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Old Smokey's Fireplace & Chimney's Blog

Signs your chimney needs repairs

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

Your chimney and fireplace have worked hard, keeping you warm all winter. Now, it’s almost that time of year to give your chimney system a break during warmer weather. However, before your chimney system is shut down for the year, it’s a good idea to determine if your chimney needs any major repairs. At Old Smokey’s we want you to know the telltale signs that your chimney needs repairs. Being able to recognize symptoms associated with a chimney issue can help our chimney technicians more easily determine what is wrong with your chimney. It should be noted that even though you might be able to correctly diagnose an issue at home, that only a trained chimney professional that has been certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) should attempt to make the final diagnoses and repair on your chimney system. A CSIA certified technician has been trained and tested on the correct chimney inspection and maintenance methods and is the only one who should be trusted to perform any actual work on your chimney. If an inexperienced person works on your chimney, there is a possibility that they can make the problem worse, which could be potentially hazardous to your home and your family.

Operational Issues

Now is a good time to think back about when you used your fireplace this past year. If you used your fireplace a lot this winter, you probably know exactly how it is supposed to operate for your home. While you were operating your fireplace, did you notice any issues, even if they were temporary? This could include anything from smoke coming into your living areas, draftiness, difficulty starting a fire, or poorly burning fires. These are all signs that there is some kind of airflow issue with your fireplace or chimney. Lots of times, these issues are related to creosote buildup, clogged chimneys, or a faulty damper. However, there are other issues that could also be a problem. Making sure that there is proper airflow to your fireplace is crucial to creating hot fires. Without proper airflow, you will not get your money’s worth from your fuel and your chimney will be more likely to accumulate large amounts of creosote.

Masonry Issues

Think back on the winter. Was there freezing weather? Was there a freeze/thaw cycle? If there was, you will want to check over your masonry. Moisture can wreak havoc on your chimney’s masonry. When it rains, moisture can enter tiny pores in your masonry’s brickwork and mortar. This water can pool inside of your masonry and erode it slowly from the inside out. However, the freeze/thaw cycle hastens masonry deterioration. When moisture inside your masonry freezes, it expands, putting pressure on your masonry. This can cause masonry to weaken by cracking, chipping, and crumbling the brickwork and mortar. You can inspect your masonry by looking closely at your brickwork or mortar. If you notice that your mortar is popping out or crumbling, it means that it needs to be replaced with a technique called repointing. Look at the grass around your chimney. If you see little flecks of brick on the grass, this is an issue caused by the freeze/thaw cycle called spalling. Finally, look at your bricks. If you see any cracking, loose, or crumbling brickwork, it needs to be addressed. At Old Smokey’s, our experienced masons can make sure that your brickwork is in great shape with our masonry repair services.

Chimney Components

Finally, look at all the other components of your chimney. Three components that are vulnerable to winter weather are your chimney cap, your chimney crown, and your chimney flashing. Unfortunately, all these things are located on the top, or near the top of your chimney. We do not recommend that you go on top of your roof, but instead inspect it from the ground. If you have a pair of binoculars, they can help you see your chimney top better. First look at the very top of your chimney. There should be a metal, mesh cap attached to the top of your chimney above the opening. If your chimney cap looks mangled, bent, or is totally missing, you’ll need to remedy this immediately. Your chimney cap is needed to make sure rain, debris, and nesting animals don’t enter into your chimney. Next, look at your chimney crown. Your chimney crown is the cement or mortar edge around the opening of your chimney. Your chimney crown is important for protecting deflecting water away from your masonry. If you see any crumbling or cracking in your chimney crown, this needs to be addressed. Finally, look to see if there is any shiny metal poking up in the area where your chimney meets your roof. If you notice this, it means that your chimney flashing is loosened. Chimney flashing is designed to bridge the gap between your roof and the point where your chimney comes through your roof. If it is loose or missing, rainwater can easily spill into a home, damaging walls, framing, and causing mold issues. If you notice that any of these components are damaged, they need to be repaired immediately to properly protect your chimney and home.

Doing an at-home inspection should never replace your annual chimney inspection. [] If you notice any of the issues with your chimney or fireplace, it is important to call a CSIA certified technician before a small issue turns into a larger one. At Old Smokey’s, our CSIA certified technicians can repair whatever issue that arises in your chimney. [] If you live in northern Indiana, northern Ohio, or mid-Michigan, call us today at 800-876-6539 or 260-587-9691, or schedule an inspection appointment online. We look forward to helping you with your spring repairs.

