Chimney Care Company's Blog

Ew! Why does my chimney smell?

Inside every chimney, there’s a dirty secret: Chimney odor. All chimneys smell, but under normal circumstances, chimney smells draft up and out of the chimney. From time to time, however, homeowners are stuck with foul odors from their chimney invading their homes. Chimney odor drafting down into your home can be embarrassing and frustrating. Fortunately, you don’t have to live with chimney owner.

What is that smell? Ew! Why does my chimney smell Image - Cincinnati OH - Chimney Care Co

The first step in ridding your home of chimney odor is to identify the cause of the chimney odor. There are a few common culprits for chimney odor, and depending on the nature of the smell, you might be able to determine a likely cause. Common chimney odors include:

  • A burning smell. A burning or smoky smell is one of the most common chimney odors. When smoke travels up your chimney, it deposits creosote on the chimney walls. That creosote comes with a smoky smell, or even an acrid smell when it comes into contact with moisture. Even clean chimneys can fall victims from creosote odors because the odor is absorbed by the porous chimney masonry.
  • A damp smell. Musty, damp odors also commonly eschew from chimneys. Whether it’s due to a missing chimney cap, a crack in the chimney, damaged flashing or simply water being absorbed by the masonry materials, mold and mildew can form in the chimney, causing this unpleasant odor.
  • A rotting smell. One of the foulest smells that can enter your home through the chimney is the smell of decomposition. From time to time, birds or animals can make their way into chimneys and become trapped. Or, animals who make their homes within the chimney might leave behind nesting materials, waste or prey. When these decompose in the chimney, the odor can be truly terrible.

How do you get rid of chimney odor?

When your chimney stinks, you don’t have to live with the smell. There are a few steps you should take to get rid of the chimney odor. Some strategies for alleviating chimney odor include:

  • Having your chimney swept and inspected. The first step to eliminating chimney odor is to have your chimney swept and inspected. The sweeping with clear away any debris that could be causing odors, and the inspection will locate any other problems — such as leaks or poor drafts — that could contribute.
  • Protect your chimney from water. Nearly all chimney odors are made worse by moisture, and some chimney odors have moisture as their root cause. Repair chimney leaks or faulty flashing, make sure you have a sturdy chimney cap covering your chimney flue and consider having your chimney waterproofed to prevent water absorption.
  • Address drafting issues. If chimney odor is a chronic problem in your home, it might have to do with poor chimney drafting or an air-tight home. To truly solve chimney odor in your home, you have to be sure that air is flowing up and out of your chimney rather than being drawn back in.

What do I do if my chimney smells?

You don’t have to suffer from foul chimney smells in your home. If you’re experiencing unpleasant odors in your home, call The Chimney Care Co. to schedule an appointment — we can help solve your chimney odor problems!

Why We Emphasize Training at the Chimney Care Co.

What do you look for when you’re searching for a new doctor? A dentist? A mechanic? What about a contractor? Trained and knowledgeable professionals of their field are the most desireably candidates. You want to be sure that they have the expertise to deal with your basic needs, as well as any complications that may arise. It should be no different when you search for a chimney sweep. At the Chimney Care Co., we emphasize training so you know your chimney is in good hands.

What Should Your Chimney Sweep Know?

Chimney sweeps have the potential to do real harm when they don’t know what they’re doing. At the most basic level, an inexperienced chimney sweep might not fully clear your chimney from creosote or debris that could cause a chimney fire or carbon monoxide backup. Even worse, they could damage your chimney liner or hearth appliance. An inexperienced or untrained sweep might miss damage or a defect in your hearth system that could put your chimney, or your home, at risk.

First and foremost, your chimney sweep should know how to properly clean your chimney and fireplace or heating stove. He or she also should know how to identify damage or malfunctions. If your chimney sweep is cleaning and inspecting the chimney in a new home, he or she should be trained in code and proper clearance so he or she can verify that your heating appliance are properly installed and safe for use. Finally, if your chimney sweep is servicing your hearth appliance or repairing your chimney, he or she should be trained in maintaining and servicing heating appliances, and in the proper installation and repair of chimneys, fireplaces and heating stoves.

How do you Know if Your Chimney Sweep is Trained?

