Please cap that your chimney

By
Real Estate Broker/Owner with Respect Realty LLC 200311024

Home owners unless you want someone else living with you that you may not be able to get rid of, by law, and then please cap your chimney.

I came across a vacant home that one of my buyers was thinking about purchasing, and I heard something in the basement. It was coming from an old oil heater vent that went in to the chimney. Not only was the top of the chimney not capped, but neither was where the oil furnace vent entered into the chimney.

When I took my flashlight and shined it into the hole, I couldn't see anything. But, when I shined my flashlight and took a picture, I saw all I needed to see. A family of birds had decided that was a good place to put a nest. There were signs that the birds had also made it in to the house, leaving who knows what kinds of diseases behind when they came in.

                                                  

Here is the worst part about it, when my buyers said they wanted to buy the home, I told them they need to check with the city to see if they can get rid of the birds. They found out that they couldn't or they could get cited for disturbing a natural bird's nest. They would have to wait until the birds vacated on their own, then they could clean up the area and cap everything off. That could be months and they were not even allowed to cap off the inside of the home either.

I told the seller's agent what had happened, sent the pictures and the response from the city, and he passed it on to the seller, who was none too pleased to find out this news. The fine could be up to $1,000 per bird from what my buyer told me. Not sure I would want to test to see if the city was watching me after that.

Capping your chimney also can keep water out that can damage the bricks of old fireplaces, and keep yourchimney in good working order for many more years to come.

For more information on simple things that you can do to protect your home from wildlife moving in with you, please feel free to contact me anytime.

 

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Topic:
Home Improvement
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Oregon Washington County Beaverton
Tags:
inspection
chimney cap
city codes and birds

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Rainmaker
338,932
Ann Cummings
RE/MAX Shoreline - NH and Maine - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Real Estate Preferrable Agent

Hi Todd - I learned the visiting critter lesson the hard way in my house.  I had a squirrel fall down one flue into my chimney (thank goodness the damper was closed!) and had to have an animal control guy come remove him.  I had that flue capped right after that.  Then last year, I had a red squirrel fall down the other flue, fight his way out of the furnace vent and got loose in my basement - yikes!!!  The animal control guy had to come back and put a couple traps down in the basement to get that little guy.  And then I capped the other flue.  Why on earth I didn't do both at the same time I couldn't tell you!  But if I move from here and the next house has an uncapped chimney, guess what I'll be having done right away?!?!?!?

Ann

Aug 09, 2007 10:57 PM #7
Ambassador
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Rosemary Brooks
BMC Real Estate - 209-910-3706 - Stockton, CA
The Mother & Daughter Realty Team

Something to think about, no no I don't want to think that one of those little guys would be in my chimney or anywhere else.  I can't wait until it makes sense to start a fire and run all the "possibilities" out.  Thanks for the tip. 

Being a woman and having to pay for everything all the time is not easy.  So I also view this as a tip that will cost me money.  Money this "starving agent" don't have, but will probably be able to find it on my next "egg hunt".  OK ok I'll stop being negative. I was about to get on a roll.

Aug 09, 2007 11:41 PM #8
Rainer
497,950
Becky Troutt
No longer practicing real estate as of 2008. - Bradenton, FL
Ewww...what a mess.  And you can't cap off the inside either?  Good grief.  I've not heard of someone having this problem before.  I've heard of problems with bats though....LOL
Aug 09, 2007 11:48 PM #9
Rainer
130,402
Al Maxwell
Keller Williams - Marietta, GA
Real Estate Agent

Good post. This is one area that we frequently overlook! I'll keep this in mind in the future.

.

Aug 10, 2007 12:59 AM #10
Rainmaker
590,725
Jim Lee
RE/MAX Shoreline - Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth NH Realtor, Portsmouth, NH

We found a mummified Owl in the chimney we bought several years ago. It was evident it had been there through several fires and was thoroughly cooked through and through.

A chimney cap is a "must have" item which is not too terribly expensive even if you have to get someone to install it for you.

Aug 10, 2007 02:00 AM #11
Rainmaker
72,124
Jeff Link
Asheville, NC
"Your Asheville Real Estate Link"
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Respect Realty LLC
Respect Realty LLC - Milwaukie, OR
Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate

Maureen - You are lucky you don't have the fines, but I would still check.

Ann - Someone was trying to help you teach your clients a lesson through you or it only rains squirrels instead of cats and dogs in your area.

Rosemary - If you are going to start a fire think positive - I'm sure bluejays taste like chicken when cooked. - lol

Becky - Bats in the house would not be good. Love to watch them fly at night, but not in my house.

Al - After this on a my water feature skylight (Didn't have flashing) there are a lot of things I look for. I've even started to carry a small ladder to look for mold in the attic.

Jim - mmm Owl (LOL)- PETA - please don't call I don't really eat owl.

Jeff - Thanks for the links. I had no idea how bad those things were, I've never used one. But, I'm starting to wonder why they are even legal now.