Are You Interested in a Stove or Insert? Look at our choices

Everyone needs a little change in their lives every now and then, and your home is no different. Adding a new heating appliance to your home will allow you to better control how heat is distributed in your home. Furthermore, a new heating appliance can add a wonderful touch of ambiance to your living areas and help reduce the amount of work needed to enjoy a fire. At Old Smokey’s, we have a wide variety of stoves and inserts that can help supplement your home’s heating needs and add a touch of beauty to your home. If you are in the market for a change, come check out all that we have to offer today!

The stoves and inserts that we offer are top of the line. We sell stoves and inserts that come from popular manufacturers like Regency, Lopi, and Xtrordinair. These manufacturers have a proven record of decades of quality and elegance and are consistently considered some of the the top brands in the world. At Old Smokey’s we want to make sure you have access to only the best appliances and when you visit our showroom, we’re sure that you’ll be impressed with the selection that we have to offer.

Stoves, inserts, and fireplaces, which is the best for you - Fort Wayne IN - Old Smokeys

The stoves that we offer.

At Old Smokey’s, we offer a wide variety of stoves for our customers. Stoves are great heating appliances because they can easily installed almost anywhere in your home, they give your home a nice rustic ambiance, they are efficient, and they produce a lot of heat. If you are thinking about buying a stove, one thing you’ll need to consider is how much heat you want to produce. Heat production can vary depending on the type of stove you buy. Although all of our stoves produce heat, depending on the size of the firebox and they fuel type, some stoves are better suited to heat larger areas, while some stoves are perfect for heating a small room.

Another thing that you need to consider is efficiency. Stoves are typically a lot more efficient than a fireplace. Also, newer stoves are becoming more and more efficient. This can help homeowners in a number of ways. First, you are getting a lot more bang for your buck. If more of the fuel you are burning is going towards producing heat, you won’t be using as much fuel. Fuel savings can start to add up very quickly. Efficient heating appliances are also better for the environment, which, depending on where you live, can lead to rebates or tax credits.

The Inserts that we offer.

Inserts are perfect for the homeowner that already has a fireplace that isn’t being used, or has a fireplace that they want to change the fuel type of. An insert is basically a shell with a burning unit in it. This shell is placed into an already existing fireplace, essentially replacing the firebox. This is a great option if you are looking to switch the type of fuel that you want to use in your fireplace. Inserts also come in a wide variety of options depending on your heating needs and efficiency requirements.

Fuel Types

One of the most important things that needs to be considered when buying either a stove or an insert is the type of fuel that you want to use. In general, there are three main fuel types that we offer for stoves and inserts: wood, gas, and pellets. The type of fuel that you’ll use will be dependent on availability of that fuel in your area, the cost, and the amount of effort you want to put into it.

Wood fuel is a popular choice because it burns hot and it creates an ambiance that can’t easily be replicated by other types of fuels. Many people desire the smells, the soft crackling, and the warm glow that wood fires have to offer. Wood is also an excellent fuel source if you live close to timber and get it cheap. Another great reason to install a wood-burning appliance is that you can use it off the grid. This means that if something happens to your electric or gas lines, you will still be able to keep your home warm. The main downside of using wood is that it takes more work than other fuel sources to use. You need to chop, collect, store, dry, and haul wood to create a fire. Also, once you are done burning, there is more clean-up involved with wood fires compared to a gas-burning appliance.

Gas fuel is also popular because of its ease of use. Usually, to start a gas appliance, it only takes turning on a switch. However, gas appliances need to be connected to a pipe, so if your gas goes out, so does your heat. Also, the need to connect to a gas line can limit the number of places you can install a gas appliance.

Pellets are another good option. Made from compressed wood, pellets put out a ton of heat. This also makes them a cheap source of fuel. One issue with pellets is that they automatically feed the fire with a conveyor system, and if the electricity goes out, it can be difficult to constantly keep feeding your fire.

At Old Smokey’s we have a number of appliance and fuel type combinations. If you’re in the market for a brand new stove or insert, come down to our showroom at 220 W State Street in Ashley, Indiana. Or you can call us to see what options would work best for your living area at 260-587-9691 or schedule an appointment online. We would love to hear from you, so don’t hesitate and come see us today!

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