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Are Birds Nesting in Your Chimney? We Can Help!

Are Birds Nesting in Your Chimney? We Can Help!

Some people love the sounds of birds chirping in the spring; however, when you hear the sounds of birds coming from your chimney, you may feel the opposite emotion to love! Not many people enjoy listening to bird noises inside their homes, but if a family of birds have nested within your chimney, you will have to get used to it for a few months until they leave on their own to fly to their winter home. Since some birds like chimney swifts are protected by federal law under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, it is illegal to remove nesting birds, according to Chimneys.com. When they do leave, they will leave their nests behind, which can be hazardous. Weststar Chimney Sweeps has 17 years of experience with dealing with birds in chimneys across the San Diego area, and we are proud to offer nest removal services. We can also give you some advice on sharing your home with a family of birds if one has nested in your chimney, and we can prevent these birds from coming back next year to move back into your home.

Why do birds nest in chimneys? What kinds of problems do they cause?Are Birds Nesting in Your Chimney We Can Help! - San Diego CA - Weststar Chimney Sweeps

Birds like to take up residence in chimneys because so many trees have been cut down for development and construction reasons, and chimneys are the next best thing to trees for the shelter needed to build a nest. Not only can birds make loud and obnoxious noises at times, but they carry diseases, like histoplasmosis, which causes blindness. They also may become trapped and even die inside your chimney, which can be an unfortunate and smelly situation. Learning to live in a home with a family of birds for a few months can be difficult, but once your family is used to the birds, it really is not as bad as it seems at first. One of the biggest problems birds cause inside your chimney actually happens after they leave. When they fly away to their winter home, their nests will be left behind, and the nesting materials can lead to a couple of hazardous situations. The straw, leaves, sticks, and other debris used to build the nests are all very flammable and create the risk of a chimney fire. The nesting materials also block the flue, which forces the toxic gases from combustion, including carbon monoxide, back into your home. Weststar Chimney Sweeps can remove every bit of the nests that remain in your chimney once the birds have left and prevent these hazardous situations from occurring.

How can Weststar Chimney Sweeps prevent birds from getting back into my chimney next year?

Many birds will return to where they last nested, so if you have or have had a family of birds living in your chimney, you will definitely want to take action to keep them from coming back to share your home again. We recommend having a good-quality chimney cap professionally installed at the top of your chimney to prevent their return next year. You will need a cap that is equipped with mesh metal sides to keep them from entering the chimney when they come back to try to nest again. We are proud to offer a wide variety of these types of chimney caps and can help you select one for us to install on your chimney. The chimney cap will also keep water from rain from leaking into your chimney — it is an important part of your chimney!

Protect your chimney from birds getting inside to nest. Contact us at Weststar Chimney Sweeps if you are dealing with birds in your chimney as we can help.

Choosing the Best Chimney Cap to Prevent Water Leaks

One of your best defenses against water penetration and animal invasions of your chimney, a chimney cap sits on top of your chimney’s opening. With several different types of chimney caps available, how do you know which cap is the right fit for the flue of your chimney? At Weststar Chimney Sweeps, we are experienced with fitting all types of chimney caps, even customized caps, and we know the importance of proper installation. We would like to tell you a bit about the different kinds of chimney caps and what you should know about selecting the right kind for your chimney to prevent damaging water leaks.

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The main thing to consider when deciding which chimney cap is right for your chimney is the shape of your flue. Chimney caps come in different shapes to fit each type of flue. These shapes include:

ROUND FLUES

Whether you have a clay, masonry, or metal flue, you can find a round chimney cap that can either attach the the outside of the flue or slip inside the flue. Round chimney caps are made from an assortment of materials including copper, stainless steel, and galvanized steel. Some round flue liners require chimney caps that must be inserted inside the chimney flue, such as round flexible flue liners and round solid pack flue liners.

SQUARE AND RECTANGULAR FLUES

The most commonly shaped flue, square and rectangular chimney caps can be attached to the flue, or, if you have a chimney crown, there are chimney caps in these sizes that can attach to the crown. Made from the same metals as the round chimney caps, the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) recommends you choose a chimney cap constructed from a sturdy, durable, and rust- and corrosion-resistant material to ensure a long-lasting cap. For chimney caps that attach to a chimney crown, you will need to choose from top mounted chimney caps.

