This article will be discussing all things relating to chimney smells and how to tackle such a problem when faced with one.

Are there reasons for chimney smells? Without a doubt, there are reasons why your chimney smells awfully.

One of the common issues chimney users face is a smelly fireplace. This isn’t something you want happening as such a foul odor may permeate your home. What more? It could be a sign of a much bigger problem that needs to be addressed.

Luckily, there are far-reaching measures you can take to get rid of these smells as you’ll soon learn.

Reasons Why Your Chimney Smells the Way It Does

No one wants a bad odor welcoming them whenever they step into their home. More problematic is an odor that lingers on and coming from your chimney.

If you’ve wondered why you’re facing such a problem, the answers are simple! There are reasons for such a smell.

These include the following;

  1. Excess Buildup of Soot and Creosote

Soot is fine black or dark brown powder which is produced from the incomplete combustion of fuels such as coal or wood within your chimney. Creosote on the other hand is in the form of a black residue or tar containing that is left over as a product of combustion.

These (both soot and creosote) will need to be removed from your chimney as they are highly flammable and can result in chimney fires. Not only does excess soot and creosote cause chimney fires, but they also produce a foul odor or smell.

This chimney smell is further amplified when it gets in contact with moisture. Plus, kids hate the smell produced by these waste products of combustion. You cannot stop these combustion byproducts from forming. Therefore, the best possible way will involve frequent cleaning.

The cleaning frequency for creosote and soot depends on the type of fuel being burned in your fireplace. Wood is among fuels that produce creosotes and soot the most. You’ll need to have your chimney cleaned at least twice a year. By doing so, you’re not only limiting chimney smells but also eliminating the risk of a chimney fire.

  1. Negative Air Pressure

When you make major improvements to your homes such as changing the roof including venting systems, exhaust fan windows, and more, it results in negative air pressure.

This is a situation where a home is tightly sealed, thus blocking all the air pathways that normally helps air circulate.

The resulting situation affects your home’s air quality. Now, when you using your fireplace, negative air pressure causes an updraft which is a situation where the air from within your home goes out the chimney faster than through other pathways put together.

The problem arises when your chimney is not being used. Airflow reverses resulting in the air getting into your home through the chimney. This of course brings in the smell from your chimney flue with it, thus resulting in fireplace smells.

Your best shot at solving a negative air pressure problem is by opening up a window (however little to allow for replacement air to come from a much fresher source rather than from your chimney or fireplace.

Additional ways to combat fireplace smells is by installing top-sealing damper. What this does is that it helps shut off a chimney from the top when it’s not in use. This prevents a reverse circulation of air through your chimney. Installing a glass fireplace screen can also go a long way to solve fireplace smells.

  1. Leaves

Leaves getting into your chimney create a problem. In the presence of moisture, these leaves in addition to other debris begin to decompose. The smell from such decomposition will eventually find its way into your home as it enters through the fireplace.

The most effective way to keep such from happening is by installing a chimney cap. This helps keep out all sorts of unwanted substances from getting into your chimney.

  1. Moisture

The presence of moisture in your chimney will always produce a musty odor.

Apart from the unpleasant smell it produces, moisture may lead to rust of vital chimney components such as the flue lining, as well as the damper. This in turn will require extensive repairs, thus costing you more.

Moisture finds its way into your chimney through rainwater. Without a chimney cap, it becomes almost certain that you’ll be dealing with a moisture problem. The damage is even faster when such moisture comes in contact with creosote.

The odor is stronger, plus it easily leads to rust of the above mentioned vital chimney parts. Clear out creosote deposits and have a chimney cap installed immediately to arrest fireplace smell caused by moisture.

  1. Animal Presence

Animals (whether dead or alive) found within your chimney will certainly make it smell.

This is even worse when dead animal carcasses are involved. The process of decomposition produces a lot of smell that will permeate your home if such carcasses aren’t removed.

Animals such as raccoons, snakes, birds, bees, and more have been reported in chimneys. Wild animals such as snakes will pose an even greater problem due to their venom. These are possible sources of fireplace smells.

Whatever the problem is, it’s important to get rid of it by calling professional wildlife or animal removal services.

Apart from having these animals removed, a chimney cap should be put in place to prevent these animals from returning.

  1. Ash

Here is why your fireplace smells days after a fire.

When fuels are burned, ash is produced. These will need to be evacuated weekly. Failure to do this will result in fireplace smells you don’t want to deal with. A thorough cleanup of your fireplace will be necessary after putting off your last fire of the season.

To thoroughly clean your fireplace up, consider vacuuming it to remove every ash within.  This ensures you won’t have to deal with odor issues from your fireplace throughout the season.

  1. Eliminating Lingering Fireplace Smells

It is common to still experience fireplace smells long after addressing the source. Carpets, fabrics, and couches, etc may harbor such smells.

The best way to get rid of such odors is by applying odor neutralizers to all such areas. This goes a long way to keep your home smelling fresh and free of odors.

How To Get Rid Of Fireplace Smells

Most of our discussion to this point has been focused on pointing out the reasons why you’re having a chimney smell.

We’ve also offered a few tips on how to stop such awful odors for each of the reasons given above.

Eliminating Smells From Fireplace  

There are still more ways by which chimney smells can be eliminated. These are easy steps that anyone can implement.

They include the use of charcoal, running an air purifier, using vinegar as a deodorizer, and getting a fireplace deodorant.

  • Use of Charcoal

One of the natural ways to combat fireplace smells is by using charcoal. What charcoal does to the odor is that it absorbs it completely. All you need to do is get charcoal briquettes plus some old damp newspapers.

Both should be emptied into a bucket and placed close to your fireplace.

Before long, this begins absorbing the foul odor coming from your fireplace. It’s best to place your charcoal close to the fireplace. This can be left for extended periods until you notice your fireplace no longer smells.

While doing this, it’s also important to address the source of such smell. Find out what’s responsible for your smelly fireplace and address the problem.

  • Running an Air Purifier

As the name suggests, air purifiers are designed to freshen your air. Having found the right product model, (those without ozone) you should place this close to your smelly chimney. This should help eliminate the problem in no time.

As we’ve said for charcoal use, air purifier also addresses the effect and not the cause. You’ll need to find out the reasons why your fireplace smells the way it does. Sometimes, this might involve calling for an inspection.

Solve this problem and you won’t always need to operate an air purifier.

  • Using Vinegar As a Deodorizer

Vinegar is an effective natural deodorizer you can trust.

Plus, there are different ways this deodorizer can be used to address a bad chimney smell. Some of the ways to use vinegar including spraying a towel with it and waving it around the smelly area.

Additional ways include placing bowls at different spots within the room and pouring vinegar into such bowls. You can also mix equal parts of vinegar with water and spray around your fireplace.

  • Getting a Fireplace Deodorant

In eliminating fireplace odors, you’ll also need to go as far as treating porous fireplace mortar and bricks. Smells may linger on in such areas. A fireplace deodorant comes handy as it helps neutralizes such odors.

You only need to place this in your smoke shelf for it to begin the process.

All measures aimed at removing fireplace smells are never complete without focusing on the source of such odors. By finding the source of the problem, you’re able to ensure that it doesn’t return. Plus, the use of the above smell eliminating strategies will only be temporal.

There you have it! Fireplace smells can be combated using a wide variety of strategies as provided above. You don’t have to endure this embarrassing situation any longer as these strategies will give you the relief you seek.