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What To Do About a Smelly Chimney

Chimney odors can be strong. In fact, they can be so overpowering that it’s no longer comfortable to live in your home. What can be done? Several things, depending on the source of the odor.

Guardian Chimney Sweep of Conroe, Texas, would like to share some strategies for dealing with a smelly chimney.

professional chimney inspections in The Woodlands TXFirst of all, why is the chimney smelling?

Even in its “natural” state, a chimney will exude a certain amount of odor. However, excess odors are caused by something unusual. Here are the four most likely somethings:

  1. Moisture in the flue
  2. Creosote buildup
  3. Tree debris and animal nests
  4. Dead small animals

Let’s look at each one.

  1. Moisture in the flue

If there’s moisture (water) in the flue, that means there’s a leak or breach somewhere in the chimney system. Moisture that sits in a flue will mix with existing creosote and soot and create some pretty foul odors.

Common reasons for water getting into the flue include:

  • Leaky chimney cap
  • No chimney cap
  • Damaged chimney crown
  • Excess condensation building up during use

These problems can be fixed by a chimney technician. If you don’t have a chimney cap to shield the top of the flue, one can be installed. Excess condensation may require troubleshooting to pinpoint the exact cause.

  1. Creosote buildup

Creosote forms when smoke condenses in the chimney. Highly flammable and volatile, creosote can be sticky, flaky, puffy or solid. Because of its oily nature, it can emit strong odors that flow down into your home.

The solution is chimney sweeping to remove creosote with special tools and equipment. (Chimney sweeping also helps to solve another problem – chimney fires.)

  1. Tree debris and animal nests

If your chimney doesn’t have a custom chimney cap or flue cover, anything from the outside that’s small enough to get into the flue will get in there. This includes leaves, twigs and falling fruit from nearby trees, as well as birds, squirrels, rodents and other small animals that like to build nests.

Tree debris and nests can rot and produce horrible smells. If you’re having this problem, chimney sweeping will get rid of the material, and a secure chimney cap will keep it from happening again.

  1. Dead small animals

Unfortunately, some small animals get into a chimney flue and can’t get out. A decomposing animal will produce a lot of nasty odors that can make you not even want to be inside your house.

As with debris, the solution here is to have the chimney swept and then install a chimney cap.

What’s pulling odors into your home?

If there’s negative air pressure in your home, odors in the chimney may be pulled into your rooms.

A negative-pressure environment can be caused by several things.

Kitchen and bathroom exhaust fans

Solve by turning off the fans.

The heating and air conditioning system

You don’t have to not use the system, but you do need to make sure your fireplace damper seals tightly to block the backdraft. And keep your chimney clean.

Chimney Inspections in Houston TX

A house that’s too airtight

Solve by cracking a window near the fireplace to draw sufficient air into the chimney and move odors upwards.

The help your chimney needs

If you’re battling a smelly chimney, Guardian Chimney Sweep can help you solve the problem. We provide professional chimney sweeping, inspections and repairs, along with complete troubleshooting of chimney odor issues.

Speak with a Houston chimney expert today at (713) 401-2011, or reach out with our contact form.