There are several kinds of animals that seek shelter in chimneys. Squirrels are one example of animals that can take up residence in your chimney. While it can be annoying or even scary to have a critter running around your chimney, don’t panic. Today’s blog discusses everything you need to know about squirrels in your chimney and how to solve the issue. 

How do Squirrels Get Into Chimneys?

There are a few ways squirrels can end up in your chimney. One way is simply by accident. Squirrels can fall from trees or other high points into chimneys and become stuck. Other reasons squirrels end up in chimneys include hiding from predators or looking for a safe place to build a nest. Sometimes, squirrels can get trapped in chimneys and need assistance getting out. 

How do I Know I Have a Squirrel in my Chimney? 

A major indicator of animals in the chimney is frantic scratching noises, especially during the day. Squirrels tend to be more active during the day, whereas other animals are more nocturnal. Another sign of squirrel activity is waste or nesting materials falling into the fireplace from the chimney. 

The Dangers of Squirrels in Your Chimney 

If you notice squirrels in your chimney, it is important to have them removed because they can carry diseases and bacteria. Also, nesting materials can ignite and cause chimney fires. In some cases, squirrels can fall out of the chimney and into the house. This can frighten them, and they can damage furniture and wiring in the home. Although squirrels can be dangerous, don’t panic! Instead, call an experienced chimney technician to safely remove and release squirrels. 

Removing Squirrels from Your Chimney 

As mentioned above, the best method of removing squirrels from your chimney is to contact a chimney technician. However, some people insist on going the DIY route. If this is the direction you want to take, follow these tips to get squirrels out of your chimney. 

Don’t EVER try to “smoke out” an animal in your chimney. Animals in chimneys often ended up there by accident and have no way to get out even if they want to. Lighting a fire in the fireplace can harm and even kill the trapped animals and any babies they may have with them. This method is inhumane. 

Instead, try playing the tv or radio in your house loudly. If the squirrel is able to escape, it will do so due to the noise. If the squirrel is trapped, you can try providing assistance to help it get out. Lower a long rope down the chimney. The squirrel will be able to climb up the rope and out of the chimney. 

Usually, though, it is best to just call a chimney technician to humanely remove the animals. 

Preventing Animals from Getting Into Your Chimney 

It can be frustrating dealing with pesky animals in your chimney. Thankfully, though, there is a method of keeping animals from getting into your chimney in the first place. Installing a chimney cap will make your chimney inaccessible to animals. A chimney cap is made of metal and sits on top of the flue entrance. It has openings small enough to prevent animals from getting through while also allowing the smoke and gases from your fireplace to be vented.

Chimney Cap

This is what a typical chimney cap looks like.


Dealing with squirrels in your chimney can be stressful. However, the experienced technicians at Sootmaster can solve your problem quickly and easily. If you notice signs of squirrels in your chimney, call us today.

chimney cap

Caps, Covers, & Damper Repairs

Living in the south, mainly along the Gulf Coast, then you know there are lost of rain storms. Actually, we get more rain than anywhere else in the country, including Seattle. The ranking of the most amount of rainfall goes as follows: Mobile, Pensacola, and Seattle in 41st.

This region has such a big deal about rain when it comes to chimneys and fireplaces. As the Chimney Safety Institute of America explains, “water, not fire, causes most chimney damage.”

“Whether masonry or factory-built,” says the CSIA, “prolonged water exposure can result in cracks or gaps in chimneys where creosote can collect and increase the risk of fire or where noxious gases can escape into your home and expose your family to carbon monoxide.”

Fireplaces, Chimneys and Leaks

In basic terms the problem with fireplace and chimney leakage is that water combines with the creosote that remains from fires to form an acidic mixture. Over time that mixture can eat out the silica in the mortar joints.
Once the joints are no longer secure, moisture — remember all that Gulf Coast rain — can get into the house through the chimney. For example, if water comes in through the chimney and is released under the shingles it can lead to the need for a roof replacement.

Also, without proper sealing, heat from fires can travel into areas which should not be exposed to heat, dry out wood, and in some cases actually cause the wood to catch on fire.

In fact, according to a staff report by the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, there are about 22,000 fires a year which are associated with fireplaces, chimneys and chimney connectors. Such fires can cause substantial damage and in some cases may lead to fatalities.

Also, without caps it does happen that birds and animals get into fireplaces. Sometimes nests are built and in some cases animals unable to get out die inside chimneys and fireplaces. Noises and odors can result from such problems.

Caps, Covers and Dampers

You can protect your household with caps, covers and dampers. Caps with spark arresters are devices that go over the flue. They keep out both moisture and animals, plus they help prevent sparks from leaving the chimney. Covers are at the top of the chimney, go around the flue, and protect against moisture. Dampers are inside the chimney itself. They can help create a proper draft to achieve the best fire, plus when closed they prevent animals from getting into the house.

Cap, Cover and Damper Services

We can install, repair and maintain caps, covers and dampers. We inspect such devices as part of our basic chimney sweep services. We have many devices in stock and can recommend the equipment which is right for your fireplace and chimney, whether it is masonry or metal, new or historic.

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