Fireplaces are amazing additions to any room, but the last thing you want to see are some unwelcome guests making it their home. Mice are notorious for crawling through dark and small crevices, but can mice get into a fireplace?
Mice can get into fireplaces, as they nest in small crevices or loose tiling. Some easy tells are strange smells around your fireplace or when you hear scratching from the inside. You can remedy this by installing a mesh-covered chimney cap and getting professional help to keep your living space rodent-free.
Keep reading to learn some procedures on how best to avoid mice getting into/ living in your fireplace, how to deal with the situation if it’s already affecting you, as well as some DIY tips on how to fix things yourself!
Can Mice Get In Fireplaces?
Fireplaces are a common choice for mice – they’re essentially viewed as hollow trees. Mice seek shelter from predators and the harsh elements outside. Being agile and good climbers can make it easy for them to nest in your fireplace, usually entering through cracks or taking advantage of poorly fitted bricks.
Mice are notorious for being able to fit through every small little crack, and that means they’re also able to get inside your fireplace. But with mice inside your fireplace come some health and safety-related problems (we’ll go more in-depth into these problems a little later on).
Luckily, there are several fairly noticeable signs to figure out if you have any mice neighbors.
- Smells – you may begin to pick up on various odors coming from your fireplace. This can be the result of a build up of mice droppings, decomposing dead carcasses, and even an odd smell coming from burning mice nests.
- Noises – as they scamper around, you may here little scratching noises. This is especially true at night, as mice are nocturnal and therefore most active at night.
- Visible signs – as well as smelling them, you may even see their droppings around the fireplace, and around about the house too. Less likely, but possible, is also damage to exposed wire (the result of being chewed through) or to woodwork/ skirting boards.
Of course, the most obvious sign is if you actually see one running around. Although mice are pretty good at hiding, sometimes you can spot them.
How To Keep Mice Out Of Your Fireplace
Whether you’re trying to actively evict mice you currently have or are taking preventative measures, there are simple ways to do both.
To get rid of mice that have already found a way in, it is probably best, and definitely easiest, to get professional pest removal help. If you think you may have a fully-fledged infestation – definitely get a professional in, as that is not a DIY job.
To stop mice from getting into your fireplace, you can install a mesh-covered chimney cap, which will prevent mice from climbing or falling into your fireplace. While a chimney cap covers one main access point, you will also need to ensure that any loose bricks and tiles are repaired and any cracks or crevices are covered properly to avoid entry through other access points.
Whether a precautionary job or because you’ve faced the nightmare of mice in your fireplace already, these steps should be taken in any scenario to save you future trouble.
If you already have mice and are trying to figure out how they are getting into your fireplace, you can lay flour or talcum powder around the area and look out for disturbances that may indicate where mice are moving most.
Another preventive measure is getting a cat. Mice hate cats, so having a cat run around the house will be one of the most effective and animal-friendly ways of ensuring your house and fireplace stay mouse-free.
Problems With Having Mice Inside Your Fireplace
Besides the obvious unwanted nature of your rodent guests, there are legitimate reasons – beyond your disliking of them – why you should get rid of them as soon as possible. Some important health and safety-related issues are:
- Nests built by mice can cause obstruction to the ventilation of your fireplace, in turn allowing carbon monoxide to infiltrate your living space, affecting your family and any pets.
- The longer mice are left, the more time they have to breed and grow in number. Eventually, what was a small minor issue can turn into an infestation, multiplying in number. Not only does the problem become larger, but mice will start to die, causing further inconvenience as well as an unpleasant odor for the eight weeks they take to decompose.
- Mice droppings can end up in your fireplace, adding to the fuel lighting your fire, unbeknown to you. Being flammable, you could be over-fuelling your fires without knowing it.
- They will cause damage over time, chewing wiring, woodwork, insulation and duct work, especially when babies are born.
- Everyone knows rodents are not known for their cleanliness, and mice do indeed carry infections in some cases. These can be transmitted through bites, but also through their faeces.
Can You Remove Mice From Your Fireplace Yourself?
Snap-traps should be available at your nearest hardware store, and these are advisable. Avoid poison, especially with children or other pets in the house, because this could cause the mice to die inside your fireplace, making it difficult to extract their dead bodies afterward. Once caught, use gloves to dispose of the mice outside immediately, sealing them up to keep them away from other pets.
Handling the situation yourself will take longer than getting the help of a professional, but it is an option nonetheless. Stick to these guidelines, though, and don’t try to simply light your fireplace to smoke them out; this will not work and will only harm the mice, potentially killing them inside your chimney.
Assuming the other preventative measures have been taken, there are some final steps you can take to absolutely mouse-proof the place:
- Have your chimney inspected to make sure you haven’t missed any cracks in the mortar
- Have your chimney cleaned each year
- If applicable, allow trees to grow by your chimney to further block access to your fireplace