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Causes of a Smelly Chimney

There’s nothing as nostalgic as the smell of a wood fire on a cool, early Spring evening. It conjures up images of a crackling fire in a beautiful fireplace. Unfortunately, the smells that come from your fireplace aren’t always that pleasant. In fact, there are several factors that can cause bad odors to emanate from your fireplace. Most of the time, it’s a quick and easy fix to get your fireplace smelling great again. The first thing you should do? Check with the professionals at Owens Chimney Systems!

Causes of a Smelly Chimney Image - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney SystemsWhat Can Cause Chimney Odor?


There are several things that can cause blockages: animals or birds building nests, paper or twigs or dry leaves blowing into your chimney. The solution to this problem is obvious. Simply remove the blockage. Depending on the placement of the blockage, you may be able to do this yourself. This is especially true if it’s close to the top of the chimney opening. If the blockage is more complex or isn’t in a place that you can easily get to, you’ll need to call in the experts from Owens Chimney Systems. Not only can they get the debris out of your chimney, they can also offer suggestions to help keep these things out, such as adding a chimney cap to your chimney.


The Chimney Safety Institute of America states that oftentimes a real problem is that there is air being drawn down your chimney . This means that there may be a pressure issue in your home. When your fireplace isn’t in use, a downdraft can occur that will force bad smells caused by creosote build-up into your home. Creosote is the by-product of burning a fire in your fireplace. These by-products can include tar fog, unburned wood particles, water vapor, smoke, and gases. These flow up your chimney and condense onto the walls of your chimney. Consequently, this can cause a nasty smell that can flow into your home. There are some simple approaches to take, such as burning votive candles in the fireplace when it’s not in use. However, a more permanent solution is to hire Owens Chimney Systems technicians to give your chimney a thorough cleaning.

Ashes . . . yes, ashes!

What is the simplest thing to look for when you’re looking for the cause of odor? The ashes that are left after you burn a fire. These ashes can leave a musty scent in the room. You should clean these up on a weekly basis to help control the odor. You can also sprinkle your carpets and furniture with baking soda. Afterwards, let it sit for an hour and vacuum it up for a quick, fresh-smelling fix-up.

Call the Professionals.

Chimney odors are not a problem that can’t be fixed. Check out these issues, but remember: the best way to solve a problem is to stop it before it happens. Call Owens Chimney Systems to set up an annual inspection and sweeping. You’ll get great tips to keep your fireplace clean and smelling great!

Published by James Owens on April 12th, 2017 and tagged with: Tags: , , , | No Comments

Owens Manufactures Custom Chimney Caps

Custom Chimney Caps Image - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney SystemsIf you own a chimney, you know how important it is to have your chimney inspected and cleaned on an annual basis. Not only does this make your fireplace run more efficiently, it is also important to make sure that there isn’t too thick of a creosote build-up. Creosote is not only extremely flammable, but if it stays in your chimney during the damp spring days, it can cause an odor that can permeate into your home. But there’s one more important component to your chimney that your fireplace and chimney specialists will be looking at, and that’s your chimney cap. Your chimney cap may be in a state of disrepair, or, believe it or not, some chimneys don’t even have a cap. This is one important piece of your chimney and fireplace system that you don’t want to overlook.

Importance of a Chimney Cap

There are a couple reasons that having a chimney cap is important for the safety of your home. A chimney cap not only stops things from flying out of your chimney, it also stops things from flying into your chimney. When your chimney is left wide open, it’s easy for sparks from your fire to escape out and onto your roof or yard. And this can cause a roof fire or even a yard fire. The reverse is also true. When leaves, paper, twigs, or other debris fly into your chimney, they can end up causing a blockage that can also catch sparks from the fire. Not only this, but birds and other critters can fly into your chimney and set up nests. These nests stay in your chimney long after the animals are gone, and the dried nests are natural fire starting material.

Do I Need A Chimney Cap?

If you still need to be convinced of the importance of chimney caps, maybe the words of the Chimney Safety Institute of America will convince you. In their words, chimney caps are “probably the most inexpensive preventive measure that a homeowner can employ to prevent water penetration and damage to the chimney.” The National Fire Protection Association explains the many different types of chimney caps there are to choose from, from standard to draft increasing to draft master caps. Owens Chimney Systems has many styles and sizes of copper and stainless steel protective chimney covers to choose from, and they have experience and expertise to offer when it comes to recommending and installing these chimney caps.

Custom Made Chimney Caps

But not only does Owens Chimney Systems offer a wide variety to choose from, we actually manufacture our very own chimney caps so that you can know your chimney will have the exact chimney cap that will offer the best protection possible. These custom built caps will provide the most protection from outside elements like rain, wind, sleet, and snow that could get in and wear down the interior of your chimney. We offer multiple lid choices so that you can pick the style that best matches the architecture of your home, adding beauty and grace to the roofline.

Give Owens Chimney Systems a call today to find out more about our custom built chimney caps.

Published by James Owens on March 30th, 2017 and tagged with: Tags: , , , | No Comments

The Dangers of Leaky Chimney Flashing

Your fireplace is beautiful and useful and your chimney is one tough piece of masonry. However, even these things can have issues. One of the more common problems that can occur with your chimney is water leaks. Is your chimney is leaking? If so, it can cause damage both to the inside and the outside of your home.

The Dangers of Leaky Chimney Flashing Image - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney SystemsDamage

Some of the damage that can occur to the interior of your home? Water stained walls and ceilings, rotting wall paper, and rotting wood that is connected to the fireplace. You may also notice that the doors to your fireplace might be rusting. In addition, the fireplace accessories that you keep next to your fireplace. These are all things that are visible to anyone on the inside of the house. Consequently, you may also see damage on the outside of your house.

You may notice that the mortar or the bricks on the outside of your house are decaying or crumbling. This damage is discouraging, but even more harmful could be the damage that you can’t see – the damage on the interior of your chimney. A professional chimney inspector will be able to determine if you have rusted damper assemblies, if your metal or masonry firebox assembly is damaged, or if you have collapsed hearth support. This could also cause a deteriorated central heating system. All of these things could be forerunners of some serious money spent in repair jobs.

What’s Causing the Leak?

Most times, the problems causing the leaks are the sheet metal flashings. Sheet metal flashing is located between the chimney and the roof which keeps the intersection tight. This intersection is a likely place for leaks to occur. Many times, according to the This Old House website, the flashing leaks because it wasn’t properly installed in the first place. Not only can this be a problem, but flashing, like anything else, can deteriorate over time. So, how do you stop leaks caused by flashing issues? Have your chimney inspected on a regular basis by CSIA certified professionals like ours at Owens Chimney Systems.

Chimney Flash Repair

If your chimney inspector tells you that your flashing is rusted through, or if it was improperly installed, falling out, or damaged in any other way? Then you may be advised to have new flashing installed. Another time to have new flashing installed is if you are re-shingling your house. This helps to ensure that the flashing will last as long as the new roof.

Call the Experts

Some people may try to tell you that this is a job you can handle yourself. However, unless you’re an experienced contractor, you’ll want to leave this to someone who really knows how to do the job right. The professionals at Owens Chimney Systems are CSIA certified. Plus are trained in all the latest technology and techniques. We are locally owned and operated, so our community is important to us. Call us today and we’ll get the job done right!

Published by James Owens on March 10th, 2017 and tagged with: Tags: , , , | No Comments

How A Chimney Cap Can Benefit Your Home

Home Benefits of a Chimney Cap Photo - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney SystemsThe different parts of your chimney and fireplace system all work together to ensure that you can build a warm, inviting, crackling fire. One important part that shouldn’t be overlooked, yet often is, is the chimney cap. A chimney cap can save you headaches and repair bills by protecting your chimney and your home from the dangers of fire damage, and the qualified technicians at Owens Chimney Systems have the know-how to get you the chimney cap you need.

How A Chimney Cap Can Benefit You

There are two main reasons that a chimney cap is important for protecting your chimney. First, a chimney cap will help stop sparks from the fire from escaping from your chimney. Without a chimney cap, these sparks can land on your chimney and start a fire, or they can even fly onto your yard, and if conditions are dry, you could have a real disaster on your hands.
Another role that a chimney cap plays is to stop things from coming down your chimney. Enclosed spaces are perfect for building nests, and without a chimney cap, birds, squirrels, or other small animals can get into your chimney and make it their home. Dry twigs and leaves or other garbage could also blow down your chimney and cause an obstruction, and these obstructions could also catch a spark and start a chimney fire. A chimney cap will also keep other natural elements, like rain, sleet, and snow, from coming down your chimney.

Different Kinds of Chimney Cap

The next question to ask would be what kind of chimney cap is needed. The National Fire Protection Association gives several options. Standard chimney caps can be fitted over several different chimney types, such as square, oval, round, or even rectangular. If you have a flat roof, you can get draft increasing chimney caps, but you may need an adaptor to install this type of chimney cap if you have a masonry chimney. If you wish to increase the performance of your chimney flue, you might look at draft master caps, which will use wind to meet this goal, Older fireplaces might benefit from integral damper mechanisms to cause a better draft. Top sealing fireplace dampers can reduce downdrafts and heat loss. For help in making a decision on which chimney cap best suits your needs, talk to a chimney sweep company like Owens Chimney Systems, where our expert technicians can look at your home and give options that will best suit your needs. In fact, Owens Chimney Systems manufactures our own custom chimney caps, so you know your chimney cap will be exactly what your home needs.

Caring For Your Chimney Cap

Owens Chimney Systems offers top-notch chimney cap maintenance, inspection, repair, and replacement. If you need a new chimney cap or if you don’t have a chimney cap, they can recommend exactly the chimney cap that will meet your individual needs. They will be able to advise you on whether you can repair your existing chimney cap or whether a new one is your best option. Give us a call today and you will soon be able to rest easy, knowing that your home is protected from the elements and any unwanted visitors that might enter through the chimney.

Published by James Owens on February 25th, 2017 and tagged with: Tags: , , , | No Comments

Hints That Your Gas Fireplace Isn’t Working Properly

A warm, crackling, cozy fire on a cold, snowy night is hard to beat. Can you imagine having a warm, crackling fire without the fuss and mess of cleaning up? That’s exactly what you have when you have a gas fireplace. Gas fireplaces have many advantages: they are easy to light, they are relatively mess-free, and they are quite energy efficient. Although relatively easy to maintain and stress-free, unfortunately, sometimes problems arise with gas fireplaces that need attention. When these things happen, it’s great to have a company like Owens Chimney Systems that you can turn to. When you call Owens, you can rest assured that any problems will be taken care of quickly and efficiently.

Pilot Light Isn’t Lit

Angie’s List reveals one possible reason your gas fireplace may not be working is that the gas might not be turned on. A good place to start is to make sure the gas is on. If your gas fireplace has not been used in a while, you may need to remove the air from the pilot tubing. Hold the pilot button down for a few minutes and let the air bleed out. This could be a simple fix to your problem. If this doesn’t work, it could be that there is debris between the spark igniter and the thermocouple. Make sure that this debris is cleared out. If that doesn’t take care of the problem, it could also be that the thermocouple is worn out and needs to be replaced. If that happens, give Owens Chimney Systems a call!Hints That Your Gas Fireplace Isn't Working Properly - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney Systems

Circuit Breakers

If your gas fireplace isn’t working, it could be that there is too much power running through your electrical system and this could be causing your circuit breakers to trip. Check out your breaker box and reset any tripped breakers.

Gas Issues

It could also be that your gas valve is not open, which means that your fireplace isn’t getting the fuel it needs to light. Make sure that this valve is open and in the on position. Also, if your gas fireplace is reliant on a propane tank, make sure that it is delivering gas to your gas fireplace. Check to make sure that one, the propane tank is switched open and two, that your tank has fuel in it.

Who To Call If There’s An Issue

Owens Chimney Systems also offers the best gas fireplaces, gas logs, and gas inserts in the business. They can handle the installation of your gas fireplace and advise you on which appliance is best for your needs. We can advise you on whether you need a vented or vent-free system, and what style will best suit your needs. Not only can they offer expert advice and installation, they can take care of any other issues that may arise.

You gas appliances need to be inspected, cleaned, and serviced on a regular basis. You should call Owens Chimney Systems for great service and knowledgeable technicians.

Published by James Owens on February 9th, 2017 and tagged with: Tags: , , , | No Comments

Benefits of Using a Fireplace Fireback

Your fireplace offers warmth and comfort during snowy winter weather. In addition, it takes the chill out of nippy, autumn air. A fireplace can also be a focal point of beauty in your living area or any other room. However, fireplaces aren’t necessarily known to be efficient when heating large rooms. There is a simple solution to increasing the efficiency of your fireplace. Add a fireback!  They help with heating your room. Also, a fireback can add a pleasing element to a fireplace that may be starting to look rundown.

Benefits of Using a Fireplace Fireback Image - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney SystemsIncreasing Fireplace Efficiency

A fireback is simply what it sounds like. It’s a metal insert that fits in the back of your fireplace. The concept is not a new one. According to Ask the Chimney Sweep, firebacks were used during colonial times to protect the back of the firebox. This is because they were often susceptible to damage because of the building materials used at the time. In current times, advances in the structure and building materials of fireboxes have made them much less likely to be damaged. On the contrary though, the idea of using a fireback still remains popular. Rather than being used as a protective device, firebacks are now used to help your fireplace burn more efficiently.

The idea is simple: when you burn a fire in your fireplace, the bricks absorb a lot of heat. Because of this absorption, the heat safely dissipates and other materials in the construction of the chimney will not catch fire. If you were to install a stainless steel radiant fireback in your fireplace, this will allow some of the heat that would be absorbed by the bricks to reflect back into the room instead. According to experts, if you install a radiant fireback the efficiency of your fireplace can increase by almost 50%.

Decoratively Pleasing

According to an article published in the New York Times, fireplace firebacks are not only a simple way to increase efficiency. They can also be an inexpensive way to add a decorative touch to your room. You can, of course, purchase plain, stainless steel firebacks. However, you can also add to the beauty of your living room by purchasing a cast iron fireback. These provide protection for your fireplace. Plus, they also come in intricate designs that add to the attractiveness of your living area!

Stainless Steel vs. Cast Iron

Cast iron firebacks hold the heat longer than stainless steel firebacks. They are also much heavier than stainless steel, however, which makes them difficult to move. Plus, it may also cost much more than stainless steel to ship to your home. Having said that, either type of fireback is a great way to add to the efficiency of your fireplace.


Whether you are looking to increase the efficiency of your fireplace or add to the beauty of your room, a fireback may be just what you’re looking for. If you have questions about adding a fireback to your fireplace system, just give the experts at Owens Chimney Systems a call!

Published by James Owens on January 27th, 2017 and tagged with: Tags: , , | No Comments

Protect Your Chimney With A Chimney Cap

There are many parts to the chimney – some that you could easily name and others that are a bit more obscure. There’s the hearth and the surrounding mantle, the firebox, the flue and the damper. However, there are less-known parts of the chimney that are equally important. One of these is the chimney cap.

Protect Your Chimney with a Chimney Cap Image - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney SystemsWhy Do You Need A Chimney Cap

A quality chimney inspector will look for a chimney cap during inspection. It’s not altogether uncommon for this important component of your chimney system to be missing because the importance is underestimated. There are two good reasons for you to have a chimney cap:

  1. A chimney cap stops things from blowing down your chimney. The wind can blow paper, trash, or dry leaves into your chimney, and these things can cause blockages in your chimney. Not only that, but your chimney is a perfect place for birds, squirrels, and other small animals to build nests. These nests and other blockages can catch sparks from your fire and cause a chimney fire to occur. And if your chimney hasn’t been cleaned lately, you could have a major creosote build-up in your chimney. This could cause a burning blockage to turn into a catastrophic fire.
  2. Not only are animals and garbage kept out of your chimney by a chimney cap, but so is precipitation. And when the snowy, sleety weather in North Carolina hits, a chimney cap will keep it out! According to wiseGEEK, moisture mixes with the creosote that can build up inside your chimney and this can eat away at the mortar in the firebox and flue. It can also cause rust to build up on the metal parts of the fireplace, such as the damper. So a chimney cap is really necessary!

The other reason that a chimney cap is important is because it keeps sparks from leaving your chimney and escaping onto your roof or the ground. Roof fire or, if conditions have been dry, a major ground fire that could harm not just your home, but other buildings in your neighborhood could result from these sparks.

