Smelly Chimneys: What Causes Them & What to Do About Them
Smelly chimneys affect quite a few households in Connecticut, and Northeastern Chimney of West Hartford is regularly called out to solve the problem.
Fortunately, you can solve certain types of smelly chimney issues on your own. Other types must be addressed and solved by a professional, and we’re here for you if those issues arise.
The Top 4 Causes of a Smelly Chimney
Here are what we’ve found to be the most common reasons that chimneys send odors into a home.
1. Built-up creosote and soot
When wood burns, creosote and soot form inside the chimney flue. These substances create a strong, smoky smell that can spill into your home.
Creosote not only causes chimneys to smell; it’s also the #1 cause of chimney fires throughout the greater West Hartford region each year.
Solution: Have your chimney cleaned by a licensed and certified chimney sweep, who has the correct tools to do the job right. And make sure to keep your damper closed when the fireplace isn’t being used.
2. Negative air pressure in the home
Kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans, along with AC and heating units, can push air out of the house, which can draw air down and out of the chimney. Whatever smells are in there will end up in your home.
Solution: Turn off the exhaust appliances. If that’s not feasible, make sure your chimney is clean and that your damper forms a tight seal.
3. Debris inside the flue
Common flue debris includes leaves, twigs, falling fruit and the nests of small animals. It can also include the occasional dead animal.
All of this can lead to a smelly chimney, especially if coupled with excess creosote or moisture from a chimney leak.
Solution: Have your chimney swept to remove the debris, then have a proper chimney cap installed to prevent the intrusion of tree debris and animals.
4. Leaky chimney
When water is allowed to enter a chimney system, it can create mold and mildew and the odors they produce. It can also worsen smoky creosote odors. If the chimney leak progresses to the point that the chimney liner becomes cracked, odor issues may worsen.
Keep in mind that mold growth can start inside a chimney flue or other unseen areas of a chimney system and not be noticed until the problem is widespread and possibly dangerous.
Solution: Have your chimney inspected and get the leak repaired.
A Chimney Inspection Is the First Step
When you need to address a smelly chimney, a proper chimney inspection is the place to start. When inspecting for a leak, we’ll determine its source and reason. If damage exists in the system, we want to understand the damage and repair it. A thorough chimney inspection will show us what’s happening, why it’s happening and what to do about it.
Your Trusted Experts for All Chimney Needs
Northeastern Chimney knows how to solve any chimney problem you might be experiencing. Our certified specialists have the tools and training to restore safety and top performance to every kind of chimney system, including yours. We’re standing by when you need us.
Speak with a chimney expert today by calling (860) 233-5770. You can also reach out through our contact form.