There’s no denying a fireplace provides warmth and boosts the overall aesthetic and value of a house. …but it can also produce some pretty foul odors if it’s not appropriately cared for. Fireplace odors are common, especially when the season changes, and they don’t just go away on their own. In fact, the longer you neglect an odor, the more it’ll linger and invade your home.

To make matters worse, chimney odors can often be a sign of bigger issues – like water damage, animal invasion, creosote buildup, and more. We’ve got some of the biggest causes of fireplace odors below, along with some tips for addressing and preventing them. Questions? Give us a call!

Creosote Buildup

Chimney Odors - Milwaukee WI - Ashbusters smellIf your chimney emits a smell that resembles asphalt or tar, it could be a result of creosote buildup. Creosote is one of the most common reasons why a fireplace stinks, and the odor is known to worsen during the summer seasons as people will crank up their AC unit to combat the high humidity. 

Take note that creosote is flammable, which means you shouldn’t delay removing any signs of buildup. The more you have during your burning season, the higher your risk of experiencing a chimney fire will be.

The Solution: To combat creosote-related odors, we recommend having a chimney sweeping completed by a professional who has the tools and knowledge to remove any creosote buildup thoroughly and without creating a mess. Our experts can get the job done right!

Birds, Animals & Debris

During the summer, plenty of birds will work their way back from the south, and they’ll be eager to set up camp and lay eggs. And many of these birds – along with some raccoons and squirrels – consider your chimney as a perfect environment to do just this. This means they’ll be bringing in all kinds of outside debris, like leaves, twigs, grass, and more, as materials for their nests. Soon enough, debris and waste will fill up your flue, hindering proper airflow and causing unpleasant smells.

Some birds and animals may also get stuck in your chimney and pass away. This also invites some nasty odors, and it will attracts various pests to your flue – and home – too.

The Solution: To solve any problems that birds, debris, or any unwanted critters bring to your chimney, invest in a chimney cap. This chimney feature will block entry to curious animals, offering up some well-deserved protection. Take note that for a chimney cap to work efficiently, it must be sized correctly – trust our pros for it all.

Leaves & Other Debris

Chimney Odors - Milwaukee WI - Ashbusters odorsMost homeowners believe that falling leaves will only affect their lawns and gutters, but dead leaves can also enter your chimney. And once leaves are in your chimney, they can be a big reason why your fireplace stinks. In addition to stinking up your fireplace, trapped leaves will also prevent chimney smoke from properly escaping, which can be unsafe and even lead to back-puffing, carbon monoxide exposure, or a chimney fire. 

The Solution: Purchase a top-sealing damper to work alongside your chimney cap to keep leaves and any other debris out. A top-sealing damper works to prevent animals, birds, and debris from entering, while also providing an airtight and watertight seal to avoid water entry into the flue – which can also heighten the odors. If your throat damper isn’t doing the job, a top-sealing option is the way to go!

Water & Excess Moisture

If the fireplace odor is musty, then it’s most likely caused by some type of water intrusion. Leaks and excess moisture can damage your chimney’s lining, cause rot and rust, and even deteriorate the entire masonry of your fireplace. So, addressing this issue won’t only help you eliminate the odor it generates but it’ll also ensure your fireplace is maintained.

The Solution: If the water damage is already severe, you may need to call a professional to conduct some repair work, like a crown rebuild or tuckpointing. Once repairs are completed, the tech can implement necessary preventative measures, like a new chimney cap or waterproofing services.

Negative Air Pressure

When your fireplace is working efficiently, the hot air will always rise out of the top, but negative air pressure can disrupt this principle. Negative air pressure, in this context, is when there’s less air inside the chimney than outside your home. As a result, the air inside your chimney will go down instead of up – which means all those foul odors will be in your living space and not outside where they belong.

The Solution: A short-term solution for negative air pressure is to open a window. Doing so will better equalize the air pressure. If you want a long-term solution, be sure you’re closing the damper when the fireplace isn’t in use, and have a pro check that the damper is properly installed too. Incorrect installation of this chimney feature may cause negative air pressure. You can also add glass fireplace doors in front of the fireplace firebox as this will serve as an additional barrier and promote better air circulation. Ask us about your options today!

Call Ashbusters To Eliminate Chimney Odors Today

Ideally, you want your fireplace to spruce up your living area by improving the ambiance and giving off much-needed warmth during the cold months. But if your fireplace starts to produce bad odors, then it won’t provide the benefits you hoped it would. To ensure your fireplace is always working efficiently, use the information above to assess what’s causing your chimney to smell.

Want to avoid all the speculating and get quick solutions? Call the professionals from Ashbusters Chimney Service. We can help prevent the problem from becoming unmanageable, ensuring you save money from hefty repairs and bills down the line. Also, since we’re experts in the chimney industry, you can always ask for recommendations and tips to ensure your fireplace will keep on serving you for years to come.

Let’s get started. Call (414)-626-9280 or reach outline today.