Company Blog

Chimneys are NOT for the birds!

Keep these guys out of your chimney with a chimney cap!

The Daffodils and Judas Trees (also known as “love tree”) have popped; Azaleas are peeking out; soon the Dogwoods will bloom and Spring will be in full swing.   For those who have been using their fireplace or stove in the fall and winter, now, after you shut things down for the warm weather, is an excellent time to schedule the necessary regular maintenance.  And it’s almost too late (but not quite) to get that other necessary item, especially if you don’t want unwanted house guests this summer:   the chimney cap.

Remember:  if the chimney swifts take up residence, we cannot legally evict them.  They are protected and must be allowed to complete the nesting process over the summer.  We will not be able to put on a chimney cap until the nesting process is complete.

What is a chimney cap?

The chimney cap sits atop the chimney. Generally made with stainless steel or copper, it serves a few different purposes, not the least of which is keeping birds out of your chimney.   Examples of chimney caps can be seen at

Birds return to our region every spring looking for a safe place to raise the next generation.   The interior of your chimney is as good a place as any and better than some.  However, it can cause some serious health hazards for you.

  • A blocked chimney is a broken chimney
    • The function of the chimney is to allow smoke and other toxic gases created by burning a fire to escape the home. If an animal builds a nest that blocks the chimney, the function of the structure is suddenly lost.  With the path of the fumes blocked by the animal and debris, the poisonous gases have no option except to flow back in your home. The debris can also catch fire and can lead to a damaging chimney fire.  You will most likely want to avoid nests in the chimney between now and next burning season.
  • Hidden dangers
    • Smoke produced by fire contains a wide range of dangerous chemicals; you may know something about  the two deadliest.
      • Carbon monoxide is an invisible, tasteless, odorless gas produced during combustion, or any type of fuel (wood, coal, kerosene and gas). If carbon monoxide cannot escape through the chimney because of a bird and its nest, the gas can enter and build up inside the home.  This can result in death and/or other harmful side-effects.
      • Creosote is another harmful chemical that results from burning fires. This tarlike substance is suspended in the smoke that exits the chimney as a by-product of burning fires and clings to nearly everything as it cools. If smoke spills back into your home due to a chimney obstruction, it will likely make a mess and you may inadvertently inhale it.   It could cause health problems.

All things considered, keeping birds (and the possible nesting messes) out of your chimney is in the best interest of you and your family’s health.

Hurry before it’s too late for this summer and install a chimney cap that can keep birds out.  This very sensible option is a very effective solution for blocking bird (and other varmint) access to your chimney.  If you live in upstate South Carolina, contact Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps today to discuss capping options.


Two for One!

OK folks, the most common question we were asked at the Greenville, SC, Home & Garden Show at the TD Convention Center just last month was:

“I’ve got birds in my chimney. When is a good time to have my chimney capped to keep those birds out next year?”

We’ve talked about this before, but it’s such a common question that it’s worth discussing again. I’m going to expand on it here today — with a little bit of a different spit.

The Good News

The birds are getting ready to leave and go South for the winter. October is a GREAT time to address this issue! Do it NOW and you won’t have to try and remember in March or April, only to realize that the birds have already taken up residence for another summer. Learn more about the life cycle of chimney swifts here.

The Better News

You can “kill two birds with one stone” (pardon the pun here). If you choose a full-coverage, stainless steel chimney cap with an animal guard AND a lid that extends out past the sides of your chimney, you will be keeping out the birds AND protecting your chimney from water intrusion. While a single flue cap will keep out the pesky chimney swifts and other critters and the messes they make, it will not provide much protection against water seeping through the crown wash (the sloped part at the top of your chimney). Birds are noisy, messy pests, but water intrusion is a silent threat to your chimney. Excessive water entry into a chimney encourages damaging mold, mildew, and moss growth on your chimney exterior, and can lead to premature deterioration of the structure. Plus, lots of chimneys stink, but wet chimneys always smell worse.


image of water stained chimney image of chimney with multi flue cap image of chimney with a custom cap

Want to know more about how water can negatively affect your masonry chimney? Click here. To learn more about how those of us at Blue Sky Chimney Sweeps|Bless Your Hearth can help you protect your chimney from birds and water entry, click here.