A well-functioning smoke chamber is integral to the functionality and longevity of your fireplace. If you have noticed that some of the smoke that should be exiting through the chimney is leaking back into your home, it’s essential to schedule an inspection to see if the problem can be resolved by parging the smoke chamber. Parging a smoke chamber is a simple process that can resolve several chimney system issues and restore your fireplace to full functionality.
What Is Parging?
Parging chimney smoke chambers is a common practice performed by a chimney cleaning company. Ideally, smoke from a fire in the fireplace opening should travel quickly past the damper and into the smoke chamber, which is the area of the chimney shaped like an inverted funnel and located just below the flue, and out the top of the chimney system.
When the smoke chamber area has become damaged by water, heat, or physical damage, smoke cannot flow efficiently up the chimney. The smoke builds up in the smoke chamber, and some of it can begin to leak into the home. Parging is a process that seals the interior of the smoke chamber to stop leaks and smooth other damage in the masonry.
When Is Parging Necessary?
Fireplaces with damaged smoke chamber walls are not only unsightly but can also be a fire hazard. During combustion, a byproduct called creosote forms. As the smoke cools, creosote can build up on the interior of the chimney, especially on the smoke chamber walls. This creosote buildup can lead to a chimney fire or more extensive damage to the masonry surfaces of the fireplace. Parging these smoke chambers is the best way to remove creosote buildup and prevent further issues.
Damage to a fireplace chimney is not always evident since creosote can build up without smoke leaking into the home. It’s important to schedule regular inspections to make sure your fireplace does not have any concerns that aren’t visible to the untrained eye. A professional chimney cleaning service can inspect all parts of the fireplace and determine if any buildup or damage is present, then provide a repair and service plan to get it back into operation and functional shape once again.
What Is the Parging Process?
Parging takes place in several stages. Before parging a smoke chamber, a CSIA certified technician removes jagged edges and fills in any cracks or holes with refractory mortar. Any damage should be fixed at this stage so the parging can succeed.
After the mortar surfaces are smooth and the blemishes have been corrected, the chamber is checked for excess creosote buildup. The technician can reduce buildup using a special product that is designed to eliminate creosote from the surface. This makes the fireplace much safer and less likely to be a fire hazard.
When the chamber has a smooth surface and creosote has been removed, if necessary, the chimney is ready to complete the parging process. A special coat is applied that seals the remaining interior surface with heat-resistant material. The coating can also be used to reshape the chamber interior when needed. Once the chamber is coated, it is heat-resistant and properly insulated once again, allowing the smoke to flow easily out of the chimney.
What Are the Other Benefits of Parging?
Smoke chamber parging corrects some of the safety concerns of a fireplace that cannot be solved with a chimney sweep alone. In addition to reducing the potential of a fire hazard, parging can also provide additional benefits to your chimney.
- Better flow. When a smoke chamber has air leaks, cracks, holes, or other damage, it can prevent smoke from flowing from the fire, through the chimney, and outside. After the damage has been fixed and the walls have been sealed, the proper airflow is restored.
- Reduction in the transfer of heat. When smoke cannot flow freely out of a chimney, it builds up within the smoke chamber and heats the walls. Over time, this excess transfer of heat can cause more cracks and damage, meaning more extensive repairs may need to be made.
- Less fireplace maintenance. After your fireplace has been parged, it reduces the amount of maintenance that needs to be regularly completed. You still need to get an inverted chimney sweep for cleaning purposes, but with a smoother interior, the process becomes much easier.
- Less chance for creosote buildup. Creosote is highly flammable, so when excess amounts build up in the smoke chamber, it can be dangerous. Chimneys with little creosote are more efficient and can even lead to the better air quality inside the home.
- Fireplace use longevity. Regular maintenance and repairs increase the longevity of your fireplace. Although fireplaces are rarely removed from homes, they can become completely non-functional without proper maintenance.
Why Choose Chim Chimney?
Located in Hermitage, TN, Chim Chimney has been servicing customers across middle Tennessee for two decades. By providing excellence in customer service and quality results, the team at Chim Chimney has gained a reputation as the premier chimney and dryer vent servicing company in the area. Fully licensed and insured, this team is ready to help you with any of your fireplace and chimney needs. For more information about services or to schedule an appointment for your next chimney cleaning, contact Chim Chimney today.