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Old Smokey's Fireplace & Chimney's Blog

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.

Reduce Fire Hazards This Winter

Winter brings along Jack or Jacqueline Frost, occasional snow days, and potential fire hazards. For one thing, fire hazards arise in the winter simply because your fireplace and chimney get used a lot. Old Smokey’s Fireplace & Chimney knows a thing or two about fireplaces and chimneys, as our name declares, and we confidently like to share our experience and knowledge on these matters.

From years of making customers feel satisfied, Old Smokey’s knows that best practices and preventive measures can help reduce the chance of fire hazards in your home during the winter season of frequent burning. Fire-safety professionals offer some common-sense suggestions.

Among them:

  • Use a screen in front of the fireplace to protect against flying sparks.
  • Never remove fireplace embers or ash when they are hot. Remove ash or embers by placing them in a metal container with a lid. Never place them in a plastic or paper bag or other container that is not fire-resistant. Do not dispose of embers or ash indoors or close to your home or another structure.
  • Never use gasoline or any other flammable liquids to start a fire.
  • Use only seasoned firewood.
  • Never leave a fire unattended or let it smolder.

There are a few other considerations:

  • Although it may be a common practice, don’t burn wrapping paper. Ink from wrapping paper may give off toxic fumes. Furthermore, paper burns quickly and can produce a high flame. This high flame might reach into the chimney and cause built-up creosote to catch fire. Another hazard of burning paper is that embers can rise up from the chimney and escape, posing a fire hazard to your roof or nearby structures.
  • A key to preventing fire-safety hazards during the winter burning season is your annual fireplace and chimney inspection. If you are concerned about possible creosote build-up or the formation of combustible residues, get your chimney and venting systems inspected. Old Smokey’s follows standards and recommendations of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). We perform professional chimney inspections, chimney sweeping and chimney repairs, if needed.
  • Even though we are well past the Christmas season, some people keep their tree up for quite a while. When you are done with that tree, do not toss it into your fireplace. That’s not a safe practice.

We are proud of our Old Smokey’s trained professionals!

For more than 20 years, Old Smokey’s has delivered excellence to homeowners in northern Indiana, northern Ohio and mid-Michigan. Folks from Elkhart in the west to Ypsilanti in the east, from Lansing in the north to Defiance and Fort Wayne in the south are served by Old Smokey’s.

Call us at 260-424-0009 or schedule an appointment online.
Old Smokey’s is here for you during the winter and the three other seasons – for fire safety, and any other concerns you may have about your fireplace and chimney.

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