Common Causes of Chimney and Fireplace Odors

When it comes to smelly chimneys and fireplaces, a common culprit is creosote. Caused by the burning of fuel, such as wood, creosote will build up over time, and must be cleaned. It is important to remember, however, that there are other potential causes of foul odor. Things like water and excess chimney draft can cause these smells, so it is important to have a chimney inspection to determine the exact cause of the odor.

If the problem turns out to be creosote, make sure a CSIA-certified chimney sweep conducts a thorough inspection and cleaning. You’ll want to make sure no creosote is left behind on the chimney liner due to its extreme flammability. The CSIA certification will help you ensure that a competent and professional sweep is on the job. A chimney sweep that performs non-compliant work can cause an unnecessary tragedy.

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Hiring a certified sweep to conduct an annual cleaning and inspection can help diagnose and solve the odor issues.

If water ends up being the source of the smell, it is likely a problem with your damper. Chimney dampers that are old and corroded will often allow rainwater to get into the chimney. Improperly installed dampers will do the same. This isn’t the end of the world, however. A new damper can be installed to properly keep water out. Remember, if water was the source of the foul odor, make sure your sweep checks for structural damage. Brick and mortar chimneys are prone to water damage.

Chimney odors are not just unpleasant to smell. These odors can have noxious fumes that can hurt you, your family, and your pets. Don’t put off necessary cleaning and maintenance of your chimneys. Standards for maintenance have been developed over the course of many years, and exist to keep everyone in your home safe. Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you or someone you know is experiencing foul odors coming from their fireplace and chimney.

Summertime Chimney Maintenance

While the warm months may put chimney maintenance at the low end of your priority list, the facts tell us that prioritizing your chimney is a year round top priority. Damage will still occur when the chimney is not in use because of things like rain, wind, and debris. Don’t let your chimney deteriorate to the point that it is unsafe to use this coming fall and winter. Just a little preparation will go a long way to ensuring your fireplace is safe for use.

The first bit of chimney maintenance to consider is a chimney inspection. Because the summer months are a slower time on the chimney sweep calendar, you will be much more able to get an appointment in a timely manner. Inspections will often turn up things that need to be repaired or cleaned, such as brick spalling, creosote buildup and water damage. Don’t wait to have these things taken care of. Burning wood in a damaged chimney can result in home damage at best and a chimney fire at worst.

Second, think about the wood that you’re going to use once cold weather does come. Has it been properly seasoned? Is it hardwood that burns efficiently or is it softwood that will leave excess creosote on your chimney liner? Make sure you know how to answer these questions, because burning improper or insufficiently seasoned wood results in dangerous deposits building up. If you’re unsure about what type of wood to use, give us a call. We’d be more than happy to give you helpful tips and tricks.

Those old cliches about preparation really hold true in regards to your chimney and fireplace. Since you are actually starting a fire in your home, it stands to reason that you would want your wood or gas burning appliance to be fully maintenanced and declared safe by a chimney professional.