Home Improvements

What To Do If An Animal Dies In Your Chimney?

When it’s cold outside, the chimney helps toxic air escape that’s produced as a byproduct of burning wood. However, it is common for animals and birds to enter and take up accommodation, which can sometimes lead to their death. Not only is it frustrating but also unpleasant as the smell does not go away unless the animal is removed. It may appear simple, but it needs some thought. You will need to do a chimney inspection and follow the right procedure to remove the dead animal body from your chimney.

How Do Animals Get In Chimneys?

In winter season, it is not only you who seek warmth and coziness. Certain animals like mice and raccoons are also on the hunt for warm places. It’s not uncommon for smaller animals to end up inside the chimney. Although chimneys are closed and prevent such animals from creeping in, if the chimney happens to be old or damaged, it makes it a lot easier for them to enter.

If you live in a region that experiences extreme weather conditions mostly throughout the year, there is a chance that your chimney gets damaged during the process. One of the reasons you need to regularly inspect the chimney is to ensure the chimney cap is in good physical shape.

With time, as the chimney becomes old, cracks, leakages, damage, etc. leave enough space for animals to make their way inside. You might have thought that a small hole or crack might not allow these animals to enter but you never know. Raccoons and mice are intelligent creatures and eventually learn how to enter.

Furthermore, these animals are also shy and clever at the same time. They avoid human traffic and mostly get down to work at night when there is the least possibility of disturbance. So, if you are not in the habit of inspecting your chimney, they have a better chance of making room for themselves.

However, once they have made their way inside, sometimes, they can’t find the way out when needed. This burns them out and leads to death. So, if you are experiencing animals crawling inside your chimney, you will need to find the vulnerable area and fix it.

How To Remove A Dead Animal?

If you notice that your chimney has started to smell pretty bad all of a sudden, it most likely means there is a dead animal or bird inside. As mentioned earlier, the bad odor can make it difficult for you to breathe and on top of that, the decomposition of the body can invite unwanted pests leading to diseases and illness.

You have two ways to remove a dead animal from the chimney. If you feel the body is near the bottom of the chimney, you will need to open the damper all the way and use a flashlight to look in the area above the firebox.

But, if the body happens to be closer to the top, you will need to climb the roof and use a hook to catch the body. Make sure you are careful while climbing the roof. If it has recently rained or snowed, you will need to wait a while as the surface could be slippery.

Furthermore, wear protective gloves and equipment to keep your exposed body parts safe from the dead body as well as injuries. However, if the body is caught between the flue and the surrounding brick, you will not be able to access it. So, you will need to consult chimney cleaning services Bowie.

In addition to that, if you intend to perform the task on your own, ask a friend or a family member to give you a helping hand. If the temperature outside is freezing and you have kids and elderly living in the house, you might have no other way but to do it yourself.

Therefore, ensure safety and remove any obstacle in the way before climbing the roof. You might think a little bit of snow won’t hurt but it can easily cause slippage and lead to serious injuries.

How To Get Rid Of Dead Animal Smell From Your Chimney And Fireplace?

Removing the body of a dead animal is one thing and does not mean you will get rid of the bad smell as well. If the animal has been dead inside the chimney for a while, the odor will most probably stay as the body decomposes and the fluids leak into the surrounding area.

As time goes by, the odor will turn worse and will make breathing difficult. Fortunately, removing bodily fluids and bad odors from the chimney is not that tricky. All you need to do is grab some off-the-shelf products and use a mop. If you cannot visit the nearby store due to some reason, you can use cornstarch, cola, or any degreaser.

Spray the liquid on the stain and let it sit for a while. Then, remove the stain but the smell might remain. The best way to do this is by using crumbled newspapers. Stuff it inside the chimney and replace it every 15 minutes.

Repeat the process until the smell goes away. At most, it might take an hour. In the end, dispose of the newspaper so that it is not accessible to anyone.

How To Prevent Animals And Birds From Entering Your Chimney?

To prevent birds and animals from taking accommodation in your is by scheduling professional maintenance. Although, you can perform chimney inspection on your own as well but not without carrying risks. Even a slight mistake can make you slip and fall leading to permanent injuries.

If you have done this before, you should be fine. However, if you’re doing this for the first time, you need to be extra careful. Furthermore, the roof design also contributes to the risk associated. If the design happens to be complicated or steep, you should hire someone.

The reason is that experts have the appropriate tools, skills, and experience to perform the task properly. Moreover, they know exactly where to look in such cases. Chimney maintenance is not just limited to inspection but also repairing and replacing any leaks, damages, or cracks.

A chimney comprises several different components that help the wood burn properly and allow a way for the toxic gasses to escape. If there is a problem with the chimney cap or the structure itself, the expert will fix it as part of the maintenance procedure.

This helps you avoid any complications just when you need the fireplace the most. With time, as the wood burns, soot accumulation takes place which can result in fires as well. The accumulation needs to be removed to make space for the gasses to escape.

If ignored, the accumulation turns hard and stubborn making it a lot more difficult for the experts to remove. And, during the summer season when the fireplace is not used, you should make sure to cover it to prevent animals from entering.

Once the winter season sets in, remove the covers and call in an expert to perform an inspection before you can use the fireplace.


Removing dead animals from your chimney can be a dreadful experience. However, you can avoid it by covering the chimney with a chimney cap and performing regular inspections. Moreover, hire chimney sweep services Ellicott City for yearly cleaning and maintenance. This will keep your chimney running effortlessly for years to come.