The chimney system is one that is very important to the proper function and safety of the fireplace. The firebox holds the fire and the chimney—more specifically, the flue—vents the fire. The space where the smoke travels to rise up into the flue is called the smoke chamber. It’s hidden from sight and works continuously while a fire is burning in the fireplace. If it becomes damaged over time by neglect or general wear-and-tear, it can become a problem for your winter fire, and the safety of your home year-round.

The Smoke Chamber
The smoke chamber is the space where the particulate matter, soot, creosote, and gases mix together with the heat from the fire in order to rise up the chimney. It’s shaped like an inverted funnel and this shape directs the smoke into the flue. The walls should be slanted appropriately and insulated to a smooth heat-resistant finish. On one side, the wall is straight up and down and the other is at a specific slant that directs the smoke into the flue. Beneath the straight wall is a shelf designed to stop the smoke from falling back into the fireplace. A smoky fireplace can ruin anyone’s good day, and a healthy smoke shelf and smoke chamber can keep this from happening. The smoke chamber withstands consistently high temperatures, large amounts of soot, creosote, and hazardous chemical gases that lead to masonry damage, buildup, and eventually, a serious drop in efficiency.

Signs of Smoke Chamber Problems
If you have a smoky fireplace, it is the first sign of a smoke chamber problem. Consistent breathing illnesses due to smoke inhalation can occur if there is a problem with the smoke chamber and it isn’t repaired.
Other signs of a smoke chamber problem include:
-Shiny, slick-looking, and blackened masonry
-Pieces of brick or mortar falling into the fireplace
-Difficulty lighting a fire with appropriate materials and skills
-Black stains near the top of the fireplace where smoke rises into the chimney.

Professional Services for Safety and Efficiency
The average homeowner will not see a problem with the smoke chamber for one simple reason: out of sight, out of mind. Additionally, a smoky fireplace doesn’t seem like a big deal, and most homeowners don’t realize how often it happens. The best way to protect your family from increased fire risk, smoke inhalation, and carbon monoxide poisoning is to schedule routine services with a professional. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) agree that the safest and most efficient chimneys are those that are cleaned and inspected annually.

Schedule these important services with Northwest Fireplace and Chimney and you can rest assured that your chimney and fireplace is ready for burn season. We inspect and clean chimneys year-round. We repair and rebuild masonry and, yes, smoke chambers!

Call the experts at Northwest Fireplace and Chimney at 219-413-2349 or request information at today.