Why Does My Chimney Smell?

The fireplace is your escape from the worries of the world. When sitting by a roaring fire, problems seem to melt away as the warming glow and crackling fire help clear your mind. Yet, what happens when your escape begins to smell? Well, there are several reasons a fireplace will begin to emit unpleasant odors. With proper care and regularly scheduled maintenance, you can avoid having your escape turn into a smelly nightmare!

Water Intrusion

A primary cause of odor being emitted from your fireplace is moisture. If not adequately capped, rainwater can make its way into your chimney. This will eventually lead to that “musky” smell you find from areas where there is continued exposure to water. In addition to causing an unpleasant odor, water entering your chimney can cause the premature failure of your damper due to rust and damage the flue lining. These issues are costly to repair compared to the expense of adding a chimney cap to prevent moisture. Another source of water intrusion is from humidity. You may notice the smells more on humid days.

Build-up of Soot and Creosote

“Soot” and creosote are a result of chemical processes that take place when you burn wood. Excess creosote in the chimney will cause an odor similar to hot asphalt in the summer or a poorly maintained barbeque — the more moisture contained in the wood, the higher likelihood of creosote formation in your chimney. In fact, it is impossible to remove the possibility of some creosote and soot deposits in your chimney. Annual cleanings and burning the proper wood will significantly reduce the build-up of creosote in your chimney. During an annual cleaning, a chimney sweep will remove creosote, and by burning well-seasoned firewood, you can reduce the chances of severe creosote formation.

Wildlife Infestation

If your chimney lacks a wire mesh netting system at the furthermost exhaust point, some wildlife may make your chimney its home. And noxious odors may result from animal droppings, or in a worst-case scenario, an animal became trapped and died in your chimney, causing an especially noxious smell. You must always use caution when dealing with any wild animal.

If you suspect an animal is in your chimney, please contact a wildlife control service first. Our company is not certified to remove living animals from chimneys. We will, however, come to clean the chimney of debris and provide a chimney cap.

Differences in Air Pressure

Another culprit of bad smells from your chimney may be the result of negative air pressure. Typically occurring during the summer season, when a homeowner makes improvements on the home like weatherizing, new windows, new roofing, or new exhaust fans, it often leads to “over-sealing” the home. Due to a successful sealing of the residence, unnoticed odors that normally exist in your chimney creep back into the home rather than exiting through the exhaust. Although a common issue, it can easily be resolved by keeping the damper in the closed position while the fireplace is not being used. If your damper is older, new seals may be needed to fully correct the problem of odors.

Schedule Maintenance With Above All Chimney & Masonry to Keep Your Home Odor Free!

Regularly scheduled maintenance and making any necessary repairs is a great way to avoid the chances of your home being invaded by unpleasant smells coming from the chimney. With the services of Above All Chimney & Masonry, you can be assured that your fireplace will remain your warm escape not become a smelly headache! For more information about our chimney cleaning and repair services, contact us today.

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