Enhance Fireplace Efficiency With Our Smoke Chamber Parging Services
One part of the chimney that tends to get overlooked is the smoke chamber. It’s hidden within the fireplace system, so it’s not something people tend to look at, and if problems occur with the chimney, most won’t assume the smoke chamber is the culprit.
Well, smoke chambers cause more issues than you might guess and can lead to fire hazards – which then put your home, system, and family at risk. In fact, around half of the fires we deal with here at American Chimney occur on the smoke shelf – which is at the bottom of the smoke chamber. Gases linger there, catch on fire, and go up into the flue. Fortunately, we can reduce this risk, allowing you to use your system with ease.
Where Is My Smoke Chamber?
So, where exactly is the smoke chamber? Well, the firebox is where you put your wood. Above it is an upside-down cone that’s designed to pull the smoke from the firebox up to the flue – that’s the smoke chamber. The problem is that these are often not designed correctly from the get-go.
All too often, the bricks of the smoke chamber were installed in a stair-step or corbeled pattern. Building codes today require the smoke chamber be parged smooth, but this simply isn’t the reality for many homeowners.
Common Smoke Chamber Issues
Some of the most typical issues we come across with smoke chambers include:
- The smoke chamber was built with a corbeled design.
- There are missing bricks – or missing parts of bricks.
- The bricks being used have holes in them.
- The smoke chamber is too big.
- There are missing mortar joints.
- There are gaps in the flue tiles.
- The area has experienced moisture problems that led to decay and deterioration.
- The walls of the smoke chamber are too thin – they should be at least 8 inches.
- There’s inadequate clearance from combustible materials.
The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) states that 1) the height of the smoke chamber shouldn’t be greater than the inside width of the firebox opening, 2) the depth of the smoke shouldn’t be greater than the depth of the fireplace chamber, and 3) the walls of the smoke chamber should be parged smooth.
Fortunately, our crew can address all of these requirements with our smoke chamber parging services.
What Does “Parged Smooth” Mean?
Parging a smoke chamber smooth means that all of the inside surfaces will be sealed to eliminate any gaps, cracks, or other openings that are present. Essentially, the smoke coming through the smoke chamber shouldn’t be hitting any bumps, ridges, or other obstructions. It should simply flow smoothly up and into the chimney where it can safely exit your home.
The more gases can linger in your smoke chamber, the more likely you are to experience damaging buildup and chimney fires. Gases won’t transition smoothly if the smoke chamber doesn’t have a smooth surface – which is why most building codes now require it.