Smoke chamber parging is an important maintenance job you may need and don’t know about. Unfortunately, many of the homeowners we serve here in the Hillsborough area don’t know what the smoke chamber is – or what parging it even means. So let’s break it down.
Questions? Give us a call or reach out online now. We’re here to help.
Is Smoke Chamber Parging Necessary?
The smoke chamber refers to the area directly above the fireplace chimney damper and below the flue. It looks like an upside-down funnel. This unique shape helps draw the smoke neatly from the firebox space and direct it towards the narrow part of the chimney.
So, what is smoke chamber parging? Parging is a technique that is used to create smooth, airtight surfaces on the masonry walls of the smoke chamber to enhance venting efficiency while minimizing heat transfer. And, in fact, many current building codes now require it. Why is it such a must?
When done correctly, parging offers several benefits:
- Improved safety of the chimney venting system
- Increased structural integrity of the smoke chamber area
- Improved draft and fireplace performance (which, in turn, lowers the amount of creosote buildup within the chimney system)
How To Know If Your Smoke Chamber Needs Attention
There are several signs to look out for that will help alert you when your smoke chamber isn’t functioning properly.
Things like cracks or gaps, excessive creosote buildup, unpleasant odors, visible smoke or sparks escaping the fireplace, and water damage all indicate your system needs further attention.
That said, like most internal areas within your chimney structure, your smoke chamber isn’t always so easy to access…which means, as a homeowner, you may not be able to easily tell if something is wrong or poorly constructed.
That’s why we always recommend having a thorough chimney or fireplace inspection done by a licensed and certified chimney technician – like the team here at Highpoint! We have the training and proper internal camera equipment to safely inspect and evaluate not only your smoke chamber, but every other part of your chimney, as well. We’ll also be able to recommend the best method for parging and create a personalized plan for moving forward with any other necessary fireplace repair services.
How Does Smoke Chamber Parging Work?
In order to achieve the unique upside-down funnel shape of the smoke chamber, bricklayers of the past laid the bricks similar to how you would picture stairs. This is also called corbelling. Unfortunately, it leaves large gaps in between the brick surfaces – and when the surface of the smoke chamber is not smooth, it slows down the exit of smoke and gases.
This extra time that the smoke and gas spends in the smoke chamber allows them to cool and settle to the walls. This is what causes excessive creosote buildup.
The process of parging the smoke chamber is relatively simple.
✓ First, it involves thoroughly cleaning the area that is going to be covered. We will use a soot and creosote removal agent to remove loose mortar, creosote, soot, and grime so the parging will bond well with the wall.
✓ Then, we will look at the brick and replace any that have eroded too deeply.
✓ Finally, it is time to parge the smoke chamber. In order to smooth out the surfaces within the smoke chamber, there are two different methods that are used:
- Spray on: The chimney technician will spray a new coating over the existing surfaces of the smoke chamber using specialized spray equipment. This helps achieve an even and uniform appearance.
- Hand Application: This process involves applying a special mortar or a cement-based mix which is hand troweled to fit the interior dimensions of the smoke chamber, making sure the material fills all gaps, cracks, and voids on the surface – and creating a smooth funnel to the flue.
Regardless of which method is used on your chimney, you should end up with that desired airtight and smooth surface within the smoke chamber to improve the overall safety and performance of your fireplace and chimney.
Who Should I Call to Help With Smoke Chamber Parging Near Me?
Now that you understand what smoke chamber parging is, you might be wondering who you can trust to handle such an essential chimney maintenance service. That’s where Highpoint Chimney Services comes in.
At Highpoint Chimney Services, we take pride in our expertise and professionalism when it comes to handling all of your chimney maintenance and repairs. Our technicians have all of the proper training and certifications needed to inspect your fireplace thoroughly and ensure the services we provide helps your chimney operate as safely and efficiently as possible for years to come.
When you call Highpoint Chimney Services for your smoke chamber parging needs, you can rest assured that all of those hot gases and smoke are safely flowing up and out of your chimney stack. So sit back, relax, and let us handle this.
Give us a call at 908-864-4114 or schedule your appointment online today.