Professional Smoke Chamber Parging
Fireplace and chimney users may have heard the term “smoke chamber parging,” but many people don’t know exactly what it means and why it’s important. Northeastern Chimney of West Hartford, CT, would like to give you a helpful overview of smoke chambers and job of smoke chamber parging.
What Is a Smoke Chamber?
All traditional fireplace-chimney systems have a smoke chamber. It’s a constructed area just above the throat damper through which smoke and exhaust moves to get to the flue.
A smoke chamber is shaped kind of like an upside-down funnel – in fact, that’s the job it’s designed to do: efficiently funnel smoke out of the fireplace and up into the chimney flue.
Like the flue itself, the smoke chamber is an area of a chimney system that few people ever see. And that’s why it needs to be included in regularly scheduled chimney inspections by licensed inspectors.
Common Smoke Chamber Problems
Many older smoke chambers were made from what’s known as “corbeled” brick, which results in a sort of stair-step interior surface. The edges of the “steps” are perfect for trapping smoke and allowing creosote to build up quickly.
Creosote is highly flammable and is responsible for most chimney fires, many of which start in smoke chambers, throughout Connecticut each year. Creosote is also acidic and can eventually eat away at the bricks.
When creosote and soot build up within the smoke chamber, it can make smoke from the fireplace draft poorly. This can lead to smoke and carbon monoxide backing up into the home.
If the surfaces of the smoke chamber are cracked, split or otherwise open, intense heat and combustion gases can be released into adjacent parts of the home. House fires can start this way, and breathing air in the home can be compromised.
A final note: you may be having smoke chamber issues because the chamber, when built, was incorrectly sized for your chimney-fireplace system. If this is the case, modifications can be made to correct the problem.
What Is Smoke Chamber Parging?
Smoke chamber parging uses high-grade refractory mortar to coat and smooth out the surfaces within the chamber. This process effectively repairs damaged surfaces, fills in cracks and holes, and provides a smooth drafting environment for smoke. When performed by experienced chimney technicians, smoke chamber parging will give you a chimney system with increased safety and efficiency.
Your chimney company should be able to guarantee that all parging and any other repair work on your smoke chamber will comply with state and local code requirements. There are also smoke chamber guidelines set forth by the National Fire Protection Association that must be adhered to.
Does Your Smoke Chamber Need Parging?
Clues that your smoke chamber may need attention include:
- Smoke backing up into the room
- Difficulty starting and maintaining fires
- Unusual odors coming from the fireplace
Note that these clues can point to other chimney problems. This is why the only way to know the exact state of your smoke chamber and all parts of your chimney system is to have them inspected.
Call Your West Hartford Smoke Chamber Experts
If it’s time to have your smoke chamber checked out, the experts at Northeastern Chimney are ready to help. We provide CSIA-certified chimney inspections, smoke chamber parging, chimney sweeping and all types of chimney repair work.
Speak with a chimney professional today at (860) 233-5770. You can also get in touch with our handy contact form.