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What You Can Do About a Smelly Chimney

Odors that come out of a chimney can spread through the whole house, and no amount of air freshener will make them go away. Fortunately, there are proven methods for resolving every type of chimney odor problem. Doodlebuggers would like to share some tips on dealing with a smelly chimney.

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The six most likely causes of chimney odors

1. Chimney leak

A leaky chimney will allow moisture to collect inside the flue. Before long, you’ll be noticing a stale, dirty and musty odor moving into your rooms. Excess condensation that builds up in the chimney during regular fireplace use can add to the moisture problem.

Solution: Find out if the water is coming through the masonry, the chimney crown, the chimney flashing or the chimney cap. Schedule repair, rebuilding or replacement work with a qualified chimney services company.

2. Creosote buildup in the flue

Creosote is an oily, smelly, smoke-based substance that forms in chimney flues when smoke condenses. It’s also highly flammable. Over time, very large amounts of creosote can coat the walls of the chimney liner and smoke chamber and lead to serious odors.

Solution: Schedule annual chimney cleaning by a trained chimney sweep.

3. Animal issues

Raccoons, birds, squirrels, rodents and other small animals often like to use chimneys for shelter and as birthing grounds. Sometimes, animals die in the chimney, creating a major odor issue.

Solution: Have your chimney cleaned. If you don’t have a protective chimney top, have one installed.

4. Tree debris

If you use your chimney without a chimney cap, flue cover or chase top, your flue is open to all sorts of debris, including leaves and twigs from nearby trees. This material can create a horrible odor, especially when mixed with moisture from a leak.

Solution: As with the two above, have your chimney cleaned.

5. Negative or reverse air pressure

If your home is particularly airtight, there may not be sufficient air flow to push naturally occurring odors up and out of the flue. When you run bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans, smelly air may be pulled down and into your home. An unsealed cold air return in your basement heating system could also be causing the odor problem.

Solution: Crack a window near the fireplace; monitor the effects of exhaust fans; have your heating system inspected.

6. A faulty fireplace damper

If there are strong odors in the chimney, they can escape into the house through even a small gap in the fireplace damper.

Solution: Make sure your damper is closed and the seal is tight.

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Solving all your smelly chimney problems

Doodlebuggers regularly addresses chimney odor problems for our customers. If you’ve tried everything you can think of and still can’t stop the smell, we know how to resolve the problem. Our chimney crews provide a full scope of licensed chimney services, including chimney sweeping, chimney repairs, chimney rebuilding and chimney inspections.

Reach a chimney expert today at (850) 477-1151 in Pensacola, FL, or at (850) 243-0154 in the Destin, FL, area. You can also get in touch with our handy contact form.

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