The Craziest Thing I’ve Ever Found Inside a Chimney

Would you believe we found Santa Claus inside a chimney one time during an inspection?

No kidding.

Chimney cleaning in Shawnee KS

There was a plastic Santa Claus stuck down inside a customer’s chimney. I’m assuming that someone thought it would be funny to shove a plastic Santa upside down so it would look like Santa’s legs were sticking out of the chimney, but Mr. Claus had fallen all the way down to the bottom.

Also, when someone lives next to a golf course, we are always amused to find a lot of golf balls in their chimney. And when they live next to a tennis court, we’ve found tennis balls in chimneys. When you think about it, that is one heck of a shot—for someone to knock a golf ball or tennis ball and it to land inside the chimney flue!

Probably the most awesome thing I ever found while sweeping a chimney here in Kansas City was a full-on owl. It was dead, and I don’t know how this thing got stuck down the chimney, but it did. When I finally got it out of the fireplace of course it was petrified. I’d never seen anything like it. It was big enough that when I pulled it out I put it into a big paper shopping bag and it filled up the whole shopping bag.

More commonly, we find a lot of squirrels and the occasional raccoon. And of course we find chimney swifts at certain times of years. Chimney swifts are very unique birds that migrate from Brazil and nest almost exclusively inside chimneys. They migrate, have their babies, and come back to the same place year after year. They’re the only bird that I’ve known of that is so fond of the chimney. Typically they fly down by the smoke shelf, and they use their saliva to adhere their half moon nests to the side of the smoke chamber wall. Chimney swifts look like cigars with wings and have crazy flying patterns. They’re actually federally protected, which I don’t quite understand because you’ll see them flying around in groups of hundreds. Of course, they are a nuisance for customers because they squawk a lot, but there’s nothing we can really do to remove them from chimneys. Since they’re federally protected you’re supposed to just let chimney swifts nest. Then, they do go away later on in the year before it gets too cold out. One cool thing about them: They eat their weight in mosquitoes.

With all the chimneys my guys sweep every week in Kansas City, perhaps the craziest thing I’ve ever found in a chimney is still yet to be found. I’ll let you know when it turns up.