Preventing Wildlife Entry Through Chimneys

Animals that typically enter through chimneys:

  • Raccoons: People will commonly complain of hearing chirping coming from the fireplace in the Spring. This is usually the result of a female raccoon rearing her young above the damper.
  • Birds: ducks, owls, pigeons, starlings, chimney swifts find their way into chimneys. Under normal circumstances, only chimney swifts (a federally protected bird) can exit a chimney.
  • Learn how to inspect a chimney for wildlife

Chimney Capping

It will save more than the life of your chimney!

Contrary to public belief, only raccoons, chimney swifts and bats can extricate themselves from a chimney flue. This means that chimneys are a death trap for all the other animals. Countless starlings, pigeons, gray squirrels and other wildlife, die an agonizing death from falling into chimney's. Protect wildlife by capping your chimney.

If the life of an animal doesn't move you, then we suggest, you look at how a chimney cap protects your chimney's crown from rain damage. A proper chimney can add years to your chimney by deflecting the damaging rain which cracks the crown.

Can you still use the chimney after capping? Absolutely! Capping still allows dangerous gasses to escape.

Things to remember...

broken chimney cap 1. Cap all chimney flues with Stainless Steel Caps

Don't think that because you capped your chimney years ago that it is still protected. Take a look at the image on the left. Note the brown dinge to it? That is rust. You see for years, chimney caps were made of galvanized steel.

Caution: chimneys may have more than one flue. Be sure that all flues are properly screened with a professionally manufactured chimney cap.

how not to cap a chimney 2. Do not cover chimney flue with hardware cloth.

Hardware cloth not only rusts but it runs the risk of catching snow which could block the upward movement of gasses and thereby force the gases back into your home. This is especially true for gas furnaces. Gas furnaces throw off a great deal of water vapor which could freeze on the mesh and force the Carbon monoxide back into the house. To learn more, obtain a copy of the National Fire Protection Associations, NFPA 211 Chimneys, Fireplaces, Vents and Solid Fuel-Burning Appliances 1992 edition and look at chapter 1-11. Their address is NFPA 1 Batterymarch Park, P.O. Box 9101, Quincy, MA 02269-9101

chimney cap 3. Measure your chimney flue

The flue is the orange tile that sticks out of the chimney at the external sides. Your flue will need to rise at least one inch above the surrounding chimney crown in order for these caps to be installed. If you don't have a one inch high flue lip, then you will need to purchase legs, which will hold the cap in place by inserting the legs into the chimney. The figures don't have to be exact. For example if the external sides of your chimney flue are 8.5" x 8.5" then you will order 9"x9" cap. There are three standard size chimney caps 9x9, 9x13, and 13x13.

big top chimney If you have two flues side by side and they are closer than 6 inches apart, you will need to install a multi-flue cap (see gif image at the right). Only with a multi-flue cap can you prevent the roof's of the caps from clashing with each other. To measure for this type of cap, you must a. make sure the concrete portion around your flues is secure (this portion of the chimney is called the crown). b. you must measure the width and length
Skip Navigation LinksHome > Solutions > Structures > Chimneys