the venting tube from the gas appliance and work their way out of the appliance vent. Once they’re out of the appliance, they have access to all the living areas of your home.
The other commonly used winter access point is the fireplace chimney. Open fireplace dampers allow warm air to escape from your home and birds and squirrels will frequently fall down those chimneys. Once inside the flues, birds and squirrels can’t escape the same way they came in and they end up behind your glass doors, or loose in your home. Worse yet, raccoons can travel up and down those chimney flues with ease and the smoke shelf, that sits just above the damper in all fireplaces, is a favorite location of female raccoons to have their litters. Many people report hearing “birds” in their fireplace in the Spring, only to find out that chirping is that of baby raccoons.
Don’t despair, there’s a simple fix to avoid these scenarios – install a chimney cap! Get the outside dimensions of your chimney flue and purchase a galvanized or stainless steel chimney cap. The two most common sizes of chimney flues are 9”x12” and 12”x12”. If you have a ladder and a screwdriver, you’re all set. If you don’t envy the thought of getting up on your roof to do this, or you have an odd-sized flue, then call 1-800-CRITTER and a Critter Control specialist can inspect your chimney and install a cap for you.
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