Parging A Chimney Smoke Chamber – Benefits & Process

The process of parging a chimney smoke chamber has been in practice for a long and is done to enhance efficiency.

This process is carried out by a trained chimney technician and involves the use of refractory mortar for sealing and smoothening the smoke chamber masonry surface.

If you’ve thought of performing this procedure on your chimney, it will be good to read along. The information provided here serves to educate and guide the homeowner about what this process entails.

About The Smoke Chamber

A smoke chamber is found directly above the throat damper as well as below the flue. The smoke chamber shape is quite distinct as it takes the form of an inverted funnel.

The wide base directs combustion gases through the chimney.

This unique design is the reason why you won’t find combustion gases getting into your home.

With this vital function, the chimney smoke chamber needs to be smoothened in such a way that it allows smoke and gases to travel fast through and through.

Parging Smoke Chamber

Chimneys have to be designed in such a way that all components perfectly align to aid functionality.

With parging, the smoke chamber of the chimney is under focus. Here, smoke passes through this chamber before it exits the chimney.

What happens at this section of the chimney determines whether you need parging or not. Sometimes, there are defects such as uneven smoke chamber surfaces. In other words, such surfaces may not be smooth.

Without a smooth surface, the movement of smoke through the smoke chamber is delayed.

This slowed down the movement of smoke and gases creates a cooling down effect where smoke gets to settle on walls resulting in soot and creosote buildup.

The impact of accumulated creosote and soot in a chimney is never in doubt. Chimney fires have been mainly due to creosote buildup. Chimney fires can be disastrous as your entire structure may be burnt down completely.

Your best bet is to take preventive measures like parging.

Asides from parging your chimney smoke chamber, you should also observe scheduled yearly chimney maintenance. Here, a chimney sweep comes around to perform the cleaning process.

Materials Used For Chimney Parge

Refractory mortar is a special type of mortar used for chimney parging.

Depending on the angle and reach of the chimney smoke chamber, a technician or chimney sweep applies this mortar either by spraying, with a trowel, or with bare hands.

Whatever the application process is, the final stage involves smoothening of the treated area. Here all gaps and holes are filled too.

What Chimney Parging Does

With a parged chimney smoke chamber surface, there’s less likelihood of rapid creosote buildup as explained above.  Rather, parging smoothes out the smoke chamber surface, thus making hot smoke travel faster along with the chimney and out the flue.

Parged Chimney Benefits

The parging process for chimneys is aimed at increasing efficiency.

Now that is exactly what it does. It offers a wide range of benefits including serving as insulation and also improving fireplace draft.

What more? Chimney parging reduces creosote buildup and also aids with easier maintenance. Additional benefits include enhanced safety and structural integrity

  • Serving as Insulation

Whenever combustion occurs in a fireplace, a lot of heat is produced consisting of heated gases and smoke that move upward. The chimney smoke chamber receives a great deal of this heat.

However, with parging, the intensity of such heat is significantly reduced.

Such protection is a result of insulating the smoke chamber surface. Structural weakness due to thermal exposure is lessened too.

  • Improving Fireplace Draft

Draft movement within a chimney structure is key to its basic operation.

As hot combustion gases and smoke exit a chimney through the smoke chamber and out the chimney flue, safe and effective passage is necessary.

At the same time, air needs to be drawn in to support combustion. With a parged chimney surface, this action is easily achieved.

  • Reduction of Creosote Buildup

We earlier discussed how built-up or accumulated creosote causes fire hazards.

Apart from having a chimney cleared of all creosote deposits, one effective way of reducing creosote buildup is by parging your chimney. With this action, you’re tackling the causes rather than dealing with the effect.

  • Ease of Maintenance

Consider a situation where there’s a rapid buildup of creosote. This will require a chimney sweep coming more often than necessary to have it cleared. With parging, there won’t be a need for such frequent visits.

Maintenance visits are more spread out, thus reducing maintenance stress.

This also impacts cost positively. When chimney sweeps come around, they spend lesser time on the job. This is unlike the situation before parging where creosote accumulation happened fast with more difficult sweeping needed.

  • Enhanced Safety

Safety is a top consideration that fuels the need for chimney parging. Again we take a look at creosote accumulation in a chimney. The faster it occurs, the more risk it poses.

This is mostly due to the uneven surface of the chimney smoke chamber before parging.

Parging eliminates such unevenness and allows for a ready and faster flow of gases and smoke, thus reducing creosote formation. There’s a lesser risk of a chimney fire starting.

  • Improved Structural Integrity

The structural integrity of a chimney is crucial.

As thermal energy is generated through combustive action, the chimney smoke chamber receives a great deal of such heat. Although this is built of durable material, it’s only natural that it weakens over time.

Parging provides an added layer of insulation. This improves structural integrity and also extends the lifespan of your chimney.

Only Patronize Certified Chimney Sweeps

Chimney sweeps are the point men needed for fixing a faulty chimney and also carrying out other maintenance services. It’s necessary to ensure you only call certified chimney sweeps.

The Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) issues certification to qualified chimney sweeps.

You’ll need to find out that a technician is certified before giving them the nod to proceed with the maintenance procedure.

Parging a chimney is a process that requires the right expertise. So far, we’ve seen the different ways this process is carried out. This includes the benefits as well as who to call for the job.

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