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Old Smokey's Fireplace & Chimney's Blog

Trust Us for Your Annual Chimney Inspection!

It is critical to your family’s safety that your regularly used chimney is operating well. Even if your chimney is only occasionally used, you should still have it periodically inspected by a professional. This is because dirty chimneys are a potential fire hazard. In fact, The National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA) states that the leading contributor to home heating fires is having a chimney that isn’t clean.  However, this shouldn’t deter you from enjoying your fireplace this winter. We here at Old Smokey’s want to let you know that, with a little help and guidance from our professional chimney technicians, your chimney will be perfectly safe to operate this winter.

Why are inspections important?Trust us for your annual chimney inspections

Getting your chimney inspected by one of our chimney technicians is one of the most important things you can do for its health. This is because an inspection allows us to determine if there are any issues that may have risen over the past year that would affect how your chimney operates. During an inspection one of our highly skilled chimney technicians will look for any damage to the your chimney and fireplace masonry, such as cracked brick or crumbling mortar. We will also inspect the inside of your chimney to make sure that it isn’t clogged with any debris, animal nests, or creosote. Lastly, we will inspect any other chimney components (chimney crown, chimney cap, damper, etc.) and make sure they are in safe, operational condition.

Have your chimney inspected by a CSIA certified technician

When you get your chimney inspected, you want to make sure that your inspection is going to be done thoroughly and safely. That’s why it’s critical that you have your chimney inspected by a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified chimney technician.  To gain CSIA certification, a chimney technician must go through a tough training schedule, learning the latest chimney inspection and chimney maintenance techniques. Next, chimney technicians must learn about the latest in chimney fireplace and safety. Technicians are then allowed to be certified after they pass an exam related to their training and take an oath to perform their work ethically, never taking shortcuts or scamming their customers. At Old Smokey’s, we take CSIA certification very seriously. All of our chimney technicians are required to have CSIA certification to work for us. We want to make sure our customers are satisfied with our work and we want to assure them that we will keep their home and family free from hazards. That’s why being certified is important to us, because it is important to our customers.

If you haven’t had your chimney inspected in a while, you may be putting your home at risk. We still have appointment slots open, so call us at 800-876-6539 or 260-424-0009 or reach us online to set up an inspection with one of our chimney technicians. We look forward to serving you!

Summer Is The Time For Masonry Repairs

Picture a hot and humid day in August. It’s 89 degrees. Doesn’t ice, sleet, and snow seem like a dream, like rude memories? As you’re sitting on the porch or by your pool, a few words from last year’s chimney inspection echo in your mind: “You don’t have any leaks yet, but keep an eye on those cracks in your crown.” You remember thinking to yourself: chimney crown damage is like a tooth cavity: by the time it hurts, you’re already in trouble!

These summer months are the perfect time to address such nagging fears. Summer is an ideal season for masonry repairs.


Summer repairs make sense from a practical and logistical standpoint. For one thing, it’s an easier work environment for Old Smokey’s experienced masons and technicians. Plus, summer weather conditions facilitate sealing and setting. It’s the optimum time for masonry repair. If nothing else, there are more daylight hours for working.

Chimney crowns are but one masonry element that might beg for repair. Since they take a beating from harsh winters and heat spells, and everything in-between, they deteriorate and wear down. Cracks can occur. And those cracks can lead to leaks and troublesome moisture intrusion. But it takes the discerning eye of a professional to detect crown cracks that might be the harbinger of leaks to come.

Catching crown damage before it becomes excessive saves you money. Small cracks in the face of the crown are often an easy and painless spoonful of prevention. A dose of CrownSeal, for example, can provide a waterproof protective seal for your “slightly injured” chimney crown.

If in doubt about the condition of your chimney crown, call Old Smokey’s at 260-424-0009 or 800-876-6539 or set up an appointment online before the summer runs out.

What other masonry problems should be addressed in the summer?

If odors are coming from your chimney and your fireplace, the smell may originate from creosote deposits in the chimney. The unpleasant smell tends to be worse in the summer. A good sweeping is advised. Another solution is a tight-sealing, top-mounted damper. This reduces airflow coming down the chimney.

Summertime is ideal for evaluating whether the flue is cracked or blocked. It’s also an opportunity to look for any build up affecting air flow — critters, vegetation, leaves, old nests. Clearing away this stuff reduces risks of fire or noxious fumes.

Finally, summer is an excellent time to inspect all of your chimney’s mortar or brickwork for any signs of damage or deterioration, such as spalling, crumbling, looseness, or cracking. Better now than a cold day in January!

For 20+ years, Old Smokey’s has served homeowners in northern Indiana, northern Ohio and mid-Michigan. Homeowners from Elkhart in the west to Ypsilanti in the east, from Lansing in the north to Defiance and Fort Wayne in the south are served by Old Smokey’s. Our experience testifies to the trust we have built throughout the region – in summer, and winter, spring, and fall!

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