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Why Does My Chimney Smell?

Why Does My Chimney Smell?

Unpleasant odors that originate from the fireplace can make it difficult for you to enjoy life at home. These odors are smelly, embarrassing and may seem impossible to get rid of with regular household air fresheners. You shouldn’t be discouraged by your smelly fireplace, because there are ways to remove these odors.

First, you need to determine what is causing the odor. Second, you need to determine how the odor is getting into your house.

What Causes Chimney Odor

So, what is causing the actual odor that is coming in through your fireplace opening?

Creosote & Soot – Creosote and soot are both products of the wood burning process. Creosote is a dark brown tar that is produced by wood smoke. It likes to hang on the sides of your chimney and will build up over time. Soot is produced when wood isn’t completely burned. Little black, flake like particles will also form on the inside of your chimney walls.

There is no way to totally prevent creosote and soot from forming, but using low moisture wood will help. It is important to get rid of creosote and soot periodically, not only because of the smell, but also because both of these pose a fire hazard. The best way to get rid of creosote and soot is to contact a CSIA certified chimney sweep to remove.

Moisture – Musty odors are usually caused by water getting trapped in cracks and crevasses of your chimney. Water gets into your chimney when it rains or snow melts inside. Besides being smelly, water can also cause damage if it freezes while still in your chimney. The best way to prevent water from entering your chimney is by installing a chimney cap.

Organic Matter – Birds and rodents love to nest in chimneys. Besides being a health and safety issue, animals can cause bad odors in your chimney as well. Usually this is caused by animal scat and decomposing nests. Decaying animals may also be the cause of unpleasant odors. A CSIA certified chimney sweep has been trained to deal with such issues.

How to get Rid of Odor

Newer or updated houses are usually air tight due to weatherizing. A well weatherized house is basically a vacuum due to something called the stack effect. As warm air leaves tiny openings in the higher areas your house, colder air is being in your house from lower areas, like your fireplace. This air movement brings along any odors in the chimney with it into your house. There are a number of ways to resolve negative pressure issues such as installing a damper or a glass fireplace screen.

If you have odors coming from your chimney, contact us at Tennessee Chimney & Home and let one of our CSIA certified chimney sweeps see what they can do for you.