How to Remove Squirrel in the Fireplace

Squirrels in chimney and fireplace

Do you have a squirrel in the fireplace?  Hear a squirrel in your chimney?  Step by step, here’s how to get the squirrel out and keep both your home and the squirrel safe.

Squirrel in Fireplace

Photo courtesy Phil Torres

 

How to Get the Squirrel in the Fireplace Out of the House

Step One – Squirrel Containment:

Close the glass fireplace doors.  If you don’t have glass doors on your fireplace, wedge the fireplace screen up against the opening so the squirrel can only exit via the chimney instead of into the room.

Just in case things do not go as smoothly as you hope, close all interior doors going into the room with the fireplace.

Step Two – Noise:

Make noise.  Lots of it!  The Humane Society claims your furry guest will try to escape the noise by going up the chimney if he possibly can.  Once he is above the damper, close it so he doesn’t re-enter the fireplace. [Click here to see how to close the damper.]

Step Three – Rope Exit:

If the squirrel can’t make his way up your chimney unaided, you can help him.  Tie one end of a three-quarter inch diameter or larger rope around your chimney.  Then drop the other end of the rope down the chimney.  Be sure to use a rope long enough to reach your furry pal.  Within a few daylight hours, your squirrel should make his exit up your chimney via the rope.

When the squirrel is gone, retrieve your rope.  Proceed to Step Five.

Step Four – Trap and Release:

If step three doesn’t succeed, you have either the Do-It-Yourself Option or the Professional Option.

  • The Do-It-Yourself Option

Buy or borrow a humane live trap.  Bait it with peanut butter.

In the best case scenario, you will capture the squirrel in the live trap without his escaping into the room.  But just in case he bolts as you are placing the trap in the fireplace, open an exterior door or window directly across from the fireplace, within the squirrel’s view.

Slowly, quietly open the fireplace doors or remove the fireplace screen and set the live trap in the fireplace.  Usually, the squirrel will retreat to a back corner of the firebox as you do this.

Now exit the room, closing the door behind you, and wait for the squirrel to go for the peanut butter.  When he does, take the trap outdoors.  Stand behind the live trap and wedge the trap door open.  In most cases your squirrel will immediately make a dash for freedom.

  • The Professional Option

County animal control officers, private animal and wildlife removal companies, pest companies, and even some chimney sweeps have humane live traps and will do the squirrel removal for you.

Step Five – Prevent Squirrel Re-entry:

Prevent a squirrel-in-fireplace replay by installing a chimney cap as soon possible.  Studies show that when one squirrel is removed from a home or yard, another one will fairly quickly take over his territory.

A chimney cap goes on top of your chimney or flue and prevents squirrels, bats, raccoons, birds, and other animals from entering your home through your chimney.  It also keeps rain and snow out of your chimney.

Our Chimney Cap Easy Measure Guide enables you to measure for the correct type of chimney cap for your style of flue.  And our chimney cap installation tips makes installing your chimney topper easy.

Final Note: How NOT to Remove the Squirrel in the Fireplace or Chimney

Do not try to scare the squirrel out of the fireplace or chimney by lighting a fire.  If it is burned alive, your home will have a dreadful odor that is extremely difficult to get rid of.

Posted in Safety, Using Your Fireplace Tagged with:

Halloween Questions

Halloween Questions

QUESTION:  According to the National Retail Federation, what was the most popular adult Halloween costume?

Pirate? Witch? Vampire? Which one is the best seller adult Halloween costume?

Pirate? Witch? Vampire? Which one is the best seller adult Halloween costume? Answer below!

ANSWER: In 2012, the best-selling adult costumse at Halloween were Witch Costumes!

Witch costumes were the best-selling adult Halloween costumes in 2012.

Witch costumes were the best-selling adult Halloween costumes in 2012 according to the National Retail Federation.

Americans spent an amazing $287,000,000,000 (that’s billions!) on Halloween costumes last year.

QUESTION: How Can I Decorate the Fireplace for Halloween?

Adults, children, and even pets are not the only things getting “dressed up” for Halloween. When decorating for October 31st, don’t forget the fireplace.

ANSWER:  Here are 3 ways to dress up your fireplace for Halloween:

  • The fireplace is the place in your home that was created to hold fire, so it is a safe place to set your jack o’lantern if you are using lit candles.
Jack o'lantern with lit candle on fireplace grate.

