Anatomy of a Fireplace: What Causes that Strange Smell?

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The fireplace is an interesting selling point for realtors and home sellers of all types. You may have fallen in love with the home you’re in because of the fireplace and chimney. There’s something nice about being able to put a fire in place and get the warmth that comes from, but there are a few downsides. One of them is a big one, and that’s a matter of smell. The unsavory smells are what we’re going to cover today.

Your fireplace may start to emit unsavory odors over time. I’m not talking about the rustic smell of a wood fire; this is going to be a matter of several different odors that can hit you hard. There are several reasons this may happen, and the more you know about what to look for, or rather smell for, the sooner you can call to get a helping hand with eradicating the stench.

The Air Pressure

You’re going to find a lot of discussion about air pressure. Negative pressure can cause odors to become stuck in place and become stale. This can cause a great deal of issue as the smell of stale air can travel throughout your home. Resolving this is a matter of keeping the damper closed when it is not in use and keeping the flue clean throughout the year.

Excess Debris, Soot, Creosote Build Up

As you burn logs flammable particles get trapped in the chimney. The smoke rises but as it cools, it creates the substance we refer to as creosote, which builds up into a tar-like covering along the interior of your fireplace. Over time, this is going to cause a musty smoky smell, and the carbon build up could smell like an old smoker’s apartment complex. In order to clear this smell out, you have to have a professional chimney sweep clean out any creosote, soot, and tar that lines the interior of the chimney.

Water Damage

When water seeps into your home, things can start to smell awful. Dampness can lead to mold, and mold is by far a bad thing for your home’s overall construction and it is hazardous to your family’s health. Water can seep into the chimney through the roofing, through the openings, and much more. When there’s excess moisture, the smell can be overwhelming, and cause you problems. If left untreated, black mold can take root and that is a health hazard that you don’t want to deal with.

The Dead

No, not zombies, or the undead, but rather dead creatures. Animals can find shelter or build nests in and around the chimney, and of course, they can also die near the opening or even in the interior lining of your chimney. That decaying animal smell is a hard one to get out of your nostrils once it’s there. This is a rough one that is common, but completely fixable.

At the end of the day, leaves, debris, and other elements can get trapped in and around your chimney. When that occurs, your fireplace rushes the smell through the opening and into your home. It’s imperative that you call for service to get these things cleared, cleaned, and back to working order. Otherwise, you’ll be stuck with a stench in the home that is hard to shake.

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