Maryland Residents: What Do You Do When Animals Invade Your Chimney?

Baltimore, MD, May 23, 2014 / MM Globalwire / It’s that time of year when animals of all shapes and sizes are settling into new homes in Maryland, and that means chimneys are doing more than their intended jobs.

Raccoons are the most common animal to take residence in your chimney.

Raccoons are the most common animal to take residence in your chimney.

Raccoons are the most common animal to occupy chimneys because they can actually create a den and raise their kits in your chimney.  But more often than not, the animals you’ll likely have problems with are squirrels and birds.  Both animal mistake chimneys for holes in trees, but have no idea how far down that “hole” goes.  Inevitably they fall into the chimney and get stuck. And when an animal is stuck in a chimney they are panicked and scared.

So, what do you do when an animal turns part of your home into its den or has fallen into your chimney?

Or, the better question is how do you prevent an animal from entering your chimney?

The simple answer is to call your chimney sweep.

Dennis Barnes, owner of Piccadilly Square Chimney Sweeps, which services Harford County, Baltimore County and other locations around Maryland, says that, “removing animals from chimneys is not a job for a homeowner because there are real dangers in doing so. Trying to ‘smoke them out’ introduces the risk of a nest catching fire, resulting in the potential for a house fire. Smoking animals out is not an option, as it is not a humane way to manage the situation.”

Even scarier is the thought of a homeowner trying to get to the top of a chimney without proper equipment, training and know-how.

Your chimney sweep will so many things when inspecting your chimney, such as shining a light up the flue to make sure there are no raccoons on the damper or on the smoke shelf. He will check the chimney flue from the roof to determine what animals are present and their location. He will then trap, and or remove the animals from the chimney and then sweep out any nesting debris. Finally, he will replace or install a chimney cap.

It’s a good idea to take preventative measures by having your chimney inspected. It’s the easiest and least expensive way to manage any potential problem. The Humane Society notes that having your chimney inspected is the most humane preventative measure you can take.

“We recommend having a routine chimney inspection particularly in spring and early summer when animal activity is at its highest. During the inspection, we can identify if the chimney cap is properly installed, and if not, we will replace it to eliminate any risk of animals falling into the chimney or building a nest,” Barnes stated.

Sounds like good advice. The last thing you want is a raccoon, squirrel or bird finding its way into your home.  For more information contact Piccadilly Square Chimney Sweeps.

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