Beyond their annual chimney sweeping, most people don’t give much thought to the interiors of their chimneys, save one time of year: Christmas! All winter long, fireplaces provide a warm and romantic ambiance, and they add to the enchantment at Christmas by providing Santa with easy entry to homes to bring holiday treats. For those contemplating how Santa will make his way into their homes, they might imagine a simple shoot from the rooftop into their living rooms.
In reality, the interior of your chimney would make it impossible for a real-life Santa to fit down your chimney. Your chimney is a working system of parts, including twists and turns that would block Santa’s path. Here are the parts of your interior chimney and why Santa would never fit down your chimney:
The main portion of your chimney really is just a hollow tube: The chimney flue. The chimney flue extends from your exterior chimney crown to just above your firebox. Long ago, chimney flues were wide enough to accommodate chimney-sweeping children. Today’s chimney flues are much, much more narrow. They would not accommodate a full-sized adult, much less one with a belly like a bowl full of jelly. Every now and again, a news story will surface in which a misguided homeowner decides to try to gain entry through the chimney and becomes trapped.
As the flue nears the firebox, it flares out in the smoke chamber. The smoke chamber is angled at the front of the chimney and flat at the back. It serves to funnel smoke from the firebox into the narrower space of the chimney flue.
At the bottom of your chimney’s smoke chamber is the smoke shelf. The smoke shelf is a flat, vertical surface. It prevents falling debris from landing in your firebox.
You probably are familiar with your chimney’s damper. The damper sits between the lintel — or the front edge of your chimney — and the smoke shelf. When the fireplace isn’t in use, the damper is closed to prevent drafts from coming down the chimney or warm air from escaping your home. When the fireplace is in use, the damper is opened to allow smoke to safely exit out of the firebox and into the chimney. Most dampers are small metal doors in metal frames that, even when open, would be far too small to admit Santa into your home.
So, Santa might not really be able to fit down your chimney with his sack full of presents, but that doesn’t mean your chimney and fireplace shouldn’t be in great shape this Christmas! Going beyond the tale of Santa, fireplaces and chimneys serve as a beautiful Christmas tradition, providing warmth and comfort to your holiday gatherings. Make sure your fireplace and chimney are ready for the holiday season; call Fluesbrothers Chimney Service to schedule your chimney cleaning, repairs or upgrade today!