Santa's Friend Chimney Service

Santa's Friend Chimney Service Blog

Chimney Swifts in Your Chimney

Chimney swifts in chimneys are a common problem because the migratory path of the birds is so far ranging. It extends from Canada across the entire eastern half of the United States at points, changing as they fly north and south every spring and fall. They LOVE chimneys, which is how they got their name and why they are such a common problem.

Chimney Swift - Jackson MS - Santa's Friend Chimney

Unfriendly Skies

That leads to what you can do about it if you live along their chimney-hopping routes. The first thing is to be concerned about their migratory path regardless of the frequency with which you see them fly in your skies. They are difficult to distinguish from other ‘long narrow cylindrical bodies’ up there, and we never see everything that happens above our heads.

If you are not sure whether or not their migration involves your neighborhood, it is important to find out. You can contact either fire safety professionals or certified chimney sweeps in your area…both will know. If you know you are in their line of fire, so to speak, it is equally important not to discount their presence just because you have never seen one.

Restrictions for Frequent Flyers

To repeat, chimney swifts LOVE chimneys.  If yours is unprotected, there is a 50-50 chance they will check it out, at some point during their migration. If your home is within their migratory path, you need a chimney cap or a bird screen, and it needs to be strong. If not, you risk the swifts choosing your home as their next vacation spot.

If they are already in your chimney, their removal is restricted by law and must be performed by someone with a Federal permit to do so. The legal protections for chimney swifts cover their nests as well, so even if the bird is gone, you cannot simply remove the nest and debris it left behind. Again, certified chimney sweeps in your area will have those permits and are also both trained and experienced in their removal.

By Jim Robinson on May 11th, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

What Causes Smokey Fireplaces?

Most of us have fireplaces because we love the ambiance they create in our homes. If there were ever anything to spoil that moment, it would be smoke coming back into the home. There are varieties of reasons you may experience smoke coming back into the home when the fireplace is in use. Here are some of the major causes:

Smokey Fireplace - Jackson MS - Santa's Friend Chimney

  • Smoke During Storms and Windy Days – in many cases, this is merely because there is no chimney cap in place or the chimney cap is damaged. The wind is not blocked and is now able to come back down into the flue and does not allow proper ventilation.
  • Smokes Only When Starting a Fire – there are quite a few things that can cause this to happen. A window may be cracked, appliances may be running (such as the dryer or an exhaust fan that will draw air down the flue using its own exhaust), or it may just be the cold air outside that forces the warm air back down inside the chimney.
  • Closed Damper – surprisingly, this happens far more often that you would think. Either people become confused which position is open and which is closed or they simply forget to open the damper altogether.
  • Dirty Chimney – did you have the chimney inspected before the season started? If not, there may be debris of possibly a bird’s nest or dead animal stuck in the chimney.
  • Additions to the Home – this can happen quite frequently, especially for DIYers. They add an addition to the home over the summer and never account for the draft of the fireplace. The added construction may cause an obstruction or the current flue is simply not capable of handling the new load.

In addition to the causes mentioned above, sometimes smoke is caused by factors outside of the home. For instance, you may have a tree in the yard that has gradually grown over the top of the chimney. This could prevent airflow and may need to be trimmed. If you are truly baffled, call in a professional to evaluate the situation and offer their expertise to solve the problem.

By Jim Robinson on February 27th, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment