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Putting a damper on flue season I


have asked the question and heard the response many times. Yes, my fireplace damper is closed. And to myself I think, sure it is. You think your fireplace damper is closed, but in my


experience only about half are closed. If your damper does “close” all the way, it probably doesn’t seal completely. With some older-style fireplaces, there may be no damper at all, or it may be rusted out and working improperly. Since ancient


Craig Hendrickson


Residential Energy Auditor


times, man has


attempted to harness fire for heat and to cook game. This worked fairly well in the great outdoors, but when man attempted to take fire inside, smoke became an issue (as noted when The Platters recorded their R&B smash hit Smoke Gets In Your Eyes). Over several centuries, mankind continued to improve the chimney until it would draw smoke out of their cottages in an efficient manner.


Therein lies the problem. If the damper is not closed, the chimney flue will also draw out conditioned air from your home 24 hours per day, year ‘round. It doesn’t care if the air you pay to condition is cool air or warm air, the flue will take it from


inside your home and move it outside your home. This indiscriminate behaviour will, of course, cost you more to heat or cool your home. What do I do?


If there is no fire in the fireplace, grab a flashlight (it is dark up there) and some eye protection (stuff never falls from the chimney until you crawl in there and look up). Study the area. If the damper is open, close it. If you cannot close the damper completely, consider using a product called a “chimney pillow” or “chimney balloon.”


These handy products inflate to seal the chimney flue and stop air infiltration. They come in a variety of styles and shapes to fit the type of chimney you have.


If you are unable to locate these products locally, you can find them online by typing in the keywords chimney pillow or chimney balloon in your favorite search engine. You will find lots of


vendors and soon be well on your way to stopping another common cause of air loss in your home.


A chimney balloon can seal your chimney flue and stop air loss completely.


Local teen pursuing her musical dreams... (continued from page 8)


dating all the way back to Indian Territory. The name Hyechka in the Creek Indian language is synonomous with music, music maker or music lover. Many individuals have made a lasting impact on Ashtin as a musician. She takes violin lessons from long-time instructor Jody Naifeh of Sapulpa and also studied the instrument under Faith Morie, Thomas Lovett and Ronna Marie Jensen. She learned clarinet from Heather Koehn and Charlie Beard.


Ashtin has had the honor of performing on violin for conductors Karen Harmon, Peter Peterson, Ron Wheeler, Richard Wagoner and the aforementioned Jeffrey Grogan. Conductors she has had for clarinet include Roy Jackson, Ryan Henigan, Samual, R. Hazo and Eugene Corporon.


10 Northeast Connection


Ashtin’s musical ability reflects a rare fusion of innate ability and hard work. “I believe that it is a combination of both,” she said.


“I believe that God gives gifts to everyone. I was fortunate enough to find mine at a young age. I also understand that, without the right work ethic, I would be nowhere near where I am today.”


The future is full of promise for Ashtin. She plans on attending college and majoring in violin performance. Competing for spots in professional orchestras all around the world will undoubtedly come next. She wants to ride this musical journey as far as it will take her. She says with a smile as bright as her future: “There is nothing I would rather be than a musician.”


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