Chimney sweeps, unlike other professions, don’t require licensing to let people know that they’ve been properly trained in their field. That’s why it’s so important that when you look for a chimney sweep, you look for a chimney sweep that’s certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). To become CSIA certified, chimney sweeps must train and take an exam that demonstrates that they know best practices for cleaning, inspecting, repairing and building chimneys, as well as for installing and servicing hearth appliances. Sweeps also must demonstrate that they understand building codes and clearances pertaining to chimneys and hearth appliances. In addition, chimney sweeps must regularly retake the exam or prove that they’ve undergone additional training to maintain CSIA certification.

At the Chimney Care Co., we take our job seriously. We’re properly clean and service your chimneys and hearth appliances to keep your home safe from fire, water damage or carbon monoxide leakage. We emphasize training so we know our technicians are providing you with the best chimney care. Call to schedule your Chimney Care Co. appointment today!

Does Your Gas Fireplace Need Service?

As you flip the switch to ignite your gas fireplace this fall, you might be wondering: Does your gas fireplace need to be serviced? Homeowners overwhelmingly favor gas fireplaces, and it’s no wonder why. They provide a warm, glowing fire with ease and convenience. While your gas fireplace may not require the upkeep and care of its wood-burning counterpart, your gas fireplace does need service each year, too.

Why Your Gas Fireplace Needs Service

If it doesn’t produce ash, heavy smoke and creosote like a wood fire, why does a gas fireplace need service? There are two primary reasons; cleanliness and complexity.

Prized for their cleanliness, gas fireplaces still require maintenance. The fireplace itself can gather dust that can interfere with blowers or the pilot light. The ceramic logs inside will break down over time and create their own debris that can clog the working components of the fireplace. The chimney won’t fill up with dangerous creosote, but it will collect soot over time. Soot is corrosive and leads to the breakdown of the chimney pipe if it isn’t cleared away. And, of course, regular cleaning will keep your gas fireplace looking great for years to come!

There are a lot of components of a gas fireplace — from pilot lights to blowers to gaskets — that can break down or malfunction over time. If your gas fireplace isn’t in perfect operating condition, it might not light when you want it to, drive your energy bills up by not working efficiently or even put your family in danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. That’s why your gas fireplace needs an annual inspection to ensure it is in good working order.

What Your Gas Fireplace Service Should Entail

So now that you know y0ur gas fireplace requires annual servicing, what should that service entail? First and foremost, your annual gas fireplace maintenance should be performed by a certified fireplace professional. The service itself includes a thorough cleaning of the chimney, blowers, gas logs and glass doors. There is also a full-system inspection to verify that the chimney is properly venting, damage free and unobstructed. We also check that the valves, gaskets, pilot, and blowers are properly functioning. Finally, we ensure that there are no signs of damage, condensation, improper ventilation or deterioration that could compromise the safe operation of the fireplace or chimney. If any problems are spotted, they should be addressed as soon as possible and before the fireplace is used again.

Now that you know your gas fireplace does require annual servicing, don’t wait to schedule an appointment! A certified professional should examine your gas fireplace before you use it this winter. To make sure your gas fireplace is ready to keep your family warm and cozy all winter long, call the Chimney Care Co. to schedule your gas fireplace service today!

Is Cost the Most Important Factor in Who I Hire for Chimney Maintenance?

Most responsible homeowners shop around before making a decision on home purchases and service contractors. Choosing a chimney sweep to perform cleaning, inspection, and maintenance of your fireplace and chimney should be no different. But many homeowners don’t know much about chimney maintenance, which can make differentiating between chimney sweeps difficult. So how do you choose which chimney sweep to trust with keeping your fireplace and chimney operating safely and efficiently?

What To Look For in a Chimney SweepIs Cost the Most Important Factor Image - Cincinnati OH - Chimney Care Co

When you’re searching for a chimney sweep, the easy way to make the decision would seem to be choosing the sweep who offers you the lowest quote. But price doesn’t tell you what you need to know about your chimney sweep. Anyone who can purchase the equipment can sell their services as a chimney sweep. That doesn’t mean they are fully qualified to clean and maintain your fireplace and chimney to keep your home and family safe. That’s why the single most important thing to look for in your chimney sweep is a certification by the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA).

