Pests in your chimney can cause huge problems. Not only do they bring in mites, ticks, fleas, and other parasites, but they can actually cause a blockage in your chimney that will result in the dangerous products of combustion being unable to vent through the chimney. Only raccoons, chimney swifts, and bats are capable of getting out of the chimney again once they’ve gotten themselves in. Most birds, squirrels, and other animals will die in the chimney. Animal bodies and nesting materials can block off the flue which creates a dangerous situation in which carbon monoxide and other lethal gases are unable to exit the home in a safe manner. Keeping pests out of your chimney is crucial.
Removing chimney pests can be quite expensive. The service man will charge you a fee for even coming out to confirm there are actually animals in there and then charge anywhere from $50-100 dollars per animal removed! Chimney animal removal turns into an astronomical fee which could have been avoided all together if the pests were never allowed into the chimney. Squirrels, raccoons, and birds are drawn to chimneys because it acts as a perfect nursery. Before chimneys were invented they would look for tall, hollow trees. These would provide a safe place for their young seeing that it would be very difficult for predators to reach them.
Capping your chimney is by far the best way to prevent animals from entering your chimney. A stainless steel chimney cap with wire mesh that is small enough to keep bats and other small pests out but large enough to allow the products of combustion escape freely is ideal. You can also purchase a more expensive copper chimney cap but be warned that the shiny penny color will turn greenish over time without proper care.
There are ultrasonic devices that can be purchased at hardware stores or online at various websites that will actually scare away birds. These devices do not, however, protect your flue system from dropped debris or water. A chimney screen could also be installed but requires checking yearly to be sure that no animal has gnawed a hole through it. By far the most recommended method of keeping pests out of the chimney is to install a cap; they are durable and not unsightly.