If you have an older masonry chimney, a smoke chamber is part of your fireplace and chimney system. Located between the firebox and the flue, the smoke chamber is where smoke and gases mix and rise up into the flue to exit the chimney. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), the most common repair done to a smoke chamber is parging. What exactly is parging and how does it benefit your fireplace and chimney system? To answer these questions for you, All American Chimney Service. LLC would like to tell you more about this masonry service we offer to our customers.

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What is parging?

Parging a smoke chamber refers to applying a coating of mortar over its bricks to smooth out the surface. This adds insulation to the smoke chamber so that more heat is maintained inside the flue, which allows for better drafts in your chimney system.

What are other benefits to a parged smoke chamber?

Not only does a parged smoke chamber produce better drafting, but a properly done parging job by a certified chimney professional also improves the safety of the chimney, increases the structural integrity of that part of the chimney, lowers the accumulation of creosote buildup within your chimney, and makes it easier for your chimney to be serviced correctly. Parging the smoke chamber also makes your chimney compliant with local and international building codes.

Why do local and international building codes recommend the smoke chamber of a chimney be parged?

If the smoke chamber is too deep, too wide, or too tall, parging this area to improve its construction helps to avoid draft problems. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends that smoke chambers not be taller than the fireplace opening width, or deeper than the fireplace opening. The NFPA also states that the walls of a smoke chamber should not incline more than 45 degrees from vertical. Additionally, smoke chamber walls should be smooth to reduce turbulence.

When can my smoke chamber be parged?

While the best time to parge a smoke chamber is at the time the chimney is originally constructed, your smoke chamber can be parged at any time after construction, although it can be a difficult, costly project.

Have questions about your smoke chamber? Contact All American Chimney Service, LLC to talk to our staff about parging the smoke chamber in your chimney.