The age of your home and the type of fireplace often dictate what cleaning and maintenance needs to be done. While chimney sweepings and cleaning the firebox are important, they may only be doing part of the job of cleaning your chimney system. In fact, one of the areas where the most creosote, soot, and ash accumulates cannot easily be seen.
Although they serve an important purpose, smoke chambers – especially those in older homes – are known for retaining the byproducts of combustion. This can cause problems within your fireplace system – as well as endanger the health and safety of your family and friends.
What is a smoke chamber?
Located directly above the firebox, smoke chambers are used to help funnel the hot air, smoke, and gas from the firebox into the chimney. The smoke chambers in many older homes were built with a technique known as corbeling; corbeling creates jagged steps that are easier to build, but can be detrimental to your fireplace system in the long run.
The tiered design of corbeled smoke chambers means there are lots of masonry joints – and lots of potential sources of damage. Because they are rarely completely cleaned, smoke chambers can deteriorate over year after year of exposure to heat, gas, and smoke. Likewise, the tiered steps also provide ample spaces for smoke, soot, ash, and creosote to become trapped in the smoke chamber.
Why your smoke chamber needs to be cleaned
The tiered steps of older smoke chambers can trap ash, creosote, and soot within the numerous masonry joints. And while parging the smoke chamber can help eliminate this kind of buildup, it does not prevent against materials loosened during the chimney sweeping getting trapped.
Because of their location above the firebox and below the chimney, smoke chambers need to be cleaned any time the chimney is swept; if not, the materials loosened from the chimney during the sweeping will land straight in the firebox. This can be extremely dangerous is highly flammable creosote is allowed to remain in the smoke chamber.
Why you need a chimney sweep
The location of the smoke chamber can make it difficult to access, even for chimney professionals. Because of this, it is important to work with a certified chimney sweep in order to ensure your smoke chamber is completely clean.
Many inexperienced or amateur chimney sweeps are be able to remove soot, ash, and creosote from the chimney; removing it from the smoke chamber, however, it a different story. Because it is completely hidden behind walls and has small openings, removing the byproducts of combustion from the smoke chamber can be difficult. Specialty tools – as well as experience – are needed to completely clean the smoke chamber.
Don’t clean your chimney only to have the same byproducts of combustion get stuck in the smoke chamber. Instead, trust a chimney professional to ensure that your smoke chamber – and chimney – are clean and ready to use. For more information on smoke chamber cleaning, contact Coopertown Services today!