Ah, the flora and fauna of Indiana. It’s lovely, isn’t it? Yet, as charming as the local Indianapolis wildlife may be, you don’t want it taking up residence in your chimney. If you suspect an animal is using your home for shelter and refuge from the hazards of weather or predators, it’s important to act promptly. Not only is an animal infestation in your chimney a challenge, it’s rife with risks to the property owner and critter alike.

a squirrel sitting on top of a slanted green roofWhy Are There Animals in My Chimney?

A chimney can be appealing to a variety of creatures. It resembles the natural roosting or nesting locations of bats and birds, and can seem like a quiet retreat for larger mammals and rodents. Raccoons and squirrels are nimble climbers and can gain access to roofs with little trouble.

Unfortunately, animals can get lost or stuck in chimneys and become trapped. They can also find their way out through the fireplace and enter your living space, which is problematic.

So, what’s to be done about them?

How Can I Get Animals Out Of My Chimney? And Then Keep Them Out?

Step 1: Assess the situation

Confirm the presence of animals by looking for signs: scratching or other unusual noises, the presence of animal droppings or other debris near the fireplace, or an odor. You may also spot the trespassing creature itself. If you can, determine the type of size of animal(s) involved. This can help you determine next steps and communicate information to those whose help you enlist.

Step 2: Contact a professional

If you feel less-than-confident about the animal’s willingness to leave on its own, seek professional help from animal control. They have training in animal behavior and techniques for handling them, and they’ll ensure that the removal process adheres to animal welfare guidelines. You can also contribute to creating an unfavorable environment by making loud noises – but don’t try to encourage the animal to leave by starting a fire to “smoke it out.” This can be dangerous for both the animal and you. 

If an animal is alive and in distress, it may act erratically, so be sure to keep pets and children out of the way when animal removal is in process. Keep in mind that animals can find their way into other areas of the chimney system outside the chimney and may require the help of a chimney professional to reach.

While quick removal is ideal, there’s at least one scenario in which it may have to be delayed. Chimney swifts are small gray birds that roost rather than perch. They’re a protected species under the Federal Migratory Bird Act, so under penalty of law these birds’ nesting materials can’t be removed until after any fledglings have left the nest.

Step 3: Have your chimney cleaned and inspected

birds resting on top of a masonry chimneyOnce your uninvited guests have vacated the premises, you may feel relieved – but you still have some work to do to ensure that your fireplace is safe for use again.

The first thing is to call your chimney professional to schedule a chimney sweeping. One of the reasons animals in your chimney are problematic is that they can cause blockages that obstruct airflow and ventilation. Nesting material and other debris can also increase risk of uncontained fire, and animals and their leavings can carry parasites and diseases. By employing the skills of a professional who is familiar with a chimney’s nooks and crannies and has the specialty tools and skill to access them, you can get your chimney clear and ready to use.

Animals can cause damage through scratching, building nests, and gnawing. An inspection will check for any damage caused by the animal such as nests, debris, or structural issues, and your chimney technician will help you develop a plan to address any necessary repairs to restore your chimney’s integrity.

Step 4: Think preventatively

When you make an appointment to have your chimney swept, be sure to ask what you can do to prevent animals from entering your chimney again later on down the line. Your professional will likely propose a top-sealing damper or a chimney cap.

Dampers aid in ventilation and efficiency, and top-sealing dampers also provide a physical barrier against animals that may otherwise enter your chimney.

Chimney caps, similarly, act as a physical barrier. Positioned at the top of your chimney opening, they have vented sides that allow smoke and gases to escape while protecting your chimney from precipitation, debris, and critters. Chimney caps are available in various sizes and materials, and your pro can help you select and install a proper fit for your chimney.

We’re Can Help You Keep Animals Away

Removing animals from your chimney requires a proactive approach and a little professional help to ensure both the animal welfare and the safety of your home. Acting promptly – and then preventatively – will help you be rid of the issues that health hazards from animal infestation can present and enjoy your chimney for years to come.

If you have further questions about how to keep your chimney in tip-top shape, you can count on us to listen and take the time to help you understand best practices and care. We’re committed to customer education, safety, and service. Call 317-643-1128 or reach out to us online today.