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We bought a 30 year old house 5 years ago that was last lived in by a guy who thought he was handy. Besides replacing and grounding all the wall outlets, we have been redoing a lot of his projects. Your site provides a lot of insight.
The immediate problem is raccoons. They are living in the chimney. We hear scratching and what sounds like construction in the living room wall. I went on the roof yesterday and lowered a trouble light down. The fireplace is a single brick, 3 sided structure with what looks like cellotex on the wall side of the house. I have a feeling it does not meet the current codes. It has 3 clay flues, only one of which is being used as a flue for the furnace and water heater. It is capped. The other 2 are not capped, and there is a lot of empty space.
We do not have a fireplace. The mortar is in good shape inside. I will be reconstructing the top 4 rows of brick and the cap this summer, as the cement has spalled badly. We have a CO meter in the basement, and have had no alarms, so there does not seem to be any blockage in the furnace flue.
I had a neighbor that had raccoons actually taking vent covers off the eves and raising babies in their attic. They even tried traps provided by animal control. What cause the racoons to leave was mothballs---lots of mothballs. The house smelled horrible for a while, but the racoonss decided to live elsewhere.
I would try putting moth balls down the chimney
I heard they will leave the area because they don't like them
Skin and clean raccoon
Boil meat in water, with:
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp oregeno
Remove bones, return meat to seasoned water
3 diced potatoes
one diced green pepper
one diced onion
Cook until potatoes are tender
(Any wild game can be subbed for raccoon)
I know this sounds really crazy but put chocolate bars there. We had a bad problem in the top of our barn last year with raccoons and they were actually coming out in the evening while we were in there. I was worried about my girls getting bitten so I did some research. so I have 2 suggestions.
First off...you can try to trap them with marshmallows...they absolutely love them. We have a trap that we purchased at our local farm and tractor store. As soon as we caught it, and took it somewhere else it would come back or tell its friend, because we always seemed to have 3 adults and we would be back in the same boat we started in.
I was told by an old farmer that they hate the smell of chocolate. So I went to the grocery store and bought a package of Hershey bars. Broke them up and placed them all about the barn. We didnt have a problem again until this past fall. I am assuming the chocolate got eaten by other critters but did seem to work.
We also got a bag of hair from the local beauty salon and sprinkled it throughout the barn. It carries the "human" scent and deters many preditors. Hope this helps. Just be very careful because they can be nasty especially if they have babies to protect.