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You Don’t Have To Live With A Smelly Fireplace!

That “fireplace smell” is charming for some and very bothersome for others. Whether you love the smell or loathe it, your fireplace really shouldn’t have your home smelling like an old cabin in the middle of the woods. In fact, your fireplace shouldn’t have much of an odor at all. A smelly fireplace—usually described as having a musty, campfire-like smell—indicates that there are some problems within your chimney that need to be addressed sooner rather than later. Most often there are drafting issues at root, meaning that your chimney is pulling outside air into your home. This is called “back puffing.” When air is being sucked down into your home through the chimney, there comes with it the smell of creosote that’s built up inside of your chimney. Creosote is a byproduct of combustion that’s created by the distillation of tar. It’s highly flammable, and the smell of it is not something you want inside your living space. A cleaning can help with this, as it will remove the creosote and improve efficiency, but it’s also important that you have the backdrafting problem fixed to eliminate bothersome odors in the future.

We especially hear complaints about fireplaces smelling during the spring and summer months. There are several possible causes for increased odor in warmer months:

  • High humidity
  • Rain
  • Downdraft

There are a few possible solutions for a smelly fireplace. You may need to:

  • Have your chimney cleaned by a CSIA-certified professional. Not all chimney sweeps are created equal. Make sure that your sweep can prove that he is CSIA-certified and can show you what the inside of your chimney looks like—before and after a cleaning—with a closed-circuit camera.
  • Have a chimney cap professionally installed. You want to keep rainwater and snow out of your chimney at all costs. Not only will it soak into your chimney liner and create an odor, but water will dramatically shorten the life of your chimney and may cause structural damage to your home.
  • Install an outside air kit. Also sometimes known as a “fresh air intake device,” an outside air kit can prevent backdrafts that are caused by negative air pressure in your home.
  • Equip your chimney with a top-mounted damper to keep cold air from coming in through your chimney during the winter and to keep air-conditioned air from escaping out during the summer.
  • Have a ventilation fan or chimney draft fan installed. A ventilation fan, positioned atop your chimney, will ensure a negative pressure in your chimney.

Whatever the cause of your smelly fireplace, Lords Chimney can help! If you live in the greater Houston area give us a call at 281-497-4000, or use our appointment request form.


Our troubleshooting expertise includes finding and fixing the cause of a smoky fireplace. Wouldn’t you like your environment to be smoke-free? Lords Chimney can make it happen!

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My husband and I purchased a 1910 Queen Anne Victorian home in the Heights which was more than just a small weekend project! One of the restoration tasks included completely gutting the old fireplace, chase, and chimney as they were not to code or functioning properly. Lords Chimney worked many hours on our "little" project removing the old brick (a very dirty job!) and retrofitting an entirely new system, even taking care to match the chimney brackets to the original brick color. The original brick was saved and placed in a nice pile for us in the back yard so that we could use it to lay a patio. We are so thrilled with our new fireplace and lovely gas logs. We look forward to hiring Lords Chimney to tackle a second fireplace upstairs. A big thank you to Lords for a terrific job!
~ Amanda S.

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