As you’re sitting on your couch, sipping your coffee and enjoying the warm fire in your fireplace, you suddenly hear a loud scratching sound coming from your chimney. You jump up and run to the fireplace, only to see a squirrel frantically trying to climb back up the chimney.
You can’t believe it. How did a squirrel even get into your chimney in the first place? And more importantly, how are you going to get it out?
Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to keep squirrels out of your chimney for good.
The Dangers of Squirrels in Your Chimney
Before we dive into the solutions, let’s take a look at the potential dangers of having squirrels in your chimney.
First of all, squirrels can cause a lot of damage to your chimney and fireplace. They can chew on the bricks and mortar, creating holes and cracks that can let in cold air and even water during rainstorms. Squirrels can also build nests in your chimney, which can block the flue and prevent proper ventilation. This can lead to carbon monoxide buildup and create a fire hazard.
Not to mention, squirrels can carry diseases and parasites that can be harmful to humans. And if a squirrel falls down your chimney and into your home, it can cause quite a ruckus as it frantically tries to escape.
In short, it’s important to get rid of any squirrels in your chimney as soon as possible to prevent damage and protect your family’s health and safety.
How Do Squirrels Get into Chimneys in the First Place?
Now that you know the dangers of squirrels in your chimney, you’re probably wondering how they even get in there in the first place.
There are a few ways that squirrels can enter your chimney:
- The most common way is through the chimney cap. If you don’t have a chimney cap or if it’s damaged or loose, squirrels can easily climb up the chimney and make their way into your home.
- Squirrels can also get into your chimney through holes or cracks in the chimney itself. This is more likely to happen if your chimney is old or in disrepair.
- In some cases, squirrels may be able to squeeze through the gap between the chimney and the roof. This can happen if the chimney flashing (the metal strip that seals the gap between the chimney and the roof) is loose or missing.
How to Keep Squirrels Out of Your Chimney
Now that you know how squirrels can get into your chimney, let’s talk about how to keep them out. Here are a few effective solutions:
Solution #1: Install a Chimney Cap
The easiest and most effective way to keep squirrels out of your chimney is to install a chimney cap. A chimney cap is a metal cover that fits over the top of your chimney and prevents animals from getting in. It also helps to keep out rain and debris, which can damage your chimney over time.
There are several types of chimney caps to choose from, so you’ll want to choose one that’s suitable for your needs. For example, some chimney caps have mesh sides to keep out small animals, while others have solid sides to keep out larger animals like birds and raccoons.
When shopping for a chimney cap, make sure to measure the size of your chimney and choose a cap that’s the right size. You’ll also want to consider the material of the chimney cap. Stainless steel is a popular choice because it’s durable and resistant to rust, but you can also find caps made of copper, aluminum, and other materials.
If you’re not comfortable installing a chimney cap yourself, you can hire a professional chimney sweep to do it for you. They will have the tools and expertise to properly install the cap and ensure that it fits securely.
Solution #2: Repair or Replace Damaged Flashing
If you suspect that squirrels are getting into your chimney through the gap between the chimney and the roof, you’ll want to check the flashing. Flashing is the metal strip that seals the gap between the chimney and the roof, and it’s an important part of your roofing system.
If the flashing is loose or missing, it’s easy for squirrels (and other animals) to squeeze through the gap and get into your chimney. To fix this problem, you’ll need to repair or replace the flashing.
If the flashing is simply loose, you can try tightening it up with some screws. If the flashing is damaged or missing, you’ll need to replace it. This is a job best left to a professional roofer, as it can be a bit tricky to get the flashing properly sealed.
Solution #3: Repair or Replace Damaged Chimney Bricks and Mortar
If you’ve noticed holes or cracks in your chimney, it’s possible that squirrels (or other animals) have been chewing on the bricks or mortar. This can create a serious hazard, as it can allow cold air and water to enter your home.
To fix this problem, you’ll need to repair or replace the damaged bricks and mortar. This is a job that you may be able to do yourself if you’re handy, but it can be a bit labor-intensive. Alternatively, you can hire a mason to do the job for you.
Solution #4: Use a Chimney Balloon
A chimney balloon is a large, inflatable balloon that fits inside your chimney and blocks off the opening. It’s a quick and easy way to keep squirrels (and other animals) out of your chimney, and it’s also a great way to block drafts and save energy.
To use a chimney balloon, simply inflate the balloon and insert it into your chimney. The balloon will fill up the space and prevent any animals from getting in. When you’re ready to use your fireplace again, simply remove the balloon and deflate it for storage.
Solution #5: Use a Chimney Cover or Screen
If you’re not a fan of chimney caps or balloons, you might consider using a chimney cover or screen. A chimney cover is a metal or wooden frame that fits over the opening of your chimney, while a chimney screen is a metal mesh that fits inside the chimney.
Both options can help to keep squirrels and other animals out of your chimney, and they also help to prevent drafts and keep out rain and debris. Just be sure to choose a cover or screen that’s the right size for your chimney, and make sure it’s securely fastened.
If you’ve been dealing with squirrels in your chimney, we hope this guide has helped you understand the problem and find a solution. With a little bit of effort, you can keep squirrels out of your chimney for good and enjoy a warm, cozy fire in your fireplace without any unwanted visitors.