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What is that Smell Coming from My Fireplace?

The pleasant aroma produced by fireplaces in winter can become a sour smell in summer. Chimney sweeps often help answer the question, what is that smell coming from my fireplace? There are several possibilities, and the most common are explored below. But experts like the chimney technicians at Guardian Chimney Sweep have the expertise to pinpoint the problem and provide the solution you need. Their work can be grimy at times, but chimney sweeps know that fragrance creates ambiance. Bad smells can also be a clue about a potential safety issue that can affect your home and family.

Smelly Chimney Solutions in Houston, TXCreosote Buildup

If the odor emanating from your fireplace is similar to asphalt or barbeque-gone-bad, creosote buildup is the likely cause. Creosote is a byproduct of the combustion fumes produced by wood fires. Highly flammable and tar-like in substance, creosote should be removed at least annually. Without regular chimney cleaning, creosote builds up in the chimney flue layer upon layer. Excess creosote buildup places your home and family in danger in various ways, as follows.

Chimney Fires

Floating embers can easily ignite the creosote in a chimney liner.  The more creosote buildup there is, the more fuel there is that can sustain a chimney fire. A myth about chimney fires is that they can help homeowners save money by burning out the creosote, but that is pure fairytale.

The reality is that most chimney fires cause structural damage, which can result in a devastating house fire.

Carbon Monoxide Exposure

The danger of a dirty chimney can lead to more than the question in the summer, what is that smell coming from my fireplace? If the chimney draft is choked off by creosote buildup when you light a fire in winter, the toxic fumes from the fire could billow into your home. Carbon monoxide is among those gases, and it is potentially deadly. What makes carbon monoxide alarmingly dangerous is the fact that it is a “Silent Killer.” Carbon monoxide is odorless, invisible, and tasteless. And, also, it is crucial to understand that the symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure are nonexistent until it is often too late to escape to safety.


Humidity is practically a trademark of summer in the Houston TX and Conroe areas, which is the service area for Guardian Chimney Sweep. Whether from humidity or moisture intrusion caused by the lack of a chimney cap, water mixes with creosote inside the flue. The result is a strong smoky scent that lacks any of the charm or ambiance of crackling winter fires.

The mix of creosote and moisture can also be as destructive as it is smelly. The deterioration of a chimney flue is accelerated when the acidic contents of creosote are moistened. This creates another danger because a damaged chimney flue exposes the home to the same dangers mentioned above—both chimney fires and carbon monoxide exposure.


If you are asking what is that smell coming from my fireplace, the answer could be as simple as scooping out cold ashes. Especially in the summer, when warm air can intensify the odors produced by wood ash, the need to clean out the firepit can be difficult to ignore. Schedule a professional chimney cleaning today—it’s the best way to enjoy the safety and improved smells of a sanitized fireplace and chimney.

Professional Chimney Sweeping in Conroe, TXContact Guardian Chimney Sweep about Your Smelly Fireplace

Many homeowners with fireplaces in the Conroe and Houston areas have a burning question. Is yours: what is that smell coming from my fireplace? If so, contact the certified chimney professionals at Guardian Chimney Sweep for a chimney cleaning and inspection. We also offer the full range of chimney services, from fireplace installation to chimney masonry rebuilds and masonry repair. Contact us today by filling out our contact form or by calling us at any of the numbers that follow.

Toll-free: (888) 306-6069
Conroe: (936) 271-9781
Houston: (713) 401-2011