Stinky Chimney Syndrome

June 22, 2022

"I have a foul odor coming from my fireplace, can you help?" A call that we are all too familiar with and receive frequently in the summer. That odor is coming from the chimney and may be attributed to a variety of different things.

Fireplace odors come from creosote deposits -a natural byproduct of burning wood -inside your chimney. Typically, you will notice these odors worse in the summer when the humidity is high, or on rainy days, and even when your air conditioner is running.

Let us explain: The natural buildup (creosote) on the chimney walls will absorb into the porous masonry material. This absorption goes deep into the material and remains. No amount of cleaning from a Chimney Sweep will ever get all of the deposits left behind.

"What can I do?" The real problem here is that air is coming down the chimney and bringing these odors with it. This is a symptom of overall pressure problems. There are many reasons for negative pressure in your home. If no negative pressure existed, the natural draft of the fireplace would keep the odors inside the chimney and ultimately vent out through the top. Since the reverse is happening, you could open a window nearby to help alleviate the issue. However, if you are running the air conditioner, you do not want to pay to cool the outside world.

A more permanent and feasible solution is to install a top-sealing (lock-top) damper. This damper will not only help to minimize the amount of air coming down your chimney, it will also assist in keeping rainwater and moisture out as well. Animals, leaves, and anything else hanging out on the roof will not be able to take up residency in the chimney either (as long as the damper is closed). Neutralizers can also be used to help with the immediate odor, but will not cure it. The damper, which keeps air from traveling back down the flue, is the best solution for minimizing those foul odors emanating from your chimney.

"So I know the issue and the solution, now what?" Call The Fireplace Shop at (573) 449-3784 and let one of our certified Chimney Sweeps help you. We have techs available 8-5, M-F. Now that we've 'cleared the air' on this stinky situation, let us help you 'clear the air' from fireplace odors.