If your home has an odor that just won’t seem to go away, don’t run straight to the store for more air freshener. Instead, you may need to call a chimney sweep!
Chimney odors are often most noticeable during warmer months when the fireplace is not in use. Not only can these uncomfortable odors affect the air in your home, but they may also indicate that you have a much bigger chimney problem.
Common causes of chimney odors
There is no one single cause of chimney odors; while it may seem hard to identify, the kind of odor you are experiencing may help indicate the chimney problem that is causing it. The following are three common causes of chimney odors.
- Moisture: The presence of water from a past or current chimney leak can do more than just damage your fireplace system – it can also cause uncomfortable chimney odors. Damp, musty odors are most commonly associated with the presence of moisture somewhere in the chimney system. The source of the chimney leak should always be identified and resolved before damage is repaired in order to keep the odor from coming back. Likewise, the presence of water is also known to cause mold growth. Mold can do more than just create an serious odor; it can affect the air quality in your home and make it difficult for those with respiratory issues such as asthma or allergies to breathe.
- Dirty chimney: If it’s been a few months – or years – since your last cleaning, a dirty chimney may be causing your fireplace odors. Creosote, a naturally occurring byproduct of wood burning fires, can accumulate in the flue if not removed during regular sweepings. Smoky odors, especially if the fireplace has not been used in a long time, are often the result of creosote buildup. Because it is flammable and can lead to chimney fire, creosote should be regularly removed by a certified chimney professional.
- Animals: Sudden, sharp odors – especially those associated with animal sounds in the chimney – often indicate a critter has taken up residence in your fireplace system. While the dark, protected space of the chimney might seem like an ideal nesting spot for many animals, it can be difficult to get back out; because of this, many animals become trapped and frantic in the chimney and need to be professionally removed.
Animals, whether they are dead or alive, should be removed as soon as possible. Not only can animals expose your family to the bacteria, insects, and diseases that they carry, but they can also cause chimney blockages. Nesting materials, food, droppings, and the animals themselves can all block the flue, making it difficult to vent properly as well as creating a potential fire hazard.
Chimney odors should never be ignored – even if the scent comes and goes or is extremely faint. Instead, call the professionals at Magic Broom for an evaluation to uncover the cause of your stinky chimney.