Types of Chimney Caps

The National Fire Protection Association gives advice on what type of chimney caps are available. Each unique chimney shape requires it’s own standard chimney cap. Flat roofs require draft increasing chimney caps. You will need an adaptor to install this if you have a masonry chimney. Integral damper mechanisms result in a better draft and can be used in older fireplaces. On the other hand, top sealing fireplace dampers can reduce heat loss and downdrafts. To help you decide which cap is best for you, call the experts at Owens Chimney Systems.

Call Owens Today

Owens Chimney Systems knows what type of chimney cap you need, how to install it, and how to keep it in good repair. Trust the professionals at Owens Chimney Systems to care for your chimney cap and determine if it is working at its highest potential. Keep your chimney in great working order with the professionals at Owens Chimney System.

Published by James Owens on January 12th, 2017 and tagged with: Tags: , , | No Comments

Burning the Right Wood In Your Wood Burner

Thinking about starting a fire in your fireplace this winter? Well, there’s more to think about than just lighting a match and throwing it on top of the woodpile! One important consideration is what type of firewood you should use. Two things to consider are – how quickly you want it to burn and how hot you want your fire to burn.

Burning the Right Wood In Your Wood Burner Image - Charlotte NC - Owens ChimneySeasoned Wood

No matter what type of wood you’re burning, you’ll want to make sure that it is well-seasoned. There’s a lot of talk out there about burning hardwoods vs. softer woods. While this does make a difference in the type of fire you’ll have, says that what is more important is that your wood is cut and split to the correct size and dried properly. The higher the moisture content, the harder it is to keep the fire burning. Energy content is wasted because your fire will be burning the moisture out of the wood initially. This will also cause your fire to be smoky.

Quick Burn vs Slow Burn

The Firepit and Grilling Guru explains that hardwoods will burn slower than softwoods. So, if you’re looking to linger in front of the fire, you might want to try using ash, hard maple, apple, or oak. Other nights, you may not have the whole night to while away the time, but still want to take the edge of the chill in the room. On these nights, you’ll want a faster burning fire. Softer woods, such as spruce or fir, will burn more quickly. Therefore, if you want a fire, but don’t want to wait up for it to burn down, these are the woods for you!

Hot Fires vs. Cooler Fires

If you’re burning a fire, of course you are going to want a hot fire, correct? In most cases, this may be true. However, if you are burning early fall or late spring fires, it might be that you don’t need a hot, hot fire to keep your room warm. According to the Jotul website, softwoods will burn quickly. This makes them perfect for the start and end of winter, when the temperatures are not as cold. They are also often cheaper and provide a cleaner burn.

An important thing to remember is that a hot fire will give off less emissions than a smoldering fire. So, the importance of well-seasoned wood can’t be overemphasized. For less creosote build-up in your stovepipe, make sure that any wood that you are building has been dried for at least a six month period of time.

Call Owens

No matter what type of wood you burn in your wood burning stove, a creosote build-up will occur over time. That’s why annual chimney inspection and cleaning is so important, whether burning in a fireplace or in a wood-burning stove. Owens Chimney Systems has been in business since 1989, and all of their lead service technicians are Chimney Safety Institute of America certified. You can trust them to inspect your chimney and take care of any cleaning or repair needs. Give them a call soon to be sure your wood burning stove is running efficiently and safely!

Published by James Owens on December 21st, 2016 and tagged with: Tags: , , | No Comments

Provide Safe Warmth For Your Family This Holiday Season

The holiday season is here. Friends and family gather to share in special traditions and create memories that you can cherish throughout the year. Not to mention, relaxing in front of a crackling fire. Unfortunately, this scene can turn ugly in a hurry if you don’t exercise safe practices when you have a fire burning. There are several things you should do if you have a fireplace, especially if you’ll have children around during the holiday season.

Provide Safe Warmth For Your Family This Holiday Season - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney SystemsFireplace Safety

The number one thing you should do to make sure your holidays don’t get ruined by a fireplace disaster? Have your chimney and fireplace inspected and cleaned, well before the holiday season hits. When you’re looking for a chimney sweep service, it is important to hire someone who is Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) certified. This ensures that your chimney inspection is held to the highest standard of quality in the industry. All the lead technicians at Owen’s Chimney Systems are CSIA certified and participate in mandatory industry training. In doing this, making sure they stay ahead of all the latest technical advances in the industry. They’ll make sure you go into the holidays knowing that your chimney is clean, obstruction free, and in great working condition.

