Election Section


Friday December 16, 2005

Dear Matt: 

I have an inside chimney that acts as a vent for my old O’Keefe Merritt kitchen stove (the kind with the trashburner that I do not use), my hot water heater, and also probably the floor register in my dining room. You can tell I live in a house built in 1910. 

Can I—should I—have someone put in a liner of some sort? If so what sort of cost am I facing? I have been in this house for 42 years but that doesn’t protect me from the next earthquake! 

Thanks for your attention. Your column is always of interest. 

Pat Cody 


Dear Pat: 

A liner isn’t really going to do much for you when the earthquake hits. What I hope you’ll consider is having the current gas appliances, including the stove (please God, don’t use the kindler to burn trash—or anything else) vented with modern double-walled steel vents, which are cheap and lightweight and removal of the inside chimney.  

When we do get hit by a local earthquake of real size (which hasn’t happened in the life of your house) it will almost certainly be a real mess and might really hurt someone. 

Best of luck, 

Matt Cantor