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INSIDE: N Classified Marketplace, page 44 N Puzzles, page 45 Home Front EDIBLE GARDEN SERIES ... Drew Harwell, manager of Jesse Cool’s Seeds of Change Garden and former manager of Common Ground Demonstration Garden, will teach a series of classes on creating an edible garden, “From Design to Harvest,â€? on five Saturdays: Jan. 22, Feb. 12, March 5, March 26 and April 16, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The classes are held at Common Ground, 559 College Ave., Palo Alto. The course will cover everything from garden design to composting, seed propagation, watering and using proper tools. Cost is $325. Information: 650493-6072 or or http:// ediblegardendesigntoharvest. RHODE SHOW ... Kathy Van Veen, third generation operator of the Van Veen Nursery in Portland, Ore., and author of “Rhododendrons in Americaâ€? and “Rhododendrons You Should Meet,â€? will speak at the next meeting of the De Anza Chapter of the American Rhododendron Society on Tuesday, Jan. 25. The group meets in Room 12 at the Hillview Community Center, 97 Hillview Ave., Los Altos. Information: www. or ULTIMATE RECYCLING ... Kathy Van Veen will talk about “How to Recycle EVERYTHINGâ€? at the next meeting of the Garden Club of Los Altos on Tuesday, Jan. 25, at 1:30 p.m. The group meets at Christ Episcopal Church, 1040 Border (continued on page 31) so on lin e at w w w .P al o Al to On lin e. co m Chimneys: repair or replace? Dasja Dolan CONTAINER GARDENING ... Landscape designer Fran Adams, APLD, will offer a class on “Container Gardeningâ€? on three Tuesdays, Jan. 25 to Feb. 8, from 7 to 9 p.m. at Palo Alto High School, Room 1708, 50 Embarcadero Road, Palo Alto. She will deal with plant and container selection, plant combos, potting mixes and plant care. Students will create two container projects. Cost is $45, and the required text is “Container Gardeningâ€? (Sunset Books, 2004). Information: 650-329-3752 or www. Al E M 38 HO GE EN PA OP IDE, GU HOME & REAL ESTATE PA L O A LT O W E E K LY In a recent Menlo Park remodel, the old wood-burning fireplace was replaced with a gas-lit one. When lit, the flames dance around ceramic balls. Building code update forbids new wood-burning fireplaces by Sarah Trauben s the temperatures drop, many people’s thoughts turn to wood crackling in a fireplace. But homeowners who haven’t maintained their chimneys may find that they must change the fuel for their winter traditions. November 2010 updates to the Palo Alto building codes put the city of Palo Alto in compliance with Bay Area Air Quality Control Management District requirements aimed at reducing wood-smoke air pollution. The codes prohibit onefor-one replacement of a damaged wood-burning fireplace or the construction of a new one. “You can’t build a new one, but you can keep an existing woodburning fireplace in operational shape,â€? Larry Perlin, chief building official, said. Serious deterioration often goes unnoticed or unrepaired until a new homeowner inspects the property, according to local chimney professionals. “We’re still repairing chimneys damaged in the ’89 earthquake,â€? John Klein, owner of Redwood City-based Mr. Chimney Cricket, said. In addition to structural damage from earthquakes, TV antennas, A strong winds and cracks caused by exposure to sun and rain, Palo Alto fireplaces often have damaged firebricks in the back wall of the firebox, repairmen said. The bricks settle or deteriorate after being subjected to hot fires and eventually fall apart, leaving regular brick in direct contact with heat. “Behind those firebricks are regular bricks, which will transfer heat to the wood behind it. It puts the homeowner at risk for house fires,â€? Klein said. Even a sound fireplace poses dangers for a home if it isn’t properly cleaned, so homeowners might lose a lot more than their existing fireplace. “These fires are 2,000 to 3,000 degrees in temperature and produce creosote, which is highly flammable. As it cools down traveling up the chimney, it goes from smoke to solid and begins to line the chimney. It can light like a match-head,â€? he said. Those who’d like to keep a safe and legal wood-burning fireplace need to have it regularly maintained. “My rule of thumb is that after two years of heavy use without cleaning, you should have your chimney cleaned and inspected,â€? he said. In his 35 years in the field, Klein said that he hasn’t often found serious damage during routine cleanings. Many chimneys only need a cleaning or minor repairs to maintain safe operation. During a recent inspection, he unjammed a halfopen damper that had been keeping a Palo Alto house heat-inefficient and prone to smoky rooms on the special occasions that call for a warm hearth. Palo Alto homeowners who in the course of regular maintenance find that their chimney needs repairs need to apply for a city permit. “If an existing chimney were not up to code, there would be a trigger point: If the repairs being done didn’t involve bringing it up to code, then part of the permit would require updating the chimney,â€? Perlin said. This doesn’t mean that any wood-burning fireplace can be maintained indefinitely. “If the integrity of the chimney structure itself has been compromised, as in if the back wall physically sways or if the chimney rocks at roof level, then repairs aren’t a good idea,â€? Klein said. Homeowners who can’t maintain (continued on page 31) *>Â?ÂœĂŠÂ?ĂŒÂœĂŠ7iiÂŽÂ?ÞÊUĂŠ>Â˜Ă•>ÀÞÊÓ£]ÊÓ䣣ÊU Page 29

Palo Alto Weekly 01.21.2011 - section 2

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