Lehman's has a newly certified chimney sweep

Lehman's has a newly certified chimney sweep

Paul Kankiewicz is a newly certified chimney sweep.


Lehman’s announced team member Paul Kankiewicz is a newly certified chimney sweep. Kankiewicz, who joined Lehman’s in May in the stove department, attended the week-long class at the Chimney Safety Institute of America in Plainfield, Indiana. He attended the class after working with Lehman’s stove expert Philip White for several months, getting some in-the-field training on stove inspection and chimney cleaning.

“I learned almost more than my head could hold,” Kankiewicz said. “I studied quite a bit each evening in my hotel room.”

With a combination of classroom lectures and hands-on instruction, Kankiewicz learned not only the proper cleaning of a chimney, but also how to inspect the entire unit. There also was a lot of information on safety protocol and the codes, clearances and standards of proper chimney installation and maintenance.

“They had a masonry fireplace and chimney built onsite from the basement to the roof level, and they installed every single defect they could think of. There was a total of 108 issues, and no one found them all,” Kankiewicz said.

Defects included gaps in the masonry and using a soup can to patch a pipe. “Some of them seemed unbelievable, but the instructors said they had seen them all,” he said.

In the old days, a chimney sweep would clean the inside of the chimney with a brush on a long rod. Today, sweeps use a drill to spin the brush attached to the rod because it can spin so much faster and harder than a human. They also use a camera to lower into the chimney to see if there are any issues.

The CSIA recommends getting your chimney cleaned once a year or any time you buy a property with a wood heating or cooking stove. If you burn wet or green wood or don’t burn hot enough fires, you can get a creosote build-up, which you can’t see because it’s inside the chimney.

“Just like any appliance in your home or the vehicle you drive, maintaining your chimney and keeping it clean are important for efficiency and safety,” Kankiewicz said.

Lehman’s is currently scheduling chimney sweep and stove inspections. Call 800-438-5346 or email info@Lehmans.com for details.

The top tools Kankiewicz recommends for homeowners are as follows:

—Gloves with a gauntlet/long arm cuff for protection from splinters and heat when loading firewood.

—A metal ash can (important to have something noncombustible to place ashes in to take outside as ashes can stay hot longer than one might think).

—Stove thermometer (important to make sure you're burning at the right temperature for your stove).

—Glass cleaner to keep the stove door glass clean.

“I am looking forward to taking what I learned to help our customers get the most out of their stove or fireplace,” he said. “One of my favorite parts of my job is the detective work. For example, if the stove is smoking, why is it doing that and how can I fix it?”

Lehman’s, founded in 1955 on the square in Kidron, has been selling and installing wood heating and cooking stoves and fireplaces and all the accessories for decades. The store is open every day except Sunday and always open at www.Lehmans.com.

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