OVAL FLUES

Unless you have a custom-shaped oval chimney cap made for you by our technicians at Weststar Chimney Sweeps, you will need to look at rectangular shaped chimney caps that will cover the exterior of your flue.. When you look inside this type of cap, you can see how the corner tabs or interior ledges will accommodate oval flues.

There are other considerations other than preventing water leaks to think about when choosing a chimney cap. These include:

MESH SPARK ARRESTOR

To prevent animals from entering your chimney to take up a new residence and to keep sparks from flying out of your chimney and possibly starting a fire, your chimney cap should be equipped with wire mesh sides. Be sure the mesh openings are between ¾ to ½ inches in size to keep animals out, to contain large pieces of hot debris and ashes, and to allow toxic gases to escape.

COMBINATION OF A CHIMNEY CAP AND DAMPER

You can now find top sealing chimney caps that do double duty as a protective cap and as a damper. Perfect for new home constructions and for older chimneys in need of numerous repairs, the damper is located on the cap. When it is sealed closed, the air loss from your home is reduced by 90%. When the damper is opened, the wire mesh on the chimney cap protects your chimney from invading animals and prevents stray sparks from exiting.

Want to know more about the different types of chimney caps? Contact Weststar Chimney Sweeps today to talk to our expert staff about your many options.

That’s a Funny-looking Bird!

“I don’t need a chimney cap.  Why should I have a cap”.  Well…recently, I got a call about birds in the chimney. The canine friend of the family would not quit barking at the fireplace.  Not birds but a raccoon instead. Oh my.
A chimney cap that is properly-sized and installed can prevent a face like this one sticking out of your chimney.

A chimney cap that is properly-sized and installed can prevent a face like this one sticking out of your chimney.

Keeping Water Out of Your Chimney

Water Leaks In the Chimney Are Never Good!

When most people think about problems that could occur with their chimney, they imagine animals moving in or leaves preventing proper ventilation. What they do not consider is what might happen if excessive amounts of water accumulate within the chimney. In fact, water leaks in the chimney can present some of the most dangerous situations in a chimney. Every homeowner should be aware of the risks and make sure that their chimney is safe and dry. And if there is water making its way in, we can repair it.

A properly installed chimney cap and fitted flashing goes a long way toward waterproofing your chimney.

A properly installed chimney cap and fitted flashing goes a long way toward waterproofing your chimney.

When the chimney becomes wet, it will quickly weaken and begin to crumble. Homeowners should keep in mind that this is true not only of a masonry fireplace but also of a prefabricated model. Once it starts to crumble, it is only a matter of time before the fireplace starts to collapse. This damage can quickly spread and cause structural damage to the home that will go much father than the fireplace.

Another thing to keep in mind when water enters the chimney is that it will freeze and melt along with the weather. This means that the material in the chimney will expand and contract each time. The result will be cracks in the chimney, which not only compromise the stability of the structure but can cause a great deal of other dangers. This is often the condition that starts a domino effect of dangerous chimney issues.

Once there are cracks in the chimney, the heat barrier is not as effective as it should be. This means that the structure of the home is getting much hotter than it should. In addition, it means that combustible gasses travel into the home instead of leaving the way that they should. The result is a dangerous combination of circumstances that can very quickly turn into a devastating house fire.

In many cases, moisture gets into the chimney becomes there are problems with the flue liner. Older homes may not have liners at all and, if this is the case, one needs to be installed before the fireplace is used again. Metal liners tend to hold up better than clay or tile models but even they are not foolproof if they are not installed properly. It is imperative that there are no spaces at all between the flue liner and the actual wall of the chimney. Even the smallest space could allow water in, starting a whole host of problems.

The problem is that the average homeowner has no way of knowing when there is water inside of their chimney. Installing a chimney cap is a great way to avoid many of these issues because it keeps rain and snow out of the chimney. However, it is still important to have a certified chimney sweep inspect the chimney each year. They will be able to tell easily if there is a problem with the liner or if water is entering the chimney in any other way. This should be done every year, either at the beginning or end of the fireplace season.

There are many issues that can arise with a chimney, which is why proper chimney maintenance is so important. Water in the chimney may not seem like a big deal but it can actually be the start of many problems. The result may be significant structural damage to the home or even a house fire. To avoid these issues, install a chimney cap and have the chimney professionally inspected each year.