If you suspect an animal is living in your chimney, you should know it is not uncommon. Birds, bats, and other animals often seek shelter in chimneys during the summer months. A chimney in the summer is an ideal shelter for birds and animals especially because it is not being used.
Maybe you hear chirping or fluttering coming from your fireplace or you see birds entering or exiting the top of your chimney, what do you do next?
The first thing you should do is call animal control. CSIA-certified chimney sweeps are not qualified or certified to handle wild animals. Wildlife control companies are best suited to handle animals in and around the home. The first thing they would do is identify the type of animal that has made a home in your chimney. Some animals are protected and cannot be removed.
One of the most common Chimney nesting birds is the aptly named Chimney Swift. As a migratory bird, the federally-protected Chimney Swift settles in Eastern North America during the summer. When a Chimney Swift nests in your chimney, you will need to wait until it leaves to use your fireplace again.
The good news is that when the weather begins to change, the Chimney Swift will leave your home and migrates south for the winter and your chimney will be fully operational for the winter season.
Once the bird or animal has left your chimney, can you start a fire?
Before you start your first fire in your fireplace, you should have your chimney inspected by a CSIA-certified chimney. If the bird built a nest in your chimney, it could block airflow and present a fire hazard. Animals can also cause damage to the flue and liner.
To prevent animals from nesting in your chimney, talk to your chimney sweep about installing a chimney cap. If specific animals are a recurring problem, specialized caps and screens are designed to keep them out.