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What to Do with a Smelly Fireplace

Can't bear that unpleasant odor coming from your fireplace? It's time for an inspection and thorough cleaning. Schedule an appointment today.

Can’t bear that unpleasant odor coming from your fireplace? It’s time for an inspection and thorough cleaning. Schedule an appointment today.

If your home has the strong, musty, smoky smell of an old cabin in the woods—but that’s not exactly the effect you were going for—and the origin of the smell seems to be your chimney and/or fireplace or stove, there is hope.

Being the owner of a well-loved and often-used fireplace does not mean you have to live with that overpowering fireplace odor. A trained chimney sweep will be able to suss out the cause of the smell and plot an effective plan for removal.

Why Does My Fireplace Smell?

Even though odors don’t usually vary much from fireplace to fireplace—hence most people know exactly what we mean when we say “that campfire smell”—this smell can actually be caused by a number of factors. The important thing to focus on isn’t why your chimney smells smoky; it smells smoky because it has likely accumulated soot and creosote from the fires you burn. Instead, you should focus on why this smoky odor is being dragged into your house. Ordinarily there is a problem with proper venting or with air pressure—both issues that can easily be addressed.

If you live in or around the Jacksonville, Florida, area—where we have worked for more than 30 years—one of Hudson Chimney’s certified chimney technicians will be able to determine the origin of your chimney’s odor. In the meantime, here are a few possible culprits:

  • Dead animals or animal infestations are in your chimney; once the animals are removed, this problem can be easily remedied by adding a chimney cap or top-sealing damper to prevent animals from entering in the future.
  • A clothes dryer, bathroom vent fan, or another appliance is exhausting air outside your home, and as a result negative air pressure is drawing outside air into your home through your chimney.
  • If you have two or more chimneys, they may be competing for air pressure. This is known as “smoke crossover,” and occurs when a fire is exhausting from one chimney, causing the other chimney to draw in air and drag smoke in along with it.

How Do I Deodorize My Chimney?

If it’s been a long while since your chimney was professionally inspected and cleaned, those of us at Hudson Chimney will probably recommend that you start there. It’s kind of like having a physical if you haven’t been to the doctor in a long while. A thorough chimney and fireplace cleaning and sweeping will see to it that excess creosote and combustion byproducts—all of which are strong-smelling—are removed along with any animal nests or blockages.

If there is a backdrafting issue, no thanks to the recent addition of a range hood or energy efficient-windows, for example, your chimney technician will be able to recommend ways to allow your house to “breathe.” Beyond that, there are many proven methods for deodorizing and preventing chimney odors.

Have questions about chimney odors? Call Hudson Chimney today.

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