Your favorite Christmas present is the big screen TV you got.  The installation guys have finally come and hung it over the fireplace.  You settle in on the couch to watch the latest game, and all of a sudden you hear a scratching noise.  THAT’S not part of the announcers instant replay patter!  What’s that rattling?  Is the TV falling?  You get up to investigate and find that the noises are coming from INSIDE your chimney.  No, your house probably isn’t haunted.  The more likely explanation is that some small animal has decided that your chimney is a nice big hollow tree and climbed in to shelter for the rest of the winter.  Now what do you do?  You have 2 options – you can make sure the damper is closed, close the glass doors, and wait until spring for them to leave, or you can get them out of there!

There are ways that you can get them out by yourself.  First – NEVER start a fire to try and smoke them out.  You will kill the animal.  Most methods involve irritating the animal enough that it will climb back up the chimney and leave.  You can try placing a bowl of ammonia in the fireplace.  The smell may cause them to leave.  Make sure to close the glass doors to keep the ammonia smell out of the house.  You can play loud music next to the fireplace.  Understand though that it may not be able to climb back up, especially if you have a metal flue.  If you don’t mind getting on the roof, you can hang a long rope down the chimney to give the animal something to climb back up.

Critters Living in Your Chimney
Do you think I am that easily captured?

If it won’t go back up the chimney, you can tempt it to come down.  Open the damper and put a humane live trap at the fireplace opening.  Leave the fireplace doors open.  It may take a while, but your uninvited guest may climb down the chimney and into the live trap.  Make sure that they can’t get around the live trap, and into your house.  Nothing will ruin your day faster than a scared, ash covered squirrel running around your living room.

Of course, the easiest way to remove an animal from your chimney is to call either wildlife control or a pest control company.

Once the animal is out of your chimney, call a chimney sweep to put a chimney cap on.  Chimney caps are usually made of stainless or galvanized steel or copper.  They should also have a wire mesh barrier that not only prevents animals and birds from getting in, but also prevents sparks from getting out.  Chimney caps are fairly inexpensive, and well worth it. They also keep rain, which can destroy the chimney, from getting in.

Not sure if you have a cap on your chimney?  Dr. SOOT Chimney Sweep.  We will inspect your chimney, and install a cap if you need one.

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