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I would add to September's cover story "Blowing Smoke" that homebuyers insist the prepurchase inspection include chimneys and fireplaces. Our inspector missed a large fissure when we were buying. When we settled on the purchase, our insurance agent required we have the chimneys cleaned and our service company noted the crack. It cost $5,000 to repair, an expense we would have taken into account in negotiating the purchase price.
-Peter Storandt, El Dorado, Kan.
You could have spared your readers a future of crumbling masonry and animal invasion, as well as home immolation, by mentioning spark arrestors/chimney caps and showing one in your "Anatomy of a Chimney." This is an inexpensive item that scrupulous contractors can easily install. A week after our neighbors relocated a large raccoon from their property, they heard cries from an unused chimney. Unblocking the damper, they retrieved seven kits.
-Stephan Bianchi, Santa Cruz, Calif.
As one of those "younger people" who recently had bilateral hip replacement surgery, I resent the implication in your article "Need a new hip or knee?" that any of us make that choice to keep playing racquetball. A worn-out joint isn't just an inconvenience; it's a source of pain that becomes increasingly debilitating. You could say I wanted to be "more active." I wanted to be able to climb a flight of stairs, walk around the block or drive my car without suffering.
-Carol Nissenson, Washington, D.C.
Why did you print a picture of goldenrod for the article about allergies, "Clearing congestion in Columbus"? It is not the culprit! Ragweed is the plant with pollen that becomes airborne. Please let's plant goldenrod, a beautiful late summer/fall flower teeming with insect life, and pull ragweed which is the real problem.
-Martha Morr, Columbus, Ohio
Editor's note: We incorrectly printed a photo of goldenrod instead of ragweed, which is pictured below. We regret the error.
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