How Can You Tell If Something Is In Your Chimney

Come Christmas, you will want to make sure your chimney is clear and clean so that Santa can easily slide in and deliver you all the goodies you wished for. All jokes aside, maintaining a clean chimney is much more important than we might think. Sure, nobody’s going to slide down your chimney, but smoke will need to go out, and that will be hard to do if something is obstructing its way.

Now, it is not the easiest thing in the world to know whether there is something lodged in your chimney. It is not easy to climb to the roof and take a good look at a long, dark hole and similarly – you can just look from inside your fireplace.

So, that begs the question – what can you do? How can you tell whether there’s something stuck in your chimney? Fortunately, there is more than one way to know if there is something lodged in there that might be obstructing the smoke flow or causing some other damages to your property. Today, we are going to go through several tips and tell-tale signs so that you can quickly tell whether it is time to give the old chimney sweeper a call.

Weird Sounds Are Coming From The Chimney


If you hear some weird sounds coming from your chimney – don’t be scared. There is little to no chance of it being something scary. More often than not, if there is a sound coming from it, an animal is stuck in there.

Now, in most cases, the animals stuck in your chimney would be a bird, maybe a squirrel, rat, raccoon, or a cat if you happen to have a large tree near your house. Now, if you hear frantic sounds and a lot of flapping or screeching, the best course of action is to call for help. At that point, the animal is stuck, and it can’t go in or out, which means it is going to die in there unless you help it.

Eventually, you are going to have to give someone a call to remove the animal from the chimney, so keep that in mind. Now, we just feel it would be a lot better if they were to extract a live animal rather than a carcass.

Something Smells Strange

Take a wild guess on this one – what is going on if there is a weird smell coming from your fireplace? You’ve guessed it – there’s an animal in there.

Animals tend to inhabit the chimney without getting stuck in there – believe it or not. Now, when that happens, the inside of your fireplace starts smelling like a dumpster. The foul odors build up over time because there are leftover foods, urine, or even animal droppings.

Now, in the event of something smelling horrid – you need to call an animal removal service or someone in a similar business because you most definitely have a dead animal carcass in your chimney.

You Notice Strange Stuff In The Fireplace


According to, people usually don’t even notice the weird smell, nor do they hear noises if there is something lodged in their chimney. Instead, what they do notice are strange things in their fireplaces.

Now, by strange, we mean things that don’t belong there, like feathers, fur, or animal droppings. A pile of animal droppings or random feathers or fur in your fireplace is a clear sign that you have a guest living in the chimney, or at least on top of it.

Once again, it is up to you to give someone a call and have them deal with it. Otherwise, you’ll eventually start noticing those weird smells, and it won’t be from food leftovers.

How To Prevent This From Happening?

Now, if you don’t want to deal with stuff like this – there is only one thing you should do. Okay, two, if we’re completely honest, but one of them is better.

The first thing you could do is closing the damper on the fireplace, so even if an animal such as a raccoon enters your chimney – they won’t be able to get into your home and do additional damage.

However, if you want to prevent stuff like this from even happening in the first place – your best option is to temporarily sealing the chimney. In the months where you don’t use your chimney, you can use an inflatable plug to close up the opening. Now, these are mostly installed from the bottom, but you can just as easily install them at the end of a chimney. Just climb onto the roof, insert the block in the opening, inflate it and leave it there until it is once again time to light up the fireplace.

What Are Some Other Signs That Your Chimney Might Need A Thorough Cleaning?


There are plenty of other reasons to check up on your chimney from time to time.

For instance, if the inside of your house smells like there is a fire burning, even if it isn’t – it’s time for cleaning. Residual particles from burning wood can easily latch onto the walls of your chimney, causing some odor in your living room, as well as some other problems.

One of the problems that it could cause is smoke build-up in the room. If the chimney is clogged from the inside, the hole through which the smoke is supposed to come out will shrink. Naturally, if the smoke can’t go out one way – it’ll go out another. And that’s how you end up with a living room full of smoke and a fire hazard.

Also, if the fire seems to be burning worse than before, it is usually a sign of a clogged or dirty chimney. This time, it’s not about the smoke leaving the fireplace – it’s about the oxygen entering it. Fire needs oxygen, and if your chimney is clogged or dirty, insufficient airflow will suffocate the fire, and that’s not something you’d want on a cold, winter morning.


There you have it. All we can say is to keep an eye out for any of these signs, and if you do notice them – give a chimney sweeper a call and let them handle it.

Written by Philip Goguen

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