Chimneys make a beautiful addition to any home and the smell from a crackling wood burning fire creates a welcoming and homey atmosphere. However, smelly odors coming from your chimney when it is not in use may be causing you to turn up your nose at your fireplace.
Chimney odor can take many forms, ranging from a slightly musty smell after a heavy rainstorm to odors so severe they can clear the room. Unfortunately, any chimney odor is often an indicator that there is a serious issue with your fireplace system.
What causes chimney odor?
There is no “one size fits all” cause for chimney odor; often a chimney inspection is needed to determine the exact cause. Below are some of the most common causes of chimney odor.
Mold or water damage: Moisture can be one of the most damaging forces to your chimney system. In addition to damaging the masonry of your fireplace and chimney, the presence of water in the cool, dark chimney can be a breeding ground for mold. This is especially true in chimneys that have leaves, debris, or animal nesting material in the flue.
Creosote buildup: Creosote is the tarry substance that is created by wood burning fires, especially when green wood is used or the fire is allowed to smolder at a low temperature for long periods of time. In addition to being highly flammable, large amounts of creosote buildup can also create an unpleasant odor, especially during the warm months of spring and summer. Creosote, even once is has become glazed, can be removed during an annual chimney sweep. Regular cleaning and more efficient burning practices can often prevent creosote odors from returning.
Animal entry: Chimney odor accompanied by scratching or clawing noises from inside your chimney is often an indicator that you have an issue with animal entry. In the winter, animals view chimneys as a warm space to escape the weather outside, and in the summer they provide a dark, enclosed, and safe space for nesting.
Many animals – especially small mammals – may become disoriented or trapped in the chimney, unable to climb their way back up the flue. Because of this, chimney odor can be created by animals that have died, as well as nesting materials that have been left behind. In addition to causing an odor, animal entry can create chimney blockages that pose a safety hazard to you and your family.
If there are animals in your chimney system, call a chimney sweep as soon as possible to have them removed. Removing the animals often takes care of the chimney odor, and a professional chimney sweep will also be able to repair any damage they’ve caused and help prevent them from getting back in.
In addition to creating what can be an unbearable odor, mold can also create significant health problems. Because of that, it is recommended to have your chimney inspected at the first signs of water entry or a dank or musty odor.
If you have a chimney odor, don’t just mask it with air fresheners – contact Magic Broom Chimney Sweeps today to identify the cause of your chimney odor. Our expert technicians can repair your chimney odor problem and get you back to enjoying your fireplace system!