Computer geeks talk about “what you see is what you get.” They even have an acronym for it: WYSIWYG. Old Smokey’s Fireplace & Chimney can tell you when it comes to your chimney masonry, WYSIWYG “ain’t necessarily so,” as the Porgy and Bess song goes. Oftentimes, “what you DON’T see is what you get” regarding the health of your chimney. That’s why an annual inspection is critical. As with any health problem, early detection can serve as a preventive measure and save you money and headaches in the long run.

What hidden dangers can possibly lurk in my masonry?

masonry chimney - Fort Wayne IN - Old Smokey's Fireplace and Chimney

Your chimney masonry may be deteriorating in ways only a professional can see. For example, mortar erosion and breakdown from moisture intrusion is often subtle, especially in the early stages. Perhaps your chimney flashing is failing, or bricks are cracking, or joints need repair. The untrained eye may not detect these incipient problems. And if even if the homeowner could discern a problem, he or she faces safety challenges related to access. Chimney inspection is not a Saturday afternoon DIY project! Just as a doctor may order periodic diagnostic tests, Old Smokey’s suggests annual masonry inspections of your chimney system.

What is involved in a masonry inspection?

In practical terms, we look for symptoms and their causes. We want to examine your masonry for signs of damage from plant growth, such as vines, or damage from fire or moisture. Old Smokey’s professionals want to assess whether masonry deterioration is resulting from poor structural design or construction, inferior building materials, weather conditions, animals’ nesting, seismic disturbance, lack of proper maintenance — or the inevitable ravages of time.

Old Smokey’s performs a range of masonry inspections. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) defines three levels of chimney inspection. The minimum, recommended for those who keep up their chimney maintenance, checks accessible interior and exterior portions and looks for cracks or obstructions. The next level looks for hidden hazards, using video scanning. The most advanced inspection uses special equipment and tools to find root causes of hidden problems. At this level of inspection, certain chimney components, such as a crown, may have to be removed. The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) spells out the fine points of these three levels of inspection.

After the inspection, then what?

After discovering the source of your symptoms, Old Smokey’s will make recommendations suited to your conditions and respectful of your budget constraints. Perhaps it’s a small matter, easily corrected, such as mortar joints, or new flashing. If needed repair is more substantial, we will walk you through it and carefully present the best practices and options.

Why call Old Smokey’s?

We’ve been doing this for more than 30 years. We take pride in our reputation, and we enjoy giving our customers the peace of mind that comes from good service and added health and safety. Our loyal customers are our best advertisement. As for professional quality, the peerless Old Smokey’s technicians who perform your masonry inspection are certified specialists. Call Old Smokey’s now at 800-876-6539. Good maintenance is always in season.