CSIA certifies that your chimney sweep has taken the necessary training courses and passed exams to certify they know the best practices and codes involved in cleaning, maintaining, installing and constructing fireplaces and chimneys. CSIA-certified chimney sweeps also are bound to a professional code of ethics so you know they’ll treat you fairly and follow the guidelines for maintaining your fireplace and chimney. Sweeps have to regularly renew their certification, so you also can be sure that your sweep is up-to-date on their skills and industry developments.

Questions to Ask Potential Chimney Sweeps

Beyond verifying your sweep’s credentials with the CSIA, there are some additional questions you should be asking when choosing your chimney sweep. Those questions include:

  • How long have you been in business?
  • Can you provide current references from customers?
  • Do you have unresolved complaints filed against you?
  • Do you carry liability insurance?
  • What do your standard chimney sweepings and inspections involve?

The chimney sweep you hire should be able to quickly and easily provide satisfactory answers to these questions. They should have a solid business reputation and references, no complaints against them and should carry liability insurance. They should be able to describe the different levels of chimney inspections offered, and their definitions should fit with CSIA standards. When answering these questions, your sweep should be happy to talk about their experience and their services. Any reluctance to answer questions should immediately trigger a red flag.

Who Can You Trust?

If you’re searching in the greater Cincinnati area, call the Chimney Care Co.! We are CSIA certified and proud of our upstanding reputation and 30 years of service. When you call the Chimney Care Co., we’ll be able to answer all of your questions, so you can be confident that our chimney and fireplace services will keep you fireplace and chimney operating safely and efficiently.

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Benefits to Maintaining Your Fireplace

Pretty much every homeowner with a fireplace or hearth appliance knows that the industry standards call for having their chimneys swept and inspected at least once per year. Your annual sweeping and inspection ensure that your chimney is clean and your fireplace is prepared for safe operation, reducing your risk of a home fire. Going beyond safety, however, there are other benefits to maintaining your fireplace.

Keep your fireplace operating efficiently. Benefits to Maintaining Your Fireplace Image - Cincinnati OH - Chimney Care Co

A poorly maintained fireplace, fireplace insert or heating stove won’t operate as efficiently as it could. Rust and dust can block blowers, fans and pilot lights. By properly maintaining your fireplace, you can increase its efficiency and lower your home energy bills.

Reduce smoke in your home.

If creosote or other debris is blocking your chimney, it’s going to have an impact on the way smoke travels up and out of your home. A dirty chimney can negatively impact your chimney’s draft, forcing smoke back into your home. By keeping your chimney cleaned and well-maintained, you will reduce the amount of smoke that enters your home.

Avoid unpleasant odors.

Dirty chimneys can be horribly smelly. Moisture mixing with creosote can smell like hot asphalt. Natural debris in your chimney can smell like rotten compost. Trapped animals or left-behind animal droppings can smell even worse. By keeping your chimney cleaned and maintained, you can avoid unpleasant odors filling your home by way of your chimney.

Keep your hearth looking attractive.

In most homes with fireplaces, the hearth serves as an anchor point. It’s often located in a central living space and placed to serve as a focal point. So naturally, a beautiful, well-maintained fireplace can add to the décor and ambiance of your home, while a poorly maintained, dirty or damaged fireplace can drag down the appearance of your home. Keeping your fireplace maintained can help you maintain your hearth as a beautiful, beneficial feature in your home.

Extend the lifespan of your hearth appliance.

Just like any hearth appliance or home structure, regular maintenance keeps it working well and can expand its lifespan. For a hearth appliance, regular maintenance ensures that all of the working components are in good repair so that the appliance will run properly. Regular cleaning clears away dust, debris, soot and creosote that can degrade both the working and static components of the chimney and fireplace systems. When you maintain your fireplace, you ensure that your that your hearth appliance will last as long as possible.

Good fireplace and chimney maintenance begin with an annual sweeping and inspection. If your fireplace and chimney are overdue for their regular maintenance, call the Chimney Care Co. to schedule an appointment today! We’ll help you maintain your fireplace and chimney so you can realize all of the benefits of a well-maintained hearth system.

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Chimney Care Company | 413 Wards Corner Road, Loveland, Ohio 45140