Is there an odor coming from your fireplace, long after you’ve had a fire? Rather than plugging your nose or lighting a candle, it’s important for homeowners to know that this is not something you just have to live with. The following information can help you define, troubleshoot, and resolve that unpleasant smell.
The first step is to figure out what specific problem is causing the stink. There are many reasons for a fireplace to smell bad, so let’s start with the obvious—what is that smell?
Burning fire/asphalt: This is caused by creosote buildup, and can easily be resolved by calling your chimney specialist for a cleaning.
Smoke: This smell could be one of many things. If you have had damp or humid weather lately, then the air pressure can change and moisture can get trapped in the chimney. A simple solution to this problem is to install a rain cap to keep out the moisture. This will also keep out unwanted creatures or debris.
Appliances and vents that exhaust air to the outside can create negative air pressure within the home. These changes to the pressure in your home occur during home improvements, weatherizing, and venting changes. Try closing the damper when not in use, and if that is unsuccessful, install a top-sealing damper, which helps to monitor airflow.
Rotten smell: If you have animals living inside your chimney, then they could be depositing all kinds of unwanted gifts, like old debris from nests, droppings, and animals or birds that have become trapped. Once again, installing a rain cap will keep wildlife and debris, along with their smells, out of the home.
Musty smell: Water sitting in the smoke chamber can create a musty smell. Installing a rain cap will keep water from entering your chimney.
No matter what smell you’ve found, contact your chimney specialist for a cleaning—this is always an important part of removing things that can create a stink in your fireplace and will help you find a solution that fits.