Has your chimney become a nesting home for chimney swifts? Protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, it is illegal to remove these birds from your chimney by a professional chimney cleaner like Old Hat Chimney Service. Fortunately, these birds will leave on their own in early fall to spend the winter in South America. Once the chimney swift family has vacated your chimney, the National Chimney Sweep Guild (NCSG) recommends you install a chimney cap on top of your chimney to keep these birds from returning in the spring. Since chimney swift season is upon us, Old Hat Chimney Service would like to tell you a bit more about these birds and about what sort of chimney cap options you have so that you can keep your chimney free from these birds taking up residence there again.
What Are Chimney Swifts?
The most common species of swifts found east of the Rocky Mountains, chimney swifts arrive in the United States in mid-March, and many of these birds choose chimneys to nest inside to breed during the summer because their usual homes of large hollow trees have been cut down. While these baby birds can be noisy, especially when being fed by the parents, chimney swifts are extremely beneficial as a family of these birds will eat over 12,000 flying insects, including mosquitoes, gnats, termites, and biting flies, a day. Once the cooler season of fall begins, these birds instinctively leave their nests to spend the winter in Peru. However, chimney swifts tend to return to the same nesting spots year after year, which is why installing a chimney cap is so important to keep these birds from coming back to your chimney in the spring.
How Does a Chimney Cap Protect Chimney Swifts and Other Wildlife from Entering My Chimney?
A chimney cap is equipped with sides of metal mesh screening that keeps birds, squirrels, raccoons, and other animals from being able to come into your chimney. When looking at chimney caps, be sure the mesh is small enough to keep birds and animals out while still having large enough spaces for the dangerous and toxic by-products of combustion to escape out of your chimney.
What Are Other Benefits of a Chimney Cap?
One of the most important reasons to install a chimney cap is to protect your chimney from damaging water penetration. If water gets into the masonry work of your chimney, it can cause potentially devastating and expensive damage to the structure of your chimney. Chimney caps also help to increase draft in windy locations and to extend the life of your chimney crown or chase cover by keeping rain and snow from collecting on top, which can cause erosion damage.
What Types of Chimney Caps Does Old Hat Chimney Service Sell and Install?
We offer chimney caps made from stainless steel, aluminum, galvanized steel, and copper. We recommend stainless steel chimney caps as they are the most durable and resist rusting and corrosion. Professional installation of chimney caps is essential to ensure your cap fits correctly on top of your chimney. Another option you have is a top-sealing damper that acts as both a chimney cap and a damper.
Need to install a chimney cap to keep the chimney swifts from returning to your home in the spring? Contact Old Hat Chimney Service today to talk with our staff about picking out the best chimney cap for you.