Our Company Blog

The Purpose of a Smoke Chamber

Smoke chambers are the unsung heroes of the chimney system. With the majority of the chimney obstructed from view, people don’t realize that the chimney system is a complex structure. It is full of different parts designed to help smoke travel up and out of your chimney without creating backdrafts. The smoke chamber, in many people’s minds, is one of the most crucial elements of the chimney system.

The Function of the Smoke Chamber

The smoke chamber sits just above the firebox and damper. It serves as a gateway to the chimney flue. In traditional masonry fireplaces, the smoke chamber is angled on the sides and front and vertically flat at the back. This construction is intended to serve as an upside-down funnel. It draws the smoke neatly from the wider firebox space to the narrower chimney.

Common Problems with Smoke Chambers

Masonry smoke chambers are problematically constructed from rectangular bricks. This means that the surfaces of the smoke chamber are rough, with many 90-degree angles and factory-made holes in the bricks. These steps and holes become the perfect collection points for soot and creosote. For that reason, many smoke chambers become filthy over time, which is especially dangerous considering the flammable nature of creosote. Additionally, the many sharp angles prevent smoke from traveling neatly from the firebox to the flue. Instead, the smoke hits the jagged edges and is forced into swirling motions, causing smoke to draft backward into the firebox or prevent it from being drawn efficiently up and out of the chimney.

Solving Smoke Chamber Problems

Smoke chamber problems caused by corbeled bricks are most often solved with a process called parging. Parging involves smoothing the surface of the smoke chamber with masonry materials designed just for the job. Parging brings several benefits, such as providing a smooth surface over which the smoke can pass on its way to the chimney. In addition, it eliminates nooks and crannies that can collect creosote and soot. Additionally, parging can help to insulate the chimney so that it better retains heat, which helps smoke to draw more efficiently up your chimney. Parging also can be used to resolve an improperly sized smoke chamber or a smoke chamber that was built asymmetrically. Finally, parging can fill in any holes or cracks that have formed in the walls of your smoke chamber.

If your chimney doesn’t seem to be drafting properly, and you get smoke in your home when you light a fire, your smoke chamber could be to blame! If you’re ready to correct your smoke chamber with parging for safer, more effective chimney function, call Your Chimney Sweep to schedule an appointment today!

By Joe Sauter on November 27th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

Fall Maintenance For Your Gas Furnace

Don’t get caught in the cold this winter. One of the biggest problems a homeowner can face is a dead furnace on a cold winter night. With proper fall maintenance, you can help your furnace to run safer and more efficiently, and help to extend the life of your furnace and spot any potential problems before your furnace completely expires. There are a few simple steps to caring for your gas furnace each fall to ensure optimal performance.

Turn Off the Power

Before you proceed with annual maintenance for your gas furnace, you need to turn off the electricity and fuel to your furnace. Turn off the electrical switch to the unit, and close off the fuel line. The on/off switch for your gas furnace should be near the base of the unit.

Clean & Inspect the Combustion Chamber

Gas furnace maintenance begins with a cleaning and visual inspection of the combustion chamber. Remove the door to the combustion chamber and thoroughly vacuum it out. Inspect the chamber for any signs of rust, corrosion or deterioration.

Clean & Inspect the Blowers

Just as you did with the combustion chamber, clean and inspect the blower compartment. Open the door to the compartment and vacuum out the inside. Inspect the compartment for holes or deterioration.

Change the Filter

Your furnace filter traps any dust or particles that would enter the furnace and potentially damage it. Change the furnace filter before you begin running the furnace for the year, and replace or clean the filter once every three months while the furnace is in use.

Oil the Bearings

If you have an older furnace, your furnace might have two bearings and two blower-shaft bearings, which need to be oiled once a year. If the bearings are there, remove the caps and wipe the bearings clean. Add two to three drops of machine oil and replace the caps.

Check the Burner Flames

Now that your furnace is clean and oiled, restore the power and fuel to the unit. Turn the furnace on and inspect the burner flames. The flames should burn bright blue and should burn steadily. If the flames are yellow or inconsistent, you should have your furnace checked by a professional.

Have Your Furnace Swept & Inspected

It’s also crucial to have your furnace flue swept and inspected by a professional. The sweeping will clear away any corrosive soot and guarantee that there aren’t any hazardous blockages in the flue, which could drive carbon monoxide back into your home. During the inspection, your sweep will look for cracks or flaws in the furnace flue and make sure that the liner is in good shape and safe for use.

If you’re preparing your gas furnace for the winter, call Your Chimney Sweep to schedule a furnace flue sweeping today! We’ll make sure that your furnace flue is clean and safe to use this winter.

By Joe Sauter on November 9th, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , | Leave a Comment