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Old Smokey's Fireplace & Chimney's Blog

Why does my fireplace stink?

Your fireplace brings a warm and inviting ambiance to your home. However, this ambiance can be ruined if your fireplace is producing odors that are unpleasant. There are many reasons why your chimney and fireplace are creating bad smells. Here at Old Smokey’s, we want to help you identify what is causing your chimney odors. Not only that, we can remediate them so you can get back to enjoying your living area.

chimney with smoke against blue sky

What causes chimney odors?

There are many reasons why your chimney and fireplace might be producing odors, but some reasons may be more common than others. One of the more common reasons your fireplace is causing odors is because of something called negative air pressure. Modern homes are built to be as energy-efficient as possible by installing windows and doors that are airtight. This is good for your home’s energy consumption, but it does have one unexpected side-effect. Because there is no air flowing through your home, the air pressure inside your home drops forcing it to draw air from the outside. If your home can’t pull air through doors or windows, it will pull air through the chimney along with any odors inside your chimney.

Pressure Imbalances

There are some things you can do to address pressure imbalance. The easiest solution is to simply open a window to relieve the negative air pressure in your home. This solution only works for a while and once your home builds up negative air pressure again, you will have to open the window again. So, although this relieves air pressure conditions in your home, it is only a short-term solution. Normally, your damper should block moist air from coming down your chimney. If it isn’t, it needs to be replaced. At Old Smokey’s we suggest replacing your old damper with a top-sealing damper. Top sealing dampers will block air from coming down your chimney (as well as rain, animals, and debris) and are very durable.

Chimney Moisture

Chimney moisture is another common cause of chimney odor. When water condenses inside your chimney, it can often cause a musty smell. If condensed moisture is allowed to mix with creosote, it can also cause some pretty intense and offensive odors. If moisture is prevented from getting into your chimney, it can remediate a lot of these issues. There are a lot of reasons why moisture could be entering your chimney. Damaged chimney caps, cracked masonry, and a faulty chimney liner are just a few of the reasons that moisture is entering your chimney. If you notice moisture dripping from your chimney into your fireplace, call us. We can identify the cause of the issue and fix it for you.

There are some other reasons why your chimney could be creating odors including, excessive creosote build-up, dead animals, and rotting vegetation. A lot of odor issues can be identified and resolved by scheduling an annual chimney inspection with one of the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) chimney technicians at Old Smokey’s. Don’t let your smelly chimney ruin your home’s ambiance anymore! If you live in the northern Indiana, northern Ohio, or mid-Michigan region, call Old Smokey’s at 800-876-6539 or 260-424-0009, or schedule an appointment online to meet with one of our CSIA certified masons today!

What is making my chimney smell?

“Smell” is one of those odd words in English. Your chimney obviously can’t smell in the way that your dog can sniff out fascinating scents. But your chimney can indeed smell in the sense of giving off unpleasant odors.

We suspect you already knew that.

Let Old Smokey’s Fireplace & Chimney Help!

As for the sense of smell, studies suggest that women have a keener sense of smell than men. Children too are said to have an acute awareness of smell. Although Old Smokey’s can’t claim to have a keener sense of smell than anyone else, we do have experience and expertise on chimney and fireplace odors.

Your fireplace or chimney may be giving off an unpleasant odor for several reasons.

The most common cause of chimney odor is creosote buildup. If your chimney smells like tar or asphalt, it’s probably coming from a buildup of creosote on your chimney walls. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, or CSIA, creosote is a “natural byproduct of wood-burning. The odor is usually worse in the summer when the humidity is high and the air conditioner is turned on.” (Note to readers: check your calendar.)

Here’s another possible cause: maybe a critter got caught in your chimney and died. Or perhaps animals left a nest or other remains that decomposed. Animal-related issues are not the most common cause of chimney odors, but they bear looking into, or smelling into.

It is also possible that rotting leaves, small twigs, or other vegetation got lodged in your chimney. That can result in an odor.

Water intrusion is a common cause of chimney odors, especially if a musty odor presents itself as a rude, uninvited guest. Moisture intrusion can damage chimney linings, bricks or mortar.

In the summer, when you are not building fires, air may be coming down the chimney, instead of going up and out. You may need to open a window in the same room or seal off the top of the chimney in the summer.

Instead of speculating, call Old Smokey’s.

A careful inspection by a qualified professional is a common-sense approach to odor control.

Have Old Smokey’s Fireplace & Chimney inspect and sweep your chimney. With or without chimney odors, the CSIA recommends an annual chimney inspection and cleaning.

Our 30+ years of experience testifies to the trust Old Smokey’s has built throughout northeast Indiana, northwest Ohio, and midsouth Michigan. We are proud of the thousands of satisfied customers we have capably served.

Call 260-424-0009 or 800-876-6539, or schedule an appointment online. Take a look again at the calendar. This is an optimum time to ferret out the causes of any chimney odors you may be experiencing. We don’t expect to find any ferrets, but you never know.

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