Of all the parts of your chimney system, the firebox experiences the most heat and abuse, and very little attention. The smoke chamber endures nearly as much abuse as the firebox, and probably LESS attention! That’s because the smoke chamber is out of sight, so it’s often out-of-mind.
What is It?
The smoke chamber is the space just above the firebox at the entrance of the flue. In fact, it is the space that directs the smoke into the flue. The shape of the smoke chamber is of an upside-down funnel, with one wall slanted at a very specific slant in order to direct air into the flue. The opposite wall is straight and has a shelf (called a smoke shelf) beneath it that prevents the smoke from falling back into the fireplace. Why does the smoke chamber exist? It’s sole purpose is to provide a space for smoke, heat, gas, and other byproducts to mix before rising up the flue. Without adequate heat, these materials and gases won’t make it up the flue, so this space is crucial for the heat to mix and help the smoke rise up and out of the house.
Reasons for a Smoke Chamber Parge
The high heat, acidic materials, corrosive moisture, and build-up of soot and creosote in the smoke chamber can cause some wear-and-tear that requires attention. If the masonry in the smoke chamber becomes jagged, cracked, or damaged, it can cause air flow to slow and provide gaps and spaces for soot and creosote to deposit and then build up. A damaged smoke chamber can also allow hazardous gases such as carbon monoxide to transfer through cracks and gaps and into the air in your home as well as dangerous temperatures that can weaken supports and raise fire risk.
What You Can Do?
Most homeowners don’t notice a problem with the smoke chamber because it’s hidden from view. It’s important to schedule annual inspections and sweeps so that a professional can assess the entire system on a regular basis and repairs can be made. At Robinson Maintenance Repair we utilize Chamber-Tech 2000 for the best smoke chamber repairs. Chamber-Tech 2000 is a lightweight insulating refractory mortar that smooths, insulates, strengthens, and reshapes even a very badly worn smoke chamber. Using this product, our technicians can bring a smoke chamber into code compliance, and return your system to efficiency and safety even if it was built improperly or is badly damaged.
The Healthy Smoke Chamber
When your smoke chamber is shaped correctly, insulated correctly, and smoothed for best airflow, it will help your chimney system work better. Your draft problems may be a smoke chamber problem. Your smoky fireplace may be corrected by a smoke chamber parge. Call RMR today and schedule an inspection so that you can beat the fall rush and your fireplace and chimney system will be ready for the first fire of the season.
Contact us at 847-290-1883 or request an appointment online.