Sekiu Chimney's Pelletier helps keep Westenders warm

Al Pellitier  

Zorina Barker photo 
Sekiu Chimney's Al Pelletier climbs up a ladder to install a chimney flashing atop a West End home. 

All one has to do is look down the street in LaPush to see his handiwork on several homes in a row. Al Pelletier of Sekiu Chimney sweeps has been busy and it shows. 

A “shake rat” that moved to the area in 1977, Al has become the chimney sweep most chosen by Westenders. “Meeting nice people” is the admitted highlight of his job, a work that puts him out of doors in some pretty unfriendly weather. If you ask him what his favorite work is, “Dry weather work” is the reply served up with an impish smile. Yes, Al has a sense of humor that gets him through the tough spots.

Stove installation is the backbone of his employment; however he does not install stoves that he doesn’t sell. 

“What would be the point of working for the competition?”: a good point that is difficult for people to understand. What this means to the homeowner is, let’s say you buy a stove at a store, do not ask Sekiu Chimney sweeps to install it. Al will do maintenance and some repairs on other stoves, depending on availability of parts. 

As far as homemade wood-stoves, he won’t touch them as they have been illegal since 1987. Almost all of Al’s installation work gets inspected as well as the more drastic repairs, so it is no wonder he is so careful of the work he gets involved in.

On the subject of new stoves, Sekiu Chimney Sweeps has been a dealer of Quadra-Fire Stoves for 11 years. He chose this brand because, in his opinion, it is one of the only two stoves in the world worth buying. Quadra-Fire has excellent ratings of safety and efficiency. Certainly one of their biggest selling points in our area is the efficiency. Due to the design of the stoves, they are able to produce more heat from less wood; something to consider as you contemplate yet another wood-cutting permit.

 Of course, as a dealer of “the cleanest burning non-catalytic wood-stoves tested by the EPA”, Al can and will install, repair, and maintain any of the models. It is the creativity that occurs in the installation process that Mr. Pelletier really enjoys, says he, “Just because I’m cussin’, doesn’t mean I’m having a bad day”. The masonry work involved with brick or stone chimneys is something that fell by the wayside a couple of years ago when the state changed the licensing regulations; however simple hearth repairs are still a “go”.

So, having been in the industry for a few years, Al Pelletier of Sekiu Chimney Sweeps has some tips for safety concerning heating your home.:

• For wood-stoves, clean the chimney in the summer when you’d much rather be outside and on a roof.

• Never put wet wood in a stove as this causes creosote to build up from excessiv e smoke.

• Don’t use a chimney with creosote in it (a dirty chimney), the smoke will boil back into the home and can kill you.

• Put ashes from the stove into a METAL container and never set it on a surface that can burn (no further explanation needed!)

• Never burn “salty” wood, like driftwood. The burning salt turns into hydrochloric acid which eats metal, like stovepipes and the like.

• Pellet stoves need to be cleaned and checked every summer. They are designed not to feed if the chimney is plugged.

• Installation of propane heating is not a “do-it-yourself” project; for that matter, neither are pellet or wood stoves.

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