Place the Jack o’lantern in the fireplace: Quick, easy way to decorate the focal point of the room and also a safe place for lit candles.

Black Cat Andirons

Black Cat Andirons add an instant Halloween vibe to your fireplace.

  • Decorate the fireplace mantel for Halloween or, for an unused fireplace, add the spooky decorations into the firebox.
Photo by Maya Marzolf.

Skeletons and skulls decorate this fireplace. Photo by Maya Marzolf of La Grenier.

 QUESTION: How can I share photos of

  • my costumed Halloweeners posed in front of a fireplace, or
  • my fireplace decorated for Halloween?

ANSWER: We’d love to share your photos of this fireplace-weather holiday! Just leave the URL of your photo in the Comments below.

Posted in Decorating, Holidays

The FireplaceMall Guide to Firewood

The wood you burn in your fireplace has the most significant effect on how well your fire burns. In particular, how well seasoned, or dry, firewood is will determine how easy your fire lights, how hot it burns, and how much smoke it produces. The species of tree used for firewood will also affect your fire.

Whether your buy firewood or collect it yourself, you need to know how to tell if wood is properly seasoned, what species to look for, and how to estimate how much wood you’ll need for winter. Read on in this Guide to Firewood to learn all those things so you can have the best wood fires possible this winter.

How can I tell if firewood is seasoned?

Seasoned firewood has been allowed to dry after being cut and split, Freshly cut firewood contains a huge amount of water, so instead of burning and putting off heat, your fire’s energy goes to boiling off all that water. Most woods take six months to a year to dry sufficiently, depending on climate. Seasoned firewood burns hotter and with less smoke than unseasoned wood.

So how can you tell if firewood is seasoned, or dry? Use these tips to find out:

  • Well-seasoned firewood is darker and grayer in color than fresh wood.
  • When knocked together, seasoned logs will make a hollow “clunk” sound.
  • Cracks will appear in the ends of the logs.
  • Bark on seasoned logs will be loose and start to fall off.

This video from the Burn Wise project explains what to look for and how to season your firewood:

What species of wood do I want, and how do I know what I’m getting?

The best types of wood to burn are typically hardwoods. Red oak, white oak, and beech all make excellent firewood, and typically put off the most heat per log. Birch, hickory, and sugar maple are also excellent choices. Species availability will depend heavily on your location.

Identifying tree species once they’ve been cut can be difficult. Essentially all you have to go on is the bark. If you’re harvesting the firewood yourself, identification is much easier since you’ll have leaves and branch patterns to use. For this guide, we’ll go over how to identify white oak and American beech. For more identification help, check out a tree ID guide like The Sibley to Trees.

How to identify white oak:

white oak

White oak, photo via Steve Russell at TreeBarkID.com

White oak is one of the most common oaks in the mid-west and east. White oaks can become very large, and the branches often stretch out at wide angles parallel to the ground, creating a big canopy. The bark, as shown to the right, is often grey in color, with shallow fissures. White oak bark often begins to form “scales” that overlap, creating the effect you see in the photo.

White oak leaves have rounded lobes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to Identify American Beech:

With it’s smooth, pale grey bark, American Beech is one of the easiest trees to identify. It is a common tree in eastern North America. The beech nut is easily recognizable with its spiked husk. Beach nuts are edible, but bitter-tasting.

When should I get my firewood?

Because firewood needs at least six months to season, we recommend buying or gathering your firewood in early Spring. There are a number of other good reasons to get your firewood in Spring. Check out our list here.

How much firewood do I need?

Firewood is typically sold by the cord. A cord of firewood is a neatly-stacked pile measuring 4 feet tall, 2 feet wide, and 16 feet long (128 cubic feet).

One cord of firewood is 4 feet tall, 2 feet wide, and 16 feet long.

If you live in an area with cold winters and use a wood stove to heat your home, expect to use 5 cords a year or more. If you use wood fires to supplement your heating, 2 cords may be sufficient. For occasional fires, half a cord may be plenty. If this is your first season burning wood, ask your neighbors and friends how much firewood they use to get an idea of how much you’ll need.

How should I stack my firewood?

So you just got a full cord of firewood. Now what? Let it sit in a big pile on your lawn? Not a chance. You want to stack your firewood to keep it dry, keep termites out, and keep it neat. Click here for our guide on stacking firewood.

