Paul Kankiewicz is a newly certified chimney sweep at Lehman’s in Kidron.
KIDRON One of the team members at Lehman’s, Paul Kankiewicz, is a newly certified chimney sweep. Kankiewicz, who joined Lehman’s in May in the stove department, attended the intense, week-long class at the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) in Plainfield, Indiana, according to a news release from Lehman’s. 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.
The CSIA’s Center for Education, Research & Training is a top-of-the-line training facility. Class instructors have years of experience.
“I learned almost more than my head could hold,” said Kankiewicz, who passed the final exam with flying colors. “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 how to inspect the entire unit. There was also 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 on site 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.”
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,” said Kankiewicz.
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:
* Gloves with a gauntlet/long arm cuff, for protection from splinters and heat when loading firewood
* A metal ash can; very important to have something non-combustible to place ashes in to take outside, as ashes can stay hot longer than you 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, as well as all the accessories, for decades. The store is open every day except Sunday and always open at Lehmans.com.