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What Are Bird Screens?

If you hear a cheep, cheep, cheep coming from your chimney flue, chances are you’re ready to figure out just what type of bird is in there and how you can get it out fast. When birds set up camp in your chimney, their squeaking can get old pretty quickly, and you definitely won’t be able to light a fire anytime soon. That’s why it’s so important to do everything you can to keep them out! We can help you get this done with our bird screens.What Are Bird Screens - Tullahoma TN - A-1 Chimney Specialsts

Bird screens are specially designed to cover your chimney’s opening, so that birds (and any other woodland creatures) can’t make their way in and cause problems. Our sweeps can assess the size and shape of your crown and determine what type of screen would work best for you. When it comes to keeping you and your fireplace safer, the team at A-1 Chimney is the one to trust!

Avoiding Clogs & Buildup

When birds start using your chimney as a home for themselves and their young, it doesn’t take long before you run into problems. One of the biggest issues is their nesting materials clogging things up, leaving you unable to light a fire without smoke and other fumes backing up into your home.

Not only does this make your home smoky, smelly, and uncomfortable, it can also trigger all kinds of health issues for those within it! Carbon monoxide is especially dangerous and hard to detect, and it can be deadly if not caught in an appropriate time period. As you can see, clogs are inconvenient, as well as dangerous, making them something you simply don’t want to mess around with.

If you’re ready to avoid these problems altogether, consider investing in one of our bird screens today. We’re ready to take your call and anxious to help to help you out soon!

Other Issues Birds Bring

Unfortunately, clogs and buildup aren’t the only things you’ll have to deal with when birds invade your chimney. Their nesting materials are also very flammable, making them a fire hazard. The last thing you want to deal with right before fall comes back around is a chimney fire, so let us help you avoid anything that could potentially trigger an issue.

Birds in the chimney also attract pests and insects, and if they get stuck and pass away, you’ll attract even more of these nasty bugs and maggots. Along with this, animals – whether alive or dead – aren’t known for bringing good smells with them, so your home could get pretty stinky in a hurry! All in all, it’s simply not worth it, especially when an easy fix is just a quick phone call away.

Removing Birds

Keep in mind that, before having any birds or their young removed, it’s important to ensure they are not federally protected. Chimney swifts, for example, are protected by law making it illegal to remove them. In these cases, you’ll need to wait until they and their young leave on their own accord, after which you can take preventative measures to ensure they cannot return.

Have questions? We can help. Get in touch with our team today!

All About Chimney Swifts

A chimney swift is a type of bird that lives in various places throughout the eastern half of the United States. They are smaller in size and are known for being more erratic in their movements. They spend the majority of their time in flight, only stopping to rest at nighttime and for nesting.

What Sets Them Apart?Swifts in your chimney - Tullahoma TN - A-1 Chimney Specialist

As a homeowner, you may be asking yourself why these birds stand out among the others. One quality that makes these birds unique is their inability to perch on branches or railings, as most other bird species do. Rather, they must cling to vertical things, such as walls, caves, trees, or chimneys. Since they tend to set up nests inside of chimneys, these birds are well known by chimney sweeps throughout the United States and are ones that chimney owners should be well aware of, in hopes of preventing issues down the line.

What makes chimney swifts especially tricky to deal with is that they are in decline, due to the lack of chimneys in our modern, electricity-powered society. This means that they are now protected under Federal Law so removing them or their nests is illegal. Once they discover your chimney and make a home for themselves, you cannot bother them until they chose to leave.

How To Avoid Chimney Swifts

A surefire way to prevent a chimney swift from settling in your chimney is to get a bird screen installed. If you already have these birds nesting in your chimney, you can wait until they migrate south, and then get a screen installed to ensure that they cannot return. Not only will this step keep chimney swifts and other birds out, it will also prevent the buildup of twigs, leaves, and other nesting materials that could easily catch fire, causing harm to your home, chimney, and family members.

At A-1 Chimney Specialist, our experts are trained to identify whether or not the birds nesting in your chimney are chimney swifts or not, and what further action should be taken once they are discovered. We can advise as far as what the next appropriate steps would be and will be respectful of whatever plan of action you choose to take.

Doing More

If you would like to avoid birds and various nesting materials accumulating in your chimney, yet feel bad about destroying the homes of these creatures, there are steps you can take to make everyone happy. If you research online you will find various opportunities as far as building new homes for these birds, that do not interfere with your regular chimney use.

