Now that winter is finally over, the warm weather and rains of spring are a welcome change in the weather. However, they may have caused something that is very unwelcome in your home: chimney odor.

Chimney odors are not just unpleasant; they often indicate that there is a large issue going on with your fireplace and chimney system. Whether it is a faint musty odor or a smell so bad it can clear the room, the best way to uncover the cause of chimney odor is to have your chimney system evaluated and inspected.

What causes chimney odor?

There are many different reasons why you may be experiencing chimney odor. Below are three of the most common causes of chimney odor.

Animal infestation: For many birds and small mammals, a chimney looks like an inviting haven to escape from the weather, hide from predators, or build a nest to raise young. Unfortunately for homeowners, animals can often wreak havoc in your chimney system. Nesting materials, waste products, or food can all damage or block your chimney system.

Even if an animal gets in, they may not be able to get out again. Many animals find themselves permanently trapped and die; this can create extremely unpleasant odors, affect your home’s air supply, and expose you and your family to bacteria and bugs from animal decay.

If your chimney odor is accompanied by scratching, clawing, or other noises from inside the flue, you more than likely have animals in your chimney. Protect yourself, your family, and your home by having the animals removed – as well as the source of their entry repaired.

Creosote: Creosote is a highly flammable tarry substance that is the result of incomplete combustion. Over time, creosote can harden into a thick, smelly tar. Creosote odor is particularly noticeable during the warm months of summer.

If you think the odor in your chimney may be caused by creosote, it is important to have your chimney swept and the creosote removed before using it. While smelly glazed creosote is more difficult to remove, it greatly reduces your risk of chimney fire. Likewise, a chimney inspection may be able to identify why wood is burning incompletely and prevent excessive creosote buildup in the future.

Water damage: Water can be a harmful force to all parts of your chimney. In addition to causing damage to your exterior masonry, moisture can also damage your flue and firebox if your chimney is leaking. Oftentimes, if water has gotten into the flue or firebox it can produce mold. This effect is compounded when there is debris such as leaves or nesting materials present in the chimney as well.

Unfortunately, mold often goes unnoticed at first. However, over time it will continue to grow and worsen; left unrepaired, chimney mold can create unbearable odors and even health and breathing problems for your family.

Don’t stock up on air fresheners and hope that the smell goes away. If you have a chimney odor, call Magic Broom today to schedule an appointment.