Why Your Fireplace May be Producing Bad Odors

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Today’s fireplaces serve the dual purpose of providing warmth and acting as attractive interior design pieces. This mixture of function and design works well when you pay attention to maintenance. If maintenance is ignored, you will eventually start to have problems, one of which is bad odors coming into the home from the fireplace. Generally, these smells drift out of the chimney, so when you pick them up inside, you know you have a problem. Usually, this is caused by creosote deposits, which are unavoidable as long as the fireplace is being used. When water gets into the chimney, this can produce bad smells in the home as well. Don’t rule out the possibility that an animal got in the chimney and eventually died in there. These are relatively common causes of fireplace odors. Luckily, there are simple ways to keep these odors to a minimum.

Improve Air Flow

If the air inside the home is not flowing correctly, odors from the chimney and fireplace can easily drift inwards. When all the windows are closed, air enters through the only access point, the chimney. Opening a few windows is a quick, short-term measure to getting the air to flow back out of the chimney. This can be challenging in really cold weather, so you can only hope that you do not