At A-1 Chimney Specialist we are ready and able to assist with any of your chimney needs. Stop on by, give us a call, or conveniently schedule an appointment online. We are flexible and willing to work with your schedule and budget. Stop hesitating and let us get your chimney ready for regular use, so that you and your family can safely enjoy it for years to come!

Your Chimney And Bird Screens

What You Need To Know

Bird screens are a great way to ensure that animals stay out of your chimney.

Bird screens are a great way to ensure that animals stay out of your chimney.

When you talk with your A-1 Chimney Specialist technicians about your regular and preventative chimney care, we’ll probably focus a lot on preventing moisture from getting into and damaging your system and keeping up with your annual chimney inspections and regular chimney sweeping appointments.

But moisture intrusion and creosote-lined flues aren’t the only things you need to be concerned about when it comes to your chimney. If your chimney doesn’t have a cap or a bird screen and you haven’t yet had a problem with nesting animals, you’re among the lucky few — and from our experience (more than a decade of servicing chimneys), that luck is bound to run out sooner rather than later.

Birds And Other Animals Are Drawn To Your Chimney

When you look at your chimney, you might see a beautiful brick structure that adds to the welcoming aesthetic of your home, or a hard-working system that helps keep dangerous gases and high heat out of your living area while you enjoy a fire. When birds and other animals look at your chimney, they see a protected, warm and cozy place to make a home and warm some little ones. If you don’t have a bird screen, they also see a figurative vacancy sign.

Why Nesting Animals Cause Problems For Chimney Owners

Your chimney was designed to carry the byproducts of combustion up through the flue, via an upward movement of air we call draft. For proper draft to occur, you need — among other things — a properly built and installed flue and a properly installed and sized flue liner, free of cracks and gaps and obstructions that might impede or block the draft. Stuff that flue with errant materials — like, say, bird and animal nests — and your draft is negatively affected. When hot air and gases aren’t expelled properly, heat can build up in the chimney. Since nesting materials tend to be highly combustible things like brush and twigs, it’s easy to see why this situation is worrisome — high heat plus combustible materials, and you might be looking at a chimney fire.

Fire isn’t the only concern with nesting animals in chimneys, though. There are the simple annoyances like sounds and smells, and the health concerns with insects and bacteria. There’s also the possibility that young or sick animals might get into your flue and find themselves unable to get out, which leaves a dead animal in your chimney.

We can help keep those frustrations and others from happening by installing a bird screen.

Bird screens offer effective protection against intruding animals, and the well-made products we install will last through years of enjoying your fireplace or stove, stowaway-free.

If you’d like to learn more about bird screens, or want to make an appointment to have A-1 Chimney Specialist technicians install one on your chimney, just give us a call!

Birds Don’t Belong in Chimneys

Birds Love Chimneys

A common problem homeowners have to face is different types of wildlife coming into their home and causing chaos, and animals in the chimney are no different.  We often worry about burning habits that we forget to check for other things that could go wrong inside of the structure.  However, having a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified company send in a technician to do a chimney sweep will give you an idea of what is in or has been in your chimney.  The people at A-1 Chimney Specialist are ready to save the day when you give the call.

There is one bird in particular that is known for getting into chimneys referred to as a chimney swift.  They are very small birds with slender bodies and long, narrow, curved wings.  They have short tapered tails, a round head, and a wide but nearly invisible bill.  They appear black at a distance but are actually dark gray-brown.

These birds are protected by Federal law, so don't  try and remove them. Let us handle it.

These birds are protected by Federal law, so don’t try and remove them. Let us handle it.

Don’t Smoke Them Out

These birds like to make homes in chimneys and other vertical surfaces that are dim, such as air vents, trees, and wells.  Even though they do have a specific spot for nesting, they are usually very short with time out of air as they are always flying. With their long claws, they are not able to perch like other birds, but can cling to walls.  Chimney Swifts are also able to bathe while they are flying because they just grace the top of the water and rise up as they shake it off.  They also eat airborne insects while flying, such as flies and bees.  The birds have special sticky saliva to secure their nests to the walls of chimneys.

