A blog about the restoration, remodel and renovation of a 1929 Chicago-style brick bungalow

He Was Such an Ashwipe

Mainly because of our bat issue, we really needed to have a cap installed on our furnace chimney. Pete still thought the little bugger somehow got into our house via the chimney and through a small gap where the duct ends over the hot water tank. I was skeptical — it seemed a little far-fetched to me — although I didn’t know where else it could have gotten in.

It was also a good time to have our wood-burning fireplace cleaned, which we hadn’t done in the past two years we’ve lived here. I suspected (and later confirmed) that the PO had never cleaned it.

I called a couple of places to get quotes: one company who installed a chimney cap for us in our previous house and another one whose van I’ve seen over the years in the area. The latter suggested that we didn’t necessarily need a chimney cap, and a chimney screen would be less expensive. His services were also a little cheaper overall than the other place.

We also stipulated upfront that we wanted our eyesore of a useless TV antenna removed from the furnace chimney. The first company said they could potentially do it, however, they claimed that sometimes the antenna is “holding the chimney together”. The other guy simply said he would do it. I really didn’t think it was an issue and didn’t want to risk the first company trying to convince me otherwise.

Regardless, I was really glad the second guy was cheaper, mainly because of this:

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I mean, how can you not hire this guy? It’s hysterical!

For a business like this one and for what we needed, I wasn’t too concerned with references. I just knew that the guy had been around a long time, so he must be able to clean a fireplace and install a chimney screen, right?

Just goes to show you: don’t underestimate the power of name recall. I probably saw his van 10 years ago, and when I needed chimney work I immediately thought of him.

Obviously, he gets lots of comments about it. He said he and his buddies came up with the name while drinking in a bar one night 30 years ago. His friends didn’t think he’d go through with it and he said, “Just watch me.”

As for the bat accessing the house through the chimney, he said, for one thing, it wouldn’t be living in it because we have a liner, so there’s no rough surface for it to cling to, and the liner isn’t wide enough for the bat to spread its wings and fly down the chimney. He suspects another point of entry as well.

No more visits from the bat since the second time, but we still need to find the hole. I think I may know where it is…

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