Have you ever heard the expression “canary in the coal mine”? It comes from the practice of coal miners taking a canary into a coal mine as an early-detection warning sign of dangerous gases. If the canary died, it was a sign of danger to coal miners. As for the rest of us not in the coal mines, it is said that women and children have a keener sense of detecting odors than men do. If that’s the case and a woman or child says your chimney smells, it is wise to pay attention.

What do chimney odors indicate - Fort Wayne IN - Old SmokeysIf you do have chimney odors, how do you solve problems related to them? Old Smokey’s has experience and expertise to share on this nettlesome issue. First, let us note that chimney and fireplace odors are related; they are part of the same contiguous system. Sometimes it is hard to distinguish fireplace odors from chimney odors. Therefore, it is well worth dissecting the problem to discern what type of odor you are experiencing and what is causing it.

It pays to do a little detective work to determine the type of odor your chimney is giving off. Old Smokey’s has experienced professionals who can help you to sort this out. If your chimney smells like tar or asphalt, it’s probably coming from a buildup of creosote on your chimney walls. A musty odor likely indicates some sort of water intrusion. And odors that smell like decomposing materials might be signs of rotting leaves, damp soot or even animal droppings or dead creatures.

As for probably the most common odor cause, creosote buildup, the Chimney Safety Institute of America, or CSIA , notes that creosote is a “natural byproduct of woodburning. The odor is usually worse in the summer when the humidity is high and the air conditioner is turned on. A good sweeping will help but usually won’t solve the problem completely. There are commercial chimney deodorants that work pretty well, and many people have good results with baking soda or even kitty litter set in the fireplace. The real problem is the air being drawn down the chimney, a symptom of overall pressure problems in the house. Some make-up air should be introduced somewhere else in the house.”

What about musty odors caused by water intrusion? If this is your problem, you’ll likely need to have a chimney cap or top-mounted damper installed to keep rainwater and moisture out.

Instead of dealing with theoretical causes of your odor problem, or its solution, why not have Old Smokey’s take a look? Let us help you end the guessing game. We’ll give you a professional diagnosis and find the real-life cause. Then we’ll offer options to fix the problem based on our vast and successful experience.

We invite you to visit us at our offices in Ashley, Indiana or to schedule an appointment by calling 260-424-0009. You can also book an appointment online. Let Old Smokey’s be the canary in your chimney — and let us go a step further by solving any chimney odor problems.