Stinky Chimney Syndrome

Throughout the offseason chimney professionals get calls about chimney maintenance. Spring and summer are a great time to schedule chimney sweeps and annual chimney inspections. It’s a popular time for upgrades and installations. It’s also a big-time for remodels and new construction.

During the offseason, there aren’t a lot of complaints about chimney problems because with the fires out and the chimney is not in regular use. However, there are some things with your fireplace that you will only notice during the offseason. A stinky chimney, for instance, is a major problem as chimneys sit dormant and summer humidity and pressures fluctuate. If you experience a chimney odor problem, it’s important to call a professional today, because a stinky chimney always indicates a problem.

Types of Chimney Odors

No matter the type of odor your chimney may be producing, it is never a good sign for your chimney. If you’re like most homeowners, you don’t even want to think about your fireplace and chimney during the summer. However, there are some odors that can come from the chimney system that cannot be ignored. Once you notice them, it’s impossible to move on, and without professional help, there’s no way to stop it.

Mildew/Moldy Odors

When the odors coming from your fireplace opening smell mildly of dirty laundry or last year’s gym shoes, it’s time to take action. An odor that smells of mold or mildew indicates there is water present in the chimney system. Water should NEVER be present in the chimney system. Water can sometimes enter the chimney by way of damaged masonry, crown, cap, or flashing, and this can immediately start to damage the system. If your chimney smells of mold or mildew, there has been water in your system long enough for the growth of bacteria. There is likely hidden water damage within the system and the air quality of your home may even be affected. You should call a professional for a diagnostic appointment. A certified expert can assess the damage, stop the leak at its source, and prevent it from ever happening again!

Smoke/Barbecue Odors

You may be sitting around in the house and suddenly smell beef jerky. There’s no beef jerky anywhere, but maybe it’s your oven. Eventually, the smell can get so strong that it’s as if the dirty grill from the Fourth of July barbecue is actually inside your living room. This smell comes and goes depending on air pressure pushing the odors down your chimney and out into your home. No matter how strong the odor is, it cannot be stopped unless you have a chimney cleaning. The smell is caused by the soot, creosote, and ash present in the fireplace and chimney system. You should schedule a chimney sweep with a licensed and certified professional soon!

Decay/Decomposition Odors

If you smell the pungent odor of decay and identify your fireplace as the culprit, you may have an animal carcass in the chimney system. It may not be a dead animal but could be droppings, feathers, fur, and even unburned wood. This smell is easy to identify but caused by things left in the chimney that shouldn’t be there. A chimney sweep or animal removal is required to clean the entire system.

In all these instances of bad chimney odors, you should schedule a chimney sweep or inspection with Total Chimney Care today to resolve them!



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