Posted in Using Your Fireplace Tagged with:

First Fire of the Season

Warm toes by the First Fire of the Season


That first cool evening or chilly day is often celebrated with the first fire of the season.  The inaugural lighting of the fireplace, wood stove, or even wood-burning furnace is a definite marker of the seasonal change.

Tips for the Season’s First Fire:

  • It is best to wait until there is at least a 20 degree difference in the indoor and outdoor temperatures before lighting a fireplace fire.  For example, if the interior temperature is 70 degrees, wait until is is 50 degrees or cooler outside before starting a wood-burning fire.
  • When there is less than a 20 degree difference, more creosote can build-up in your flue.
  • Also, a less than 20 degree temperature difference can cause some fireplaces not to draft as well as they should, so smoke gets into the room from the fireplace.
  • Have a certified chimney sweep inspect your chimney,  chimney cap, flue and firebox before using it for the first time each season.  If necessary, have it cleaned.
  • Use well-season hardwoods to prevent creosote build-up.

Some FireplaceMall.com friends have kindly shared their photos of their First Fires of the Season.  Whether you have already lit this season’s first fire or are still contemplating it, enjoy the warm and cozy photos below.

First Fireplace Fires of the Season

Warm toes by the First Fire of the Season

Warming happy toes by the First Fire of the Season.  Photo courtesy of Danielle G. Parker

The white fireplace, dark walls and spot lighting create striking contrasts for this first fire of the season.

The white fireplace, dark walls and spot lighting create striking contrasts for this First Fire of the Season. Photo courtesy Melissa Stephens.

Monday Night Football, Malbec wine, and the First Fire of the Season.

Monday Night Football, Malbec wine, and the First Fire of the Season.  Photo courtesy of NPascale1.

Even the Hearth Hares Enjoy the First  Fire of the Season

Even the hearth hares enjoy the First Fire of the Season in this awesome rustic fireplace.  Photo courtesy of Julesy10.

Candles Accent the First Fire of the Season

LED lights within wicker hearts atop the mantel and candles accent the First Fire of the Season in this striking fireplace. Photo courtesy of Beccy Bryant.

Tucker Enjoys the First Fire of the Season...And Every Fire of the Season

Tucker enjoys not only the First Fire of the Season but also every fire of the season. Photo courtesy Valerie Horneij

Behind these fireplace doors Glows the First Fire of the Season.

Behind these fireplace doors glows the First Fire of the Season.  Photo courtesy of Rocky Rhodes.

A Warm, Rich Glow of This First Fire of the Season Suffuses This Room with Appeal.

The warm, rich radiance of this First Fire of the Season suffuses the room with appeal. Photo courtesy BobbiJ.

Tilly gives her approval to this First Fire of the Season in a fireplace just 20 minutes from Stonehenge in the UK.

Tilly gives her approval to this First Fire of the Season in a fireplace just 20 minutes from Stonehenge in the UK. Photo courtesy of Sara Willman.

Zelda contemplates the First Fire of the Season.

Zelda contemplates the First Fire of the Season. Photo courtesy Jackie D. Fuller.

 First Wood Stove Fires of the Season

First Wood Stove Fire of the Season

Photo courtesy lululangran

First Wood Stove Fire of the Season

Photo courtesy Hailey Deline

 

First Upstairs Fire of the Season at The Happy Pear in Ireland

First upstairs wood stove Fire of the Season at The Happy Pear in Ireland. Photo courtesy of The Happy Pear.

A Gracious Stone Hearth is the Setting for This First Wood Stove Fire of the Season.

A gracious stone hearth is the setting for this First Wood Stove Fire of the Season. Photo courtesy PaigePender1.

 

 First Wood-Burning Furnace Fire of the Season

First Fire of the Season in a Wood-Burning Furnace.

First Fire of the Season in a wood-burning furnace. Photo courtesy of Joel W. Smith.

 

For some, autumn commences when football and hockey seasons start or when the World Series begins.  For others, autumn comes when leaves start to turn colors, pine cones fall,  cool weather vegetables such as pumpkins and squash mature, and mums bloom in the garden.  In households with children, Fall has officially dawned when sweaters replace swimsuits and yellow school buses start the days.  But for some of us, autumn doesn’t truly kick off until the first fire of the season graces our fireplace or wood stove.

 

 

 

 

Posted in Using Your Fireplace Tagged with: ,

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