Does Your Fireplace Smoke Chamber Need Resurfacing?

The smoke chamber is a commonly overlooked area of the fireplace that may require repairs to meet the current standards and prevent a fire. The smoke chamber has historically – and mistakenly – been ignored because it can be hard to access. It is typically hidden behind your chimney’s throat damper and sometimes requires the removal of bricks to reach.

However, it is critical that you have your smoke chamber checked for damages or inadequacies, to ensure that you and your family remain safe.

What Is a Smoke Chamber?

Shaped like an upside-down funnel, the smoke chamber is the area directly above your firebox that helps direct smoke into the flue. When a fire is lit, smoke and hot gases are in direct contact with the tapered smoke chamber walls.

A smoke chamber in good shape will:

  • effectively insulate
  • reduce conduction to combustible materials
  • add structural strength to your chimney
  • help establish a strong draft to keep your fireplace from smoking up your home
  • ensure minimal creosote occurs when drafting

Why Does My Chimney’s Smoke Chamber Need Resurfacing?

Why would anyone need to repair or resurface the smoke chamber? Because building codes require that the walls of your smoke chamber be “parged” smooth – or sealed with mortar – to make sure that dangerous gases like carbon monoxide don’t escape and harm those inside the living space. This also reduces the likelihood of buildup occurring in any nooks and crannies.

Luckily, there now exists a product and technique that allows the certified chimney professionals at Ace Chimney Sweeps, Inc. to more easily, affordably, and effectively resurface your smoke chamber to increase the safety of your home.

What is parging?

Building code requires that smoke chamber walls be at least 8” thick and “parged” smooth. Parging is the proces used to make sure the inside surfaces of the smoke chamber are sealed with a layer of mortar to close off any holes or gaps where heated flue gases or carbon monoxide might escape, possibly causing a fire or physical harm to the home’s occupants.

Chimney diagram showing the parts of a chimney

In some cases, the smoke chamber has not been parged, or holes in the parging may be present. In addition, sometimes the bottom flue tile is not sealed properly to the smoke chamber. Modern insulating mortar products are designed to address these and other smoke chamber deficiencies.

Questions? We’re Here to Help

Those of us at Ace Chimney Sweeps, Inc. are happy to tell you more about how we can seal off and insulate this critical area of your fireplace system. Contact us today for more information or schedule an appointment online today.


Don’t worry! Fireplace odors are no problem for our chimney repair and restoration experts to troubleshoot and fix.