Most people have heard that annoying sound – a mouse running through the wall or in the rafters of the garage. Often these problems can be solved quickly by luring them out and plugging the openings they entered through. But what if unwanted animals are in your chimney? With the colder weather, an evening by a warm fire sounds wonderful, but you may find that a family of critters has moved in and needs to be evicted before using.
Animals love to nest in chimneys, especially when they are creating a safe environment for raising young ones. Raccoons, squirrels, bats, and birds all love making nests in the quiet, dark recesses of the house, and an unused chimney is perfect. Before lighting the first fire, you should check for guests. When opening the damper, you may be surprised to find a small animal drop into the fireplace, or at least their droppings.
At this point, some people think that smoking the unwanted critters out is an easy course of action. However, if this typically just smokes out the house and if the unwanted guests include babies, they may not be able to move quickly, and the smoke approach is simply cruel and ineffective. The best course of action is to use patience and shine a bright light into the space. This eliminates the cozy environment they crave, and they will leave.
Once the animals are gone, there are a wide variety of guards and screens which can prevent animals from coming back. Cold weather affects the animal kingdom as much as the human one; a quick look up the chimney can save a lot of smoke and hassle.
Even better, if you decide to sell your home within the next year, these will make your listing that much more appealing than others.