Nothing can spoil a quiet evening spent in front of the fireplace quite like chimney odor. Unfortunately, chimney odors can also occur when the fireplace is not in use, leaving many homeowners scratching their heads as to what is causing their stinky chimney.
Chimney odors should never be ignored and are often the sign of a more serious chimney problem. Because of this, it is important to have a certified professional evaluate your chimney in order to uncover the source of the chimney odor and repair the source to keep it from coming back.
Causes of chimney odor
There is no one cause of chimney odor; because of this, it often takes the combination of a certified chimney professional and a chimney inspection to uncover the source of the odor. Below are some of the most common sources of chimney odor, what causes them, and how they can be prevented.
- Type of odor: Musty or damp odor that may be more noticeable after a rain storm. Long term exposure to moisture in the chimney can cause mold or mildew growth; in addition to creating a round-the-clock odor, mold growth can also affect the air supply in your home, especially for those with respiratory issues such as allergies or asthma.
- Cause: While water can get into your chimney system in a number of ways, it most commonly comes in from a damaged chimney cap. In addition to protecting the chimney from moisture, chimney caps also keep debris and animals out of the chimney. Likewise, cracks or holes in the masonry can also cause water to enter the chimney system.
- Signs of water entry: Using a flashlight, look in your firebox or the lower portion of the chimney for signs of moisture or water. Likewise, from the ground look for any evidence that the chimney is cracked or otherwise damaged.
- Type of odor: Sharp, smoky odor. Creosote smells are often worst during the hot and humid summer months.
- Cause: Creosote is a naturally occurring byproduct of fuel-burning fires, but is most prevalent with wood burning fires. Tarry creosote can coat the inside of the chimney flue and leave you at increased risk for chimney fire. Annual chimney sweeping removes creosote – as well as the odors that can accompany it.
- Other causes of smoky odors: Your smoky chimney odor may also indicate an air pressure problem; outside air flows down the chimney and into your home, bringing chimney odors with it. An improperly fitting damper or the installation of a new HVAC system can cause pressure imbalances.
- Type of odor: Sharp, foul, rotting odor.
- Cause: A sudden rotting smell almost always indicates the presence of an animal or animal droppings in the chimney. Animals can find their way in through a damaged or missing chimney cap or other surrounding masonry damage on the top of the chimney.
- Getting animals out: Wild animals should ways be treated with caution and should only be removed by a professional. Likewise, it is important to never “smoke out” a trapped animal; rather than getting out of the chimney, many animals become disoriented or injured by the smoke and heat.
Stop dealing with foul odors coming from your fireplace. Contact Lords Chimney and let a certified professional inspect your chimney and start enjoying your heating appliance once more.