The oldest chimney swift on record was released in Ohio in 1970, but today they are near threatened.  They have been declining over 2 percent per year for many decades.  Part of the problem is that traditional brick chimneys are deteriorating and the modern style is not fit for nesting.  Also, people are putting caps on their unused chimneys where the bird cannot get in.  Depending on when a chimney sweep is administered, it can tear down an existing nest if the birds are in their nesting season.  If you have a chimney swift nest in your chimney, you cannot get rid of it until after the young have left the nest.  Chimney sweeps know not to do a sweep if they know that there are young in the structure as part of the Migratory Bird Act, as they can be fined or penalized.

 

 

Ready for Inspection?

What to Expect During a Chimney Inspection

If you are a responsible chimney owner then you probably already know that your chimney should be inspected and swept at least once a year. You also probably already know what to expect during the process. But what if you are a new chimney owner or possibly have a new appreciation for what it means to be a responsible chimney owner. Well have no fear. Apprehension is common the first time you have someone start looking around all up in your flue. Lucky for you we are here to dispel some of the common myths about chimney inspections and have you looking like a pro when that first chimney sweeper comes calling at your door.

If you have a chimney (working or not) you need an annual cleaning and inspection. This ensures maximum safety and protects the structural integrity of your home.

If you have a chimney (working or not) you need an annual cleaning and inspection. This ensures maximum safety and protects the structural integrity of your home.

The first thing a chimney sweep will do is lay down a tarp or other covering to contain the mess. Chimney inspections can be a messy business but as with many things if there’s no mess it’s not being done right. A chimney sweep will be checking every nook within your chimney to make sure there are no cracks, creosote buildups, or other potential problems. This has a tendency to dislodge a small amount of soot. Thus the tarp. This will contain the mess and keep your living room or den as clean as it was when the sweep arrived. After everything is properly covered the sweep will get to doing the dirty work.

One of the first things a chimney sweep will check is that you are using proper protection. Every chimney should have a liner within it that will contain the nasty byproducts that result from regular use of your fireplace. There are 3 main types of chimney liners (ceramic tile, steel, and cast in place) which will determine exactly what problems the sweep will be checking for. As an example if you have a ceramic tile liner the sweep will be checking for cracked or broken tiles as well as cracks in between the tiles. If a problem is found your chimney sweep will know the best way to deal with it.

In addition to making sure that your byproducts are being properly contained a chimney sweep will check for buildups of creosote that could lead to a costly chimney fire. Creosote will build up within your chimney as the smoke from a fire in your fireplace moves up the chimney and cools. This tar-like gunk is flammable and if enough of it builds up can catch fire. No one wants to have to deal with a burning in their chimney so it is best to be proactive in keeping your chimney clean. A good sweeping once a year will help prevent creosote from becoming a problem.

When many people think of a chimney inspection the envision a soot-covered man peering at the inside of your chimney but what many people do not realize is that just as important is the state of the outside of your chimney. The most common cause of chimney damage is not from fire but is actually from water. Most chimneys are masonry structures and with any masonry structure exposed to wind and rain it can develop cracks. If water gets into these cracks it can freeze and thaw causing expansion and contraction that can do a lot of damage to your structure. There is also the issue of mold and mildew that can be a result of water seepage. It is important to identify these structural blemishes early. If a crack is left unchecked it can spread and before you know it you can have a serious structural situation on your hands. Cracks in the masonry can also lead to less efficiency with regards to the operation of your chimney as they allow air and moisture to get inside. There are several processes with which to repair problems of this nature and your chimney sweep will know best which to perform should the situation call for it.

Depending on the nature of the inspection will depend just how in-depth the chimney sweep will go. There are 3 types of inspection. The first will deal mostly with the easily accessible features of a chimney and is most commonly performed as part of seasonal maintenance. The second level requires the opening of access panels and may involve the chimney sweep going into the attic or other areas to check the masonry. The third level involves actual removal of parts of the chimney and is reserved for if a level 2 inspection reveals intense damage that needs to be immediately addressed. In most cases a level 3 inspection is not necessary.

So whether your fireplace is worn from years of use or brand new and ready to start getting its burn on it is important to have your flue inspected. Chimneys come in all shapes and sizes and can have issues as unique as the structure itself so make sure that you are taking proper care of yours. Don’t let the fear of what an inspection might find stop you from having it done. In the long run you will be glad you did!

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