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!