About Animal Guards And Spark Arrestors

If you’ve ever had an animal nest inside your chimney, you know the experience is an unpleasant one. Between the scuttling sounds and the incessant tweets, your living space starts to sound a lot like the great outdoors. This gets even more real when a mother gives birth to a whole litter of babies inside your chimney. And, as you can imagine, when an animal dies inside the chimney, the smell is terrible. Furthermore, these nests cause blockages that are a very real fire hazard once it’s time for you to light a fire in your woodstove or fireplace. Not only can these nests catch fire, but they can hinder the flow of smoke and toxic gases out of your chimney so draft is affected, making your chimney less efficient and putting your loved ones at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning.

We’ve seen critters like raccoons, opossums, mice, bats, and squirrels make a home inside our customers’ chimneys here in the Hudson Valley. Birds, too, often decide that the chimney is a perfectly dry and safe place to nest. There’s even a type of bird known as the chimney swift that prefers nesting on vertical walls and thus enjoys nesting in chimneys above all other places. We still come across the chimney swift quite frequently, but these bat-like birds are dwindling in number, so they are now protected by law. This means that if chimney swifts are found inside your chimney, we are prohibited from removing them. If you’d prefer not to have these birds—or any others—calling your chimney home, it’s best to prevent them from getting inside your chimney rather than calling someone to remove them later.

Stainless steel animal guard for chimney also known as a spark arrestor
Top Mount Energy Saving Damper with built in animal guard

How To Keep Animals Out Of Your Chimney

The very best way to keep birds and animals out of your chimney is to have an animal guard (or spark arrestor) installed atop your chimney. Many of the top-sealing dampers  and chimney caps we mount for our customers already have this protection built in, but we may also be able to add one to your existing cap or damper if there’s not one already.

These animal guards serve a dual purpose as spark arrestors, working to keeping errant sparks from escaping your chimney. Sparks should remain inside of your chimney, while smoke flows out freely. It’s especially important to have a spark arrestor in place during the dry fall months, when nearby leaves can so easily catch fire. A spark arrestor/animal guard can also help keep leaves, sticks, and other debris from flying into your chimney.

Call All Seasons Chimney, Inc. About Animals Inside Your Chimney

Whatever you do, don’t try to light a fire if you think there may be nests inside your chimney! You won’t be able to burn away the nests or “smoke out” the animals. These nests need to be professionally removed for your family’s safety. We also sometimes find nesting animals in our customers’ dryer ducts, which we are available to clean as well.

If there is an animal inside of your chimney, contact All Seasons Chimney today at (845) 567-1217 or schedule an appointment online.


Prefabricated chimneys are part of our professional chimney installation services. We would love to help you with all your fireplace or chimney needs, so give us a call.