Spring is definitely upon us. With the advent of warmer weather, wildlife is coming back to the area. After a long winter's nap, birds, squirrels, rodents, and other small mammals are up and moving about, gathering food and nesting material, and looking for a place to raise a family. You have one barrier preventing them from getting in to your house...your flue cap.
There's a BIRD in my HOUSE!!
Believe it or not, we get this call multiple times per year, and it is never easy. We are chimney experts, but not wildlife experts. We will absolutely do everything we can to help get living creatures out of your chimney or fireplace, and, in the sad event that it becomes necessary, we will remove the remains of an animal that got trapped in your flue and died, but it is never an easy job, and the time in labor alone can be very expensive, not to mention repairing or replacing any building materials or chimney pipe that may need to be broken to get to the animals. While it is handy information to know that we can and will help you once an animal gets into your house, it is much better to prevent them from coming in by ensuring that the screen spark arrestor on your flue cap is secure and solid, not loose or full of holes.
If there are large holes in your cap screen, or if it is hanging "by a thread", you might consider giving us a call to repair or replace it as necessary. Over the course of the winter, heavy snow and high winds can damage a flue cap, or even rip it off the flue, if it was not properly secured. Holes in the screen, loose fitting screen, or a missing screen or cap gives wildlife access to the inside of your home, and if there IS a way in...they WILL find it. Once inside, they can, and will, cause a tremendous amount of damage and destruction to your stove, to your furnishings, and even, potentially, to your electrical wiring.
At the end of the day, the best way to deal with wildlife in your house to prevent them from getting inside in the first place. Take a step outside, and look up at your flue termination. Can you see a screen? Does there appear to be larger than normal holes in the screen? A quick visual inspection from the ground can be enough to let you know if you need us to come out or not. If everything looks secure, and there doesn't appear to be any large holes or pieces missing, then you are probably good to go until time to get your flue swept. If you see large holes, or worse, no screen at all, you might consider giving us a call to replace it.