What’s That Odor Coming from Your Chimney?

When winter turns to spring we celebrate the sun and warmth until we start smelling the acid and smoky odor that is coming from the chimney system or even worse, the “there’s something dead in there” smell.

The cold air easily masks the odors that are ripening in the chimney flue and once the cold is gone, that’s when the smells begin. If you have annually had your chimney swept and have a chimney cap or animal screen on top of the flue, you won’t have anything to worry about unless you have burned a lot more wood than usual or a bunch of green wood over the winter months.

Sweeping your chimney actually beats the side of the flue to remove the caked-up creosote that can stick to the sides, much like cholesterol does in an artery. Leaving the creosote clinging to the flue is the culprit in most cases and the odor is removed when the chimney is thoroughly swept. There are times the odor does not completely go away and we can treat the chimney system with a special deodorizer.

Why Does My Fireplace Smell?

Animals Do Die in the Chimney

Unfortunately, animals can get trapped in the chimney and die. We have either pulled out or heard about other sweeps pulling 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 thing about animals dying in your chimney is twofold: the odor and possibility of clogging up the flue.

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 the chimney system is inspected and cleaned each year also prevents animals from entering the flue. We go up on the roof to make sure the cap and screen have not been damaged and, if it is, repair or replace it with your permission.

Keep Repairs at Bay

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. Making sure animals cannot enter the flue means this will never be an issue.

Creosote can damage the side of the flue over time and the best way to remove it is through chimney sweeping. So to keep the odors at bay, get chimney repairs needed because of improper caring for the system, and keep your family safer when using your system is all accomplished by the same annual services: inspection and sweeping.

What are you waiting on? Call Owens Chimney Systems today and let us take care of getting that smell out of your house and your chimney & fireplace in good working order.


Owens Chimney Systems now offers gas fireplace and gas log services to keep your gas appliances in tip-top shape, so give us a call for these and other chimney services.