What Is Smoke Chamber Parging And Why Is It Important?
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What Problems Could Arise In A Smoke Chamber

Many older homes in western New York, such as Buffalo’s First Ward, Amherst, and Rochester’s Maplewood Historic District, have chimneys built using corbeled brick techniques. However, this technique creates a rough and jagged surface in the smoke chamber, which traps flammable creosote. Parging the smoke chamber is recommended to address this issue and make a smooth and clean surface. This process improves heating efficiency, reduces creosote buildup, and minimizes fire hazards. 

creosote build up in Rochester, NYCorbeled brick is just one of several problems that could arise in your chimney’s smoke chamber.

Creosote Buildup

The biggest issue for smoke chambers is creosote buildup. Creosote is a highly flammable and sticky substance formed while burning wood or other organic materials. When it accumulates in a smoke chamber, it can increase the risk of a chimney fire. This is why having a clean chimney with a smooth smoke chamber surface is essential.

Reduces Heating Efficiency

Excessive accumulation of soot and damaged brickwork inside the smoke chamber obstructs the natural upward flow of smoke, causing it to linger in the chamber and spill back into the room. It prevents the efficient warming of your living space and increases the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s like a furnace leak that traps heat inside the chamber, causing smoke and carbon monoxide to fill your living space instead of venting outside. A clean and healthy smoke chamber is the secret to maintaining a fireplace that warms the hearth of your home.

Malfunctioning Damper

A damper that doesn’t operate properly can also cause problems in the smoke chamber. The damper, a metal plate regulating airflow in the chimney, is crucial in maintaining proper draft and preventing downdrafts. A warped, rusted, or stuck damper can hinder smoke’s upward flow, leading to problems like backdrafts and wasted energy.

Structural Damage

There is a real risk of structural damage when there are smoke chamber problems. The harsh environment within the narrow chamber, characterized by high temperatures and corrosive gases, can damage the bricks and mortar. Cracks, spalling (flaking or chipping of brickwork), and loose mortar joints compromise the chimney’s structural integrity, increasing the risk of collapse and potential house fires.

What is Smoke Chamber Parging

To prevent the buildup of creosote, experts recommend parging the smoke chamber. Parging involves applying a coat of cement or mortar to the interior surface of the chimney’s smoke chamber. This process creates a smooth and clean surface, significantly improving heating efficiency. A smooth surface reduces the amount of creosote buildup, which, in turn, minimizes fire hazards.

smoke chamber parging in Williamsville, NY

Smoke Chamber Cleaning

The smoke chamber, a hideaway above your fireplace, plays a vital role in your chimney’s health and your home’s safety. Overlooking its maintenance can spell trouble down the road. Soot, ash, and creosote can accumulate in this hidden chamber, disrupting the flow of smoke and creating fire hazards. Regular cleaning by a certified professional ensures your smoke chamber remains unclogged. Inspections, such as an annual checkup for your chimney, can reveal potential cracks, loose bricks, or malfunctioning dampers, preventing safety concerns before they become more dangerous problems.

Smoke Chamber Services in Western NY

We’re in your neighborhood! Whether you have a gas or wood fireplace, insert, or stove, it is vital to have your smoke chamber parged to help prevent a chimney fire.

Call Felgemacher Masonry & Chimney’s certified professionals at (716) 452-9156 in Buffalo or (585) 684-7197 in Rochester to schedule a Smoke Chamber Inspection with a Certified Chimney Sweep® today! You can also contact us online