How to Remove Dead Animals from the Chimney

In cases where the an animal dies in the chimney, you will need to remove this dead animal and sanitize the area before using the fireplace again. Lighting a fire will spread the dead animal smell throughout your home and increase your chances of spreading any bacteria. Chimneys are tricky and can have varying degrees of damage over time. In some cases, not using the chimney for a long period of time can encourage wildlife to make a home inside there, and for a number of reasons, it may die and leave you a horrible mess to clean up.

animal carcass
decomposing animal

Safety Gear for Removing Dead Animals From the Chimney

Use eye and face protecting when inspecting the chimney. Professionals may use lights and mirrors to look inside the chimney without sticking their head or face in the fireplace itself.

Locating the Carcass

A carcass in chimney is most likely at the bottom of the chimney in the hearth area, but can sometimes be up higher in the chimney if there are nesting materials, other debris from chimney damage, or a problem with flue mechanisms blocking the way. Be careful with damaged chimneys because some of this material could literally come down on your head. Do a thorough inspection of the outside of the chimney to verify points of damage before trying to dislodge any materials inside the chimney itself.

animal carcass
decomposing animal

Chimneys with Flue Problems

Different types of chimneys can present different problems. Some are designed poorly and and have gaps between flue mechanisms where some animals can die and be unreachable without taking apart the chimney. Know how your chimney is built and how it works before you start looking for dead carcasses above the hearth area. If you're lucky, you will only have to clean the hearth area.

Cleaning Dead Animals in Chimney Hearth

Once the animal carcass has been removed from the bottom of the fireplace, any liquids or insects left behind will need to be removed. After they are removed, a special cleaner is used by wildlife sanitation specialists to break down the hazardous materials left behind by decomposing animals and any feces that were there. After this process, the smell will be begin to disappate from the home because the source of the smell is gone. It still helps to open a few windows and use deoderizer in the area aroudn the chimney as well.

Further Reading