If your chimney becomes damaged, you might discover later that your chimney has become the home of a critter that has found its way inside. Given that you probably do not want the animal to get injured and since the animal might be carrying diseases, it is time to remove it before you perform repairs on your chimney.
Identifying The Animal
Raccoon will sometimes use chimneys as a den site. There are also some animals that might slip into the chimney accidentally. If the animal does not intend to be inside the chimney, you will often hear frantic scratching and the sounds of wings flapping. However, if the animal is a raccoon, the most common sound you will hear are the occasional movements as the raccoon wanders into and out of the chimney. You may also hear the cries of baby raccoons. Also, some birds will deliberately attempt to build nests within the chimney.
Avoiding Common Mistakes
Do not try to smoke the animal out of the chimney. You can risk injuring or killing it. Not only is this not humane, but it may be harder to remove the raccoon if it becomes stuck. Also, if you have a bird in your chimney, you are not legally allowed to remove the nest. Instead, you must wait for the birds to abandon the nest and then perform the necessary repairs and place a cap on the top of the chimney.
A raccoon should only be removed by licensed raccoon specialists. They can be very aggressive and they can also carry several diseases, including rabies. If the raccoon leaves, you could have the chimney sealed before the raccoon returns.
Like with a raccoon, bats also carry rabies and should only be removed by a licensed animal removal specialist. Bats also have droppings that can spread very dangerous diseases. Unfortunately, this is a difficult species to remove because they are able to fit through small openings.
Occasionally, squirrels will build very large nests inside chimneys. The nests are very tightly packed and a chimney cleaning specialist will need to spend several hours removing the nest. Afterward, the chimney should be repaired (by professionals such as those from Excel Chimney & Fireplace Service) and the top covered with a cap or screen. You must never use your chimney if there is a squirrel nest inside because this can be a fire hazard. However, once you are sure it is safe, you can return to using your chimney.