Maintaining a clean smoke chamber

By now, you understand the importance of keeping your chimney clean. You may not know the importance of keeping one element of your chimney particularly clean: The smoke chamber.

What is the smoke chamber?

The smoke chamber is the bottommost portion of your chimney, located just above the damper. The smoke angles inward and upward toward the chimney flue. When your fireplace is in use, the smoke chamber funnels the smoke from your fires into the chimney flue.

Why is it so important to maintain a clean smoke chamber?

Smoke chambers take a lot of abuse. When a fire is burning, the smoke chamber is subjected to extremely high temperatures. Any creosote or debris that has built up within the smoke chamber is a fire hazard. The extreme heat from the fire can cause creosote or debris to ignite. In fact, many chimney fires originate within the smoke chamber.

Additionally, creosote and soot can build up rapidly within the smoke chamber. The shape of the smoke chamber can cause smoke to bounce around the chamber when fire is burning, causing creosote to form. On top of that the smoke chamber is also tricky to clean. Because of the smoke chamber’s shape and location, the smoke chamber isn’t easily seen or accessed during a chimney sweeping. It takes special care and attention from the chimney sweep to ensure that the smoke chamber is clean and free from any damage or weaknesses.

What else should you know about your smoke chamber?

During your annual chimney sweeping and inspection, it also is wise to ask your chimney sweep about your smoke chamber’s construction. Smoke chambers should be smooth, to help smoke find an easy path to the chimney, but many masonry smoke chambers are improperly constructed. In those chimneys, smoke chambers are feature “steps” caused by the staggering of the bricks, causing the smoke to swirl around and remain in the smoke chamber longer than it should.

If your smoke chamber is improperly constructed, it can be corrected with parging. Parging involves smoothing the smoke chamber walls with a specialized masonry material. Parging your chimney’s smoke chamber makes your chimney safer and increases the efficiency of your chimney. Often, parging the smoke chamber can resolve fireplace smoking problems.

How can you ensure that your smoke chamber is clean and properly constructed?

As with most chimney maintenance, maintaining your smoke chamber begins with a chimney sweeping and inspection. During your sweeping, make sure you ask your chimney technician about the cleanliness, condition and construction of your smoke chamber. If you want to ensure that your smoke chamber is clean, properly constructed and designed to keep your home safe from the threat of a chimney fire, call Your Chimney Sweep to schedule a sweeping and inspection today!