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Do You Think Critters are Living in Your Chimney?

How Would You Know?

 Having animals in your chimney is one of the most complicated and frustrating situations for a homeowner. Not only can animals cause damage to the chimney, but they can also carry diseases and pests that put the entire family at risk. If someone suspects that animals have set up a home in their chimney, they need to take immediate steps to remove them.

Squirrel Like Chimneys - Baton Rouge LA - Basic Chimney Sweep & Repair

Squirrel Like Chimneys – Baton Rouge LA – Basic Chimney Sweep & Repair

It is possible that you could have animals in your chimney and not even realize it. One of the most common signs is an unpleasant smell coming from the chimney. This could be caused by a number of things but is most often attributed to animal nests and waste sitting in the chimney over a period of time. Another sure sign that there are animals in the chimney is an scratching or banging sound coming from the fireplace. It isn’t a ghost…it is likely a critter who has made himself comfortable in your heating system.

If someone suspects that an animal lives in their chimney, they should resist the urge to try to get it out themselves. This really isn’t a DIY job for a couple of reasons. There is a good chance that the animal is carrying a disease or pests such as ticks. If the animal has a disease such as rabies, there is a strong possibility that they will attack whoever tries to remove them. Although this job should be handled immediately, it is best to wait until a chimney sweep that is trained to deal with these issues can take care of it. The certified sweep is trained to safely remove birds and animals and to dispose of them if they have died.

Once the animals have been removed from the chimney, it is important to prevent this problem from ever occurring again. The best way to do this is by having a chimney cap installed. This is a simple device that is exactly what it sounds like and prevents any future animals from making their way into the chimney. It is an inexpensive and effective solution to a serious problem.

If there is a strange sound or smell coming from the fireplace, there is a good chance that animals are living in the chimney. If this does prove to be the case, it is important to allow a trained chimney sweep to take care of the situation. Once they have been evicted, it is important to install a chimney cap that will prevent them from returning. This is the best way to ensure safe and efficient heating from your chimney.

Converting Your Wood Burning Fireplace to Gas

Tired of sweeping out ash, and conscious of the added expense of wood burning fireplaces, many homeowners are choosing to convert to gas. More efficient and less trouble, glass fronted gas fireplaces keep warm air in the house and cold air out when they are not in use. Cleaner, safer, and more economical, gas fireplaces can be a better option, and can provide the same ambience as a wood fire without the smelly smoke and combustible by-products.

Wood Fireplace to Gas Logs - Baton Rouge LA - Basic Chimney Sweep

Definitely a job to be handled by chimney professionals, perhaps the most difficult part of a fireplace conversion is getting gas to it. A separate gas line has to run from the meter to the fireplace, with flex line, cutoffs, and a sealer at junctions. Furthermore, air has to be bled from the lines and the natural gas has to be pressurized to state-dictated levels. The farther the fireplace is from the gas source, the more complicated the task.

Prior to the conversion, the chimney should also be cleaned by a professional chimney sweep. He can insure that nothing is blocking the chimney and deal with any creosote that has accumulated inside the flue. Maintenance will be much easier with gas logs than with a wood fire, but the usual concerns about nesting birds and critters still apply.

The most important decision for homeowners to make is the type of gas fireplace they wish to install. Both vented and vent less gas fireplaces are available, each with drawbacks and advantages. Municipalities may regulate this choice, sometimes requiring vented fireplaces, which reduce the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning.

An unvented gas fireplace does not lose heated air up the chimney so it does a better job of warming the room. However, an unvented gas fire can only burn for a few hours at a time, since both moisture and exhaust gases are given off and build up. Although they are more costly, vented fireplaces produce prettier fires and are still energy efficient, sealing heat behind glass doors and often blowing it into the room.

By Ronald Caillais on February 3rd, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment
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