At Mr. Smokestack, our Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified staff is asked many questions about fireplaces and chimneys, and one we have often heard involves smoke parging. Believe it or not, the CSIA states that parging is the most common repair done to the smoke chamber of your chimney. Your smoke chamber plays an important role in funneling smoke from the fireplace opening into the flue, so it is important that your smoke chamber be in good condition. Whenever we recommend parging a smoke chamber, the customer often has no idea what we mean. We would like to tell you more about smoke chamber parging and what is involved in this process.
What exactly does parging mean?
An application of a coating of mortar to a brick surface, parging gives a smoke chamber a smooth surface. It can repair an improper design of a smoke chamber and help with draft problems. Parging can seal voids within the smoke chamber that can make it difficult for smoke to exit successfully and safely.
What sort of guidelines of a properly designed smoke chamber are followed when parging?
In its standard for chimneys, fireplaces, vents, and solid fuel appliances, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) states certain guidelines for smoke chambers. A smoke chamber should not be taller than the opening of the fireplace. Nor should it be deeper than the opening. Additionally, smoke chambers should be smooth for reducing turbulence. Many building codes even require that the walls of smoke chambers be parged. Problems with the sizes of smoke chambers arise in the construction of corner fireplaces. These types of fireplaces tend to have large and irregular smoke chambers. However, you can trust the chimney experts at Mr. Smokestack to use specialized skills to correct these issues.
How else can parging my smoke chamber be beneficial?
Improving the draft through its added insulation is a huge benefit of parging a smoke chamber. One of the veteran instructors at the National Chimney Sweep Training School at the CSIA, Bob Fish, says, “You are adding insulating quality to that smoke chamber. Therefore you are going to maintain more heat going into the flue, therefore you are going to have better draft in your system.”
Want to know more about smoke parging? Contact Mr. Smokestack to learn more about what parging can do for your smoke chamber.