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Chimney Cap May Help Put Lid on Noise


Question: I have a fireplace in my bedroom, and when it's gusty outside, the sound coming through the fireplace sounds like thundering cannons. Can I do anything to control the noise?


San Juan Capistrano


Answer: The type of chimney cap you have might be contributing to the noise, says George Moelter of Anaheim Fireside & Patio in Brea.

If yours is a tract home, you can probably be assured that the builder put on a chimney cap that meets the building code, but not much else. There are caps that will help quiet a noise problem.

If the fireplace doesn't have glass doors, that may be another alternative, since you can close them to keep out drafts and wind noise.


Q: I have an avocado tree I've grown from a seed. It's mature but doesn't bear fruit. I'm told it needs to be grafted. How is this done, and how do I find someone who can do it?




A: Any avocado tree that's properly matured should fruit naturally without grafting, says Gary Matsuoka of Laguna Hills Nursery.

You can tell if it's mature enough when you begin to see it bloom. If it is blooming and no fruit is being produced, you may have a problem with pollination.

You could graft a more productive or different avocado to your current tree. Contact your local nurseries or consult a book on fruit tree care that explains the grafting process.


Q: I have a 15-year-old tar roof that's covered with pea gravel. The recent rains and wind have moved much of the gravel, leaving some bare areas. Is the gravel decorative, or should it be replaced immediately to protect the roof?


Newport Beach


A: The gravel is both decorative and protective to the roof, says Pete Gorman of Rancho Lumber in Westminster.

The roof was initially laid out and hot mopped with tar; some newer roofs were covered with a cold tar sealant. The tar protects the roof, but most people don't care for the look of a simple hot-mopped roof.

The gravel, usually white, beige or gray, gives the roof a finished look and also reflects the sun's heat, which helps extend its life. After the rainy season, you may want to replace the lost gravel.

If you have a question about your home or garden, A Helping Hand will help you find the answer. Send questions to John Morell, Home Design, The Times Orange County, 1375 Sunflower Ave., Costa Mesa, CA 92626.

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