The Importance of Smoke Chamber Parging
The importance of smoke chamber parging. One important area of your fireplace that you may not think about very often is the smoke chamber.
The smoke chamber sits just above the fireplace damper and is an open area where the fireplace first starts to channel smoke and other gases upward and out of the chimney.
Just like any other part of the fireplace, it can become damaged and need upkeep or repairs over time and should be considered when you are thinking about having maintenance work done on your fireplace.
Smoke chamber parging is a crucial part of keeping your fireplace in top condition and in line with any codes and regulations in your area.
What is Smoke Chamber Parging?
Smoke chamber parging is the most common repair done on smoke chambers.
Parge is another word that means smooth. To parge a smoke chamber, masons apply a layer of mortar to the walls of it.
The mortar helps to fix cracks and irregularities in the smoke chamber, and it also helps to correct structural issues. This is important to make sure your smoke chamber is in top condition and adheres to all code requirements.
There are two different methods chimney technicians use for smoke chamber parging: spray-on and cast-in-place.
With the spray-on parging process, the technician sprays a new coating over the existing surfaces of the smoke chamber to create a smooth and even surface over the entire structure.
Cast-in-place smoke parging involves applying new masonry over corbelled surfaces. It smooths out the surfaces, and it can really benefit older or damaged smoke chambers by strengthening them.
Why is This Process Important?
As a part of your fireplace, it is essential to keep the smoke chamber in excellent condition to avoid hazards or other serious complications from starting a fire.
There are three main reasons why smoke chamber parging is important and can save you a lot of trouble further down the road.
Irregular Smoke Chamber Construction
A smoke chamber that was poorly constructed may have uneven walls, which leads to easier buildup and accumulation of hazardous flammable material inside it.
Some of the common construction irregularities are bulging sections of mortar and poor placement of stones.
When a technician parges these irregularities, they get smoothed out and leave behind a more consistent and even surface. This helps with airflow, which greatly improves your draft and the overall efficiency of your chimney.
Older chimneys are especially prone to have smoke chambers that are constructed in ways that lead to a buildup of creosote and soot, so smoke chamber parging can protect older homes from fire hazards.
Cracks and Holes in Masonry
Sometimes masonry gets damaged over time. Cracks and holes can form inside the smoke chamber and allow air to escape.
These damages affect the draft and the way that it pulls smoke upward and out of the chimney. By parging and applying mortar to these gaps, they can be closed and you can prevent new cracks and holes from forming.
Code Regulation Compliance
Smoke chambers must be parged, according to most building codes. Homes that are older than the building code may still have smoke chambers that have not been parged.
Previous homeowners also may have found ways to avoid smoke chamber parging, thereby not complying with the codes.
In the event of a chimney fire, your house insurance is unlikely to cover damages if your chimney is not up to code, so it is essential to make sure the smoke chamber is parged and all other aspects of the chimney follow current building regulations.
When to Do It
The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends that chimneys be inspected once a year.
Having your chimney inspected on a regular basis, even if nothing seems to be damaged, can ensure your chimney and fireplace are in the highest working condition.
Professional inspectors can check the condition of your smoke chamber and determine if the walls are smooth or if it is in need of parging.
A well-parged smoke chamber will still require regular cleaning to get rid of whatever buildup exists and keep it in working condition.
Schedule a Smoke Chamber Parge Today
Whether you have noticed changes and malfunctions in the way your fireplace functions or just want to check to make sure everything is working the way it should, a professional chimney inspector can give you peace of mind about the controlled fire in your home.
No job is too big or too small for us to handle when it comes to the safety of your fireplace and chimney.
Schedule an appointment today by filling out the form on our website, or give us a call if you have any questions related to smoke chamber parging or the inspection process.