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  • Think about a Chimney Damper to Keep Those Pesky Critters Out Before Winter

    Think about a Chimney Damper to Keep Those Pesky Critters Out Before Winter

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    If you’re a homeowner living in Milwaukee, Chicago, or anywhere in the surrounding areas, there’s a good chance you’re already preparing for the colder months ahead. If you haven’t done so already, it’s important to inspect and clean your chimney before your first fire of the season. What’s more, it’s important to install a good damper or ensure yours is in good repair to prevent the pest infestations that are common this time of year.

    Why Pests Choose Chimneys

    Each year as the temperatures start falling, animals and insects of all kinds start making their way into warmer places. Mice will often find any way they can to get inside your home and away from the freezing temperatures, and other animals like birds and squirrels often try to build nests in your chimney where they can stay warm and out of the elements. There are numerous things you can do to prevent these infestations, but of these, installing a chimney damper and ensuring its proper operation is the most important.

    What a Chimney Damper Does

    A chimney damper exists to help you control airflow through your fireplace and block out the elements when you aren’t using it. When the damper is closed, it blocks the air outside from coming down through your chimney, and when it is open, it allows smoke and combustion gases to escape. Though a damper alone can’t stop all pests (some insects can get around it), it does make it more difficult for animals like birds and squirrels to call your chimney home. What’s more, if these animals do manage to nest in your chimney before you’ve opened your damper for the first time this season, these nests could prevent your damper from operating properly.

    Keeping Critters Out

    A damper is important for keeping larger animals out of your fireplace, but it is not the only necessary component. Your chimney’s crown and exterior should be in good shape and free of cracks that could allow insects inside. You should also ensure that your chimney cap is properly installed and in good repair, and if you haven’t done so already, consider installing a wire mesh that can keep smaller animals and larger insects from making their way inside. Finally, to further deter animals and bugs, make sure that water cannot pool around the opening of your chimney; this will often attract animals looking for something to drink.

    Fireplace Doors Do Not Replace Good Dampers

    Finally, it is vital to remember that even the best glass fireplace doors on the market cannot replace a damper in good working order. Bugs and animals can still get down inside the chimney and make their way into your home as soon as those doors open. Fireplace doors are ideal for keeping debris and drafts where they belong, and they do serve a purpose. But, it’s the combination of your chimney cap and damper that will do the majority of the pest control on your behalf.

    If you are unsure about the quality of your damper, or if you need to have your damper issues repaired, now is the time to do so – before the cold weather settles in. Taking care of these issues now will help you enjoy your fireplace all throughout the winter season without interruption. Contact us to talk about your chimney dampers today.

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