 

 

Aug 10, 2007 03:34 AM #13
Rainer
13,086
British Homes Group
British Homes Group - Kissimmee, FL
Wow...interesting.....one of those situations you don't think about!!
Aug 10, 2007 03:38 AM #14
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To the British Home Group - You think about it real quick when it is your home! - lol

Aug 10, 2007 03:43 AM #15
Rainmaker
671,470
Jim & Maria Hart
Brand Name Real Estate - Charleston, SC
Charleston, SC Real Estate
I don't have a chimney to worry about right now, but I can remember when we were kids that a family of birds took up home in my parents chimney.  Since we were little, we liked hearing the chirping, but my parents capped that up so fast right after they left.
Aug 10, 2007 04:45 AM #16
Rainer
11,848
Sarah Miller-Legg
Meridian Star Realty - Carlsbad, CA
Whoa! Unbelievable!  It also makes a good point of advising Sellers why it's important not to forget about routinely checking on their properties...vacant or not. Had the Seller in this case done so, he could've eliminated the potential problem before the birds nested there.
Aug 10, 2007 06:12 AM #17
Rainmaker
72,124
Jeff Link
Asheville, NC
"Your Asheville Real Estate Link"
They will not keep snakes away either. They just dissolve and end up in the ground water.
Aug 10, 2007 08:34 AM #18
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Respect Realty LLC
Respect Realty LLC - Milwaukie, OR
Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate

Jim or Maria - I bet it was you that liked the chirping, not your parents.

Sarah - Getting owners of vacant properties out there once a week is hard enough, just to get them to mow their lawns. I can't imagine having them check on anything else.

Jeff - Do people even think they would keep anything other than moths away? There is a reason they are called moth balls people!

Aug 10, 2007 09:07 AM #19
Rainmaker
279,189
Todd and Danielle Millar
Glenn Simon Inc. - Edmonton, AB
Fifteen years of excellence!
I don't have a chimney but I will get a cap asap when I get one. All these animal adventure stories above are amazing. I guess a chimney seems a safe place to build a nest!  Well $15 is an ounce of prevention.
Aug 10, 2007 10:54 AM #20
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Todd or Danielle - Not meaning to scare you, just telling you to invest in a BBQ! They also like to next there. - lol

 

 

Aug 10, 2007 11:07 AM #21
Rainmaker
655,382
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes
Interesting. Definitely it is good to keep the critters out of a house.
Aug 10, 2007 01:38 PM #22
Ambassador
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"The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW.
President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc. - Kissimmee, FL

Todd...

I recently climbed on to my roof with a small piece of screening and some duct tape. Why?

I had birds flying in and out of the plumbing pipe coming out of the roof. I don't remember what this pipe is called.

I just knew I could fix the problem with duct tape :)

TLW...ROAR!

Aug 11, 2007 01:04 AM #23
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Bob or Carolin - Yes it is!

TLW - What can't duct tape fix?

Aug 11, 2007 04:08 AM #24
Rainer
5,408
Dwight Wolfe
Emerald Coast Realty, Inc. - Panama City Beach, FL

Speaking of birds and critters in chimneys, DON'T FOR GET BATS!!!  Yes, the fury flying ones.  We had a bat in the house that came in thru the chimney one time.  Chased him down with a tennis racket.  It is a little harder for him to deceipher the tennis racket with his sonar.  We did not kill him.  He got 'PAROLED' !!  :-)

Sometimes the critters do not intend to move in on purpose.  But in the winter they sit up by the 'oh so cozy' chimney and breathe the carbon monoxide, and pass-out and will sometimes fall in.  Depending on weather it is a gas 'FIREplace' or a flue vent from a water heater or furnace, they may not die.  They may fall below the carbon monoxide source, breathe in ambient air w/oxygen, recover and then find their way into the house. 

So chimneys and flues need to be vented properly and have appropriate grates or screens to keep varmints in their place,  OUTSIDE !!

Flue venting applies to ANY INTERIOR APPLIANCE THAT BURNS ANY FUEL SOURCE, such as but not limited to; Gas Water Heaters, Gas Furnaces, GAS STOVES, Oil Burning Furnaces, Oil Burning Water Heaters, and Wood Burning Fireplaces.  ANYTHING THAT BURNS WILL CREATE CARBON-MONOXIDE, THE ODORLESS, TASTELESS, COLORLESS, CHOKELESS, KILLER.  You will never feel a thing, you just fall asleep.  But if you gotta go, it is the way to go.  Ya fall asleep, and pretty soon your looking down at the firemen wondering who is that person they are shaking?  Oh I recognize that person, it looks like, . . .  ME !!!!!!!!!!!!

Oct 13, 2007 12:11 AM #25
Rainer
5,408
Dwight Wolfe
Emerald Coast Realty, Inc. - Panama City Beach, FL
Hey Todd, I replied on here and it never came up to 'Today / Last Comment'.  What gives, does it not cycle thru the system after so many days?  Let me see if this posting comes up.
Oct 13, 2007 01:16 AM #26
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