It’s also important to know how to start your fire safely. According to the Hearth, Patio, and Barbeque Association website, a perfect fire starts with seasoned firewood. If the wood isn’t dry enough, you will have a smoky fire. Crumple paper and stick it on the grate or cover the paper with kindling or a fire starter. Make sure the fireplace damper is fully open. Afterwards, light the paper. When the initial fire is burning brightly, add the seasoned wood and shut your fire screen. This way you’ll have a safe, warm fire to brighten your holiday gatherings.

Another way to make sure that your fire stays safe? Make sure there is nothing flammable near the fireplace. This includes furniture, curtains, books, and toys. Consequently, any of these can easily catch fire and put your home and loved ones in danger.

Also, as stated on the website, make sure that you never leave your fire unattended. Be sure that the fire is out before you leave the house or go to bed. Also, never leave small children alone in the room with a fire burning. Another way to make sure that your children don’t get burned is by installing a safety screen in front of your fireplace.

Importance of Smoke Detectors

One thing that often gets overlooked is making sure that you have enough smoke detectors, and that they all have batteries that are charged. According to the U.S. Fire Administration website, you should have a smoke detector installed in every bedroom, outside every sleeping area, and on each floor of the house. This includes the basement, as well. Check your smoke detector batteries once a month, and change the batteries at least twice a year.

Call Owen’s Chimney Service

If you have questions or concerns on holiday fireplace safety, call Owen’s Chimney Service. Their qualified professionals have the answers to help make your Christmas season safe and worry-free! A holiday that will give you happy memories that will last forever.

Published by James Owens on December 7th, 2016 and tagged with: Tags: , , | No Comments

Keep Smoke Out Of Your Living Area

Avoid Smoke in Your Home Image - Charlotte NC - Owens Chimney SystemsWhen it’s cool outside, it just feels so cozy to build a fire in the fireplace. What a great way to get the chill out of the air in your home! But if the room fills with smoke, then the enjoyment goes out the window. There are several reasons this may be happening, and all of them are an easy fix when you call the professionals at Owens Chimney Systems.

Air-tight House

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, one reason for this problem may be that your home was just built too well! Modern homes are built to be air-tight, and this can cause a situation in which the air is drawn down an unused flue, picking up smoke that is exiting nearby from the fireplace in use. This smoke then comes back into the living area. A simple solution to this could be to open your windows a little ways; another solution would be to install a top mount damper on the fireplace is not used as often.

Creosote Build-up

Another reason that you may be getting smoke back in your room instead of out the chimney may be because of a creosote build-up. So, what is creosote? According to the CSIA website, when you use your masonry fireplace by-products such as smoke, unburned wood particles, hydrocarbons, and more are released. The purpose of your chimney is to provide a passage to release these by-products into the air rather than into your home. As they move up your chimney, they cool and leave a residue behind which coats the inside of your chimney. This residue is known as creosote. If this creosote build-up gets too thick, the air flow can become restricted, smoke won’t be able to make its way out of your chimney as efficiently, and your room may become smoky. An even bigger concern to a thick creosote build-up is that this creosote is extremely flammable, and a chimney fire may occur.

Damaged Chimney Flue

The Inspectapedia website tells us that a damaged chimney flue can occur for several reasons, and a damaged flue will also cause problems when burning a fire in your fireplace. Whether your flue was damaged from improper installation, frost, not having a properly installed chimney cap, no chimney cap, or any other reason, a damaged flue may be the reason for smoke in your living area. If the smoke is not being guided out of the house by a working flue system, the result may be smoke heading into your home.

Diagnosing the Problem

If you are having an issue with smoke in your living area when you burn a fire in your fireplace, it’s time to call in the professionals to diagnose and solve your problem. At Owens Chimney Systems, all our lead service technicians are CSIA certified; they also participate in mandatory industry training so that they are on the cutting edge of technical advances in the chimney care industry. They know how to diagnose your chimney problems and how to make these problems disappear. For exceptional service, contact us online or give us a call today!

Published by James Owens on November 23rd, 2016 and tagged with: Tags: , , , | No Comments