There’s an unfortunate truth about chimneys…sometimes, they stink. Chimney odors become more common in the summer months when moisture in the chimney heats up on hot, humid summer days. While stinky chimneys are a frustrating reality, you don’t have to live with them! The first step in addressing a chimney odor is diagnosing the cause. There are several common culprits that usually cause chimney odors.
Creosote in the chimney is a normal byproduct of burning wood in your fireplace. Generally, creosote doesn’t cause a problem for homeowners as long as the highly flammable creosote is swept away between each fire-burning season. Creosote odor is fairly easy to identify, as it smells strong and acrid, almost like hot asphalt.
Animals in the chimney can cause a variety of problems, the least of which is chimney odor. The type of odor caused by an animal intrusion can vary. An animal that becomes trapped and dies in the chimney has the unmistakable odor of decay. Animal droppings can cause another distinct odor to come from your chimney. You also might have a rotten smell caused by food or nesting materials brought inside by your chimney’s resident animal.
Just like your gutters, your chimney can collect natural debris that drops from nearby trees and blows across your rooftop. Debris that gathers unchecked in your chimney can form a dangerous clog, but it also can cause an odor as it decays in your chimney. To identify the smell of decaying natural debris in your chimney, think of the smell of an old leaf pile or the smell of compost.
Water in your chimney can cause a host of problems, the least of which are chimney odors. First, moisture in your chimney can encourage mold and mildew growth. If a leak is causing the odor, you’ll smell a damp, wet, mildew-like smell. If a damp smell is emanating from your chimney, you’ll want to have your chimney inspected immediately. An unchecked water leak can cause serious damage to your chimney or your home’s structure.
Improper Chimney Draft
Regardless of the exact odor coming from your chimney, chimney odors only can enter your home when negative air pressure exists within the home. This usually happens when your home is extremely airtight, which is common with newly constructed homes or when too many vented appliances are being used at the same time. In an effort to make up for the loss of air within the home, air is drawn down the chimney, bringing odors with it. Therefore, correcting any chimney draft issues eliminates odors in your home.
The good news about summertime chimney odors is that you don’t have to suffer from them. Solutions to chimney odors include sweepings, chimney cap installation to prevent water entry, and correction of draft issues. If chimney odors are plaguing your home this summer, call Fluesbrothers Chimney Service to schedule an appointment today. Our chimney experts will diagnose your chimney odor and help you find a solution!