Causes of Chimney OdorsSometimes you walk into a room and there is a distinct, unpleasant odor. You try deep cleaning, washing the walls, and moving the furniture to uncover the source of the smell, but the odor remains. You burn incense or plug in an air freshener, but all that does is mask the odor, so that now you have a musty floral scent instead. Did you ever consider that the source of that odor could be your fireplace? If that is the case, the odor could be more than just a nuisance; it could be a sign that you have a dangerous situation just waiting to happen.

What Causes the Odor

There are several things that might be causing the odor, and most of the time, these won’t require difficult, or even troublesome, fixes. The most likely culprit is a heavy creosote buildup. Creosote is a residue that coats the interior of your chimney and is a byproduct of smoke. When the smoke reaches the cooler part of the interior of your chimney, near the top, the chemicals in that smoke are left behind. This can begin to smell, especially as the weather turns to spring and it gets damp and warm outside. The thing is, this isn’t just an odor problem. Creosote is highly flammable and if the buildup gets too thick (thicker than an eighth of an inch), it can easily catch a spark or ember from your fire and cause a destructive or even deadly chimney fire. At Owens Chimney Systems, that’s one of the first things we’ll check out and get rid of, so that your chimney smells fresh and you don’t have to worry about a fire risk.


Another culprit which could be causing odor in your fireplace is rain and moisture. If you don’t have your chimney capped, rain can easily enter and end up pooling. This can cause a mildewy situation, especially if it mixes with the creosote in your chimney. But an uncapped chimney isn’t the only way that moisture can get in. Sometimes, your chimney may have some structural damage you’re not aware of, especially if the mortar has deteriorated. Although this may be easily visible even to an untrained eye, if the damage isn’t too severe, it may take a specially trained professional to understand the extent of the damage. This is actually a positive; when the damage isn’t too severe, it is easier and less expensive to correct.

Call Soon

It won’t be long before the weather turns hot and the spring rains are upon us. Give us a call to set up an appointment to have your chimney cleaned and inspected before odors are allowed to invade your home. Then, spend the summer without a worry in your odor-free house, knowing that a chimney inspection can be crossed off your to-do list for another year!