I'm working through our bug list today and I'm trying to clear up/fix issues that we commonly receive exception emails for. Although all the exceptions (so far) are handled, some don't actually represent an error in the code. For instance, if a third party service goes down temporarily, our code fails, handles the exception and sends us an email.
This can be especially useful during business hours because it allows us to quickly see if something is down and react to it. However, there are also scheduled down times and the exception emails can quickly fill an inbox.
My question is, is there a best practice for gaining insight into your system status? Is an exception email as I've outlined here an acceptable practice or should exception notifications only ever be unexpected?