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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!

How to avoid a stinky chimney

As winter’s chill gives way to warm spring days, we tend to forget about our fireplaces and chimneys. But warmer days, especially mixed with spring’s rains or summer’s humidity, can bring on an unpleasant problem: A stinky chimney that can draft odors into your home. Fortunately, there are ways you can prevent a smelly chimney.

How to avoid a stinky chimney - Cincinnati OH - Chimney Care CoSchedule a spring chimney cleaning.

While most people schedule their annual chimney sweepings for the fall, a spring chimney sweeping can be one of the most effective ways to prevent a stinky chimney. Creosote, the primary target of chimney sweepings, can emit a foul, burnt-asphalt odor on hot and humid days, especially if any moisture has leaked into the chimney and come into contact with the creosote. Other common causes of bad chimney odors include animal nests, trapped or dead animals, and rotting leaves or organic debris. A spring chimney cleaning removes the root cause of chimney odors before they can be exacerbated by summer’s hot temperatures.

A spring chimney sweeping brings other advantages. It is easier to schedule appointments during the spring, when sweeps’ schedules are less busy; a spring inspection gives you time to schedule any needed repairs before you are ready to light your first fall fire; and a spring cleaning removes acidic creosote, soot and ash from your fireplace and chimney before it can do harm.

Install a top-sealing damper.

You are probably familiar with your chimney’s damper; you open it each time a you light a fire to allow smoke to exit the firebox, and you close it when the fireplace isn’t in use to block drafts. You might not be familiar with a superior damper option, the top-sealing damper. As the name implies, top-sealing dampers are installed at your chimney’s crown, and form a perfect seal around your chimney top when the damper is closed. Top-sealing dampers prevent animals, debris and moisture from entering your chimney, and when those odor-causing materials can’t get in, you drastically cut your risk of dealing with a stinky chimney each summer.

Consider a chimney exhaust fan.

Another reason unpleasant smells could be entering your home through your chimney is a faulty draft. Typically, warm air flows up your chimney and out of your house. However, negative pressure can draw air downward through the chimney and into the home, bringing with it any unpleasant smells that might otherwise stay contained within the chimney. Improper drafting can be caused by a variety of factors, but it can be solved with a chimney exhaust fan. Chimney exhaust fans are motorized fans installed atop the chimney to help pull air upward and out of the chimney. They can be used to keep smoke from flowing backward into your home, or they can be used as a vent to pull unpleasant smells, whether from your chimney or from your home, out of your home’s living spaces.

Call The Chimney Care Co!

If spring’s warmer temperatures are bringing unpleasant odors from your chimney into your home, or if you’ve dealt with a stinky chimney in the past, call The Chimney Care Co. to schedule an appointment today. We can help prevent the frustration and embarrassment of a stinky chimney!

By Jeff Keefer | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

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