Smelly Chimney Solutions: What’s That Odor Coming from Your Chimney?

Fireplace odor removal… How to get rid of chimney smells… Why does my chimney smell… You’ve searched it all, and come up with insufficient solutions to your chimney odor problems. What now?

When winter turns to spring we celebrate the sun and warmth. The return of warmer weather likely has you using your fireplace less and less…but as you begin to wind down your fireplace usage, you may notice a peculiar odor in your home. You’ve tried your best to locate the source to no avail, have opened windows to allow fresh air to circulate, and have even tried to mask the smell with air fresheners around the home. And yet, the mysterious scent persists.

That acidic, smoky, musty, or sometimes “something-definitely-died-in-there” smell is most likely coming from your chimney. During winter, the cold easily masks the odors that are ripening in the chimney flue and once the cold is gone, well…that’s when the smells begin.

So what do you do about it? Trust Owens Chimney Systems to properly diagnose and address the source of those lingering chimney and fireplace odors. We specialize in chimney inspections, cleanings, and fireplace repair services, so you can be confident we will get this taken care of swiftly. 

Give us a call today at 704-610-3534 or request an appointment on our website. 

Why Does My Chimney Smell?

There are a number of reasons your chimney could be producing an off-putting smell, but the most common are:

  • Creosote Buildup: If you have a wood-burning fireplace or stove, creosote can’t be avoided because it’s a natural byproduct of the combustion process. As wood burns, it releases smoke, gases, and other particles. When smoke and gas cool and condense inside the chimney, creosote forms. Creosote tends to give off a similar smell to that of a barbecue or campfire.
  • Negative Air Pressure: Homes these days are built with a focus on energy efficiency. This means that builders incorporate tightly sealed windows, doors, and improved insulation. You might be thinking, well, that’s a good thing, right? It is, but it can also cause negative air pressure in your home, creating a suction effect on the chimney, pulling in air – and all the odors – right into your living space.
  • Leaks and Excess Moisture: Water inside of your chimney is never a good thing, and it can make your home smell musty or moldy. Leaks occur due to damaged chimney caps, deteriorated masonry, or faulty flashing. 
  • Small Animals: You read that right – if your chimney is missing its cap and the chimney smells like something died, that’s likely what actually happened. Small animals, like birds, squirrels, and racoons, seek warm and dark environments to build nests in and then can’t figure out how to get out of them. Carcusses aren’t the only thing that can contribute to foul odors…so can their nesting materials and droppings. While this is not pleasant, urine and feces from animals, as well as rot, can fall and sit on the smoke shelf and potentially cause rust – and will cause odors to come into your home through the fireplace even with the damper closed.
  • Leaves, Twigs, & Debris: If you live in an area that is heavily forested with tall trees, you’re more likely to accumulate leaves, twigs, and other debris in your chimney. As these materials decompose or burn, it can also produce an unexplainable odor. 

How Do I Get Rid of Chimney Smells?

So you, without a doubt, have a persistent chimney smell and want it gone. But is there such a thing as fireplace odor removal? We wish it were as simple as that. However, the first thing we recommend is that you schedule a chimney sweep and inspection.

Sweeping your chimney actually plays an important role in eliminating odors, as well as preventing future repairs. A professional chimney sweep will use specialized rods and brushes to not only remove creosote buildup, but also clear away any debris, animal remnants, or other factors that are contributing to the unpleasant scent you are experiencing.

Unfortunately, our chimney sweeps have had to pull out dead birds, raccoons, opossums, snakes, rats, squirrels, and mice. We have also heard of one guy pulling a dead duck out of his chimney!

The easy fix is to prevent this from happening in the first place with a good solid chimney cap with a screen that will not let animals or birds enter into the flue. You must be careful with the gauge of the screen so it is large enough to let the soot and debris out of the flue when being used yet small enough to keep the pests out. Making sure animals cannot enter the flue means this will never be an issue again.

If it’s musty or moldy smells that you are dealing with, the only way to rid your home of these odors and prevent further problems is to address the root of the leak. Luckily, we specialize in leaky chimney diagnosis and repair. So we will get your home back to smelling clean and refreshing in no time.

In the off chance that the odor still does not completely go away, we can also treat the chimney system with a special fireplace deodorizer.

Keep Fireplace & Chimney Repairs at Bay With Yearly Chimney Inspections

The key to a worry-free and odor-free fireplace experience is by being proactive in scheduling your regular chimney and fireplace inspections. Similar to yearly chimney sweeps, an inspection will give us a chance to assess the overall condition of your chimney and identify any potential issues before they escalate into larger, more expensive problems.

An inspection will help us find the root cause of chimney leaks that are producing musty smells, find blockages, debris, or traces of animals contributing to unpleasant odors, and most importantly, find ways to prevent any of these things from occurring again in the future.

From chimney cap installations and leaky chimney repair to creosote removal and animal nest removal, our comprehensive services cover all aspects of chimney maintenance and repair. When you hire us, you can be confident you found a team of professionals you can trust every time a need arises. Call or start an appointment online now.

Let Owens Chimney Systems Be Your Trusted Chimney Odor Experts

Keep odors at bay, get chimney repairs completed promptly, and keep your family safer when using your fireplace system by giving us a call today. We would be happy to get you booked for your annual services – such as an inspection or sweeping – or address any concerns you have about your smelly chimney.

What are you waiting on? Call Owens Chimney Systems today at 704-610-3534 and let us take care of getting that smell out of your entire house and ensure your chimney and fireplace are in good working order.