The Danger of Birds Nests In Your Chimney or Flue

Ben from Chimneasy explains why you should always prioritise maintaining a clean chimney, as well as ensuring your carbon monoxide alarm is in date and correctly positioned.

A Bird’s Nest Discovery

Mr _______ from Heathfield contacted Chimneasy after his Carbon monoxide alarm had sounded and the emergency gas engineer who attended advised him that he had a potential bird nest in his chimney flue. The gas engineer isolated the gas and removed the gas fire which revealed twigs, sticks and other various items you would find in a bird nest. He then advised Mr _______ to contact a Chimney Sweep who would be able to remove bird nests and thoroughly inspect the chimney and flue.

After booking an appointment with Chimneasy, Ben arrived at the customers home and promptly got to work. Ben laid out his protective sheets and covered nearby furniture. He then proceeded to have a look up the chimney with his mirror and torch. It was clear to see that there was a significant blockage caused by birds. Mr _______ informed Ben of the ordeal of his carbon monoxide alarm sounding. At first, he believed it was a faulty alarm, as he had not heard it activate before. He used his initiative and went out to buy a new alarm. Later that evening he once again, lit his fire and to his surprise it started activating. This caused him great concern and panic so he immediately turned off the fire, opened the windows and doors and called the emergency gas engineer once outside. This was definitely the right thing to do and is the correct procedure that you should follow if your alarm sounds. Ben has since advised Mr _______ that he should have followed this procedure when the first alarm sounded.

Ben’s Strategy for Removing Bird Nests

Ben continued with setting up and preparing for the chimney to be swept. He got his specialist tools that were required to remove the bird nest. As the nest was of significant size, Ben took a belt and braces approach to sealing the chimney opening. He did this with magnets and tape. The specialist birds nest head was put on the first Rodtech chimney rod and then the first rod was placed in the chimney then a second at this point it is important to finish up the sealing and get set up for the sweep process, the vacuum cleaning was put in place and the sweeping began, it only took one more rod to get to the nest! Ben then connected his drill and rotary power swept the first section. Ben was constantly checking that no soot or debris was leaking out of the seal. Fortunately, this was not the case. After the third rod was all the way up and back down with no resistance, it was time to open a bit of the seal and remove the first bit of the nest (see pictures).

This procedure was then repeated on each rod. On rod seven something didn’t seem right, there was too much resistance just to be a nest. Ben attempted to pull the rods back down but it was stuck! After lots of pulling back and forward the rods then unjammed (phew!!). Ben then opened the fireplace seal and cleared out the rest of the nest, as he brought the last rod down he had a big surprise (see picture). The birds had pulled chicken wire into the nest along with some wire. The chicken wire was probably used on the top of the pot to stop the birds but this obviously did not work. After untangling the wire and cutting it off with wire cutters, it was time for a bit of a clean-up. Ben then proceeded to get his specialist CCTV equipment, attached the CCTV camera to the specialist ‘camera sweep head’ and started to look up the chimney. All was well and the inspection revealed that the nest was completely gone and the chimney flue was lovely and clean.

Final Checks and Recommendations

Ben then proceeded to place two fire lighters in the chimney and as they were warming up the flue, Ben thought it was a good idea to take his tools back to the van and have a sip of his cup of tea provided by the customer (always appreciated). After a few minutes Ben got a smoke pellet and placed it in the fireplace. Once lit, lots of smoke was produced. It all went up the chimney flue with no issues and showed that the chimney had a very good draw on it and it was working as it should. After this stage, it was complete clean up time. Ben vacuumed all around the fireplace and the hearth and was happy that it was all as clean as when he first arrived.

Ben then advised the customer that to prevent this happening in the future, a good quality bird cowl should be fitted. The customer welcomed the advice and thanked Ben.


Always get your chimney swept at least once a year to ensure it is clean and safe for use. Ensure that you use a trained professional that can issue certificate at the end of the sweep. Check your carbon monoxide alarm weekly to ensure it is protecting you, your loved ones and your property.

For professional Chimney sweep services please call Ben on 01435 408 100.