Inspecting a fireplace is not one of the most fun things to do during a home inspection.  Will the damper open?  Will a bunch of soot dump down on your head as you are leaning into the unit with your flashlight?  Or…will someone be staring back at you?

That third option isn’t one that normally goes through your head.  But on a recent home inspection, one of our inspectors had an unexpected surprise when two fuzzy ears and a striped face were staring back at him from the other side of the fireplace damper.  Needless to say he quickly close the damper and documented the concern.

In our home inspection reports, we often talk about the need for a chimney to have a cap installed, like the one shown here.  Typically these types of chimney caps serve the purpose of keeping rain water out of the chimney, keeping tree leaves and debris from entering the chimney, and on occasion – keeping critters out of the chimney.

Sometimes the simplest solutions provide the greatest benefit.  A simple and relatively inexpensive fix of installing a proper chimney cap can prevent unwanted surprises, and the next time you go to start a fire and open the damper, you aren’t staring back at two fuzzy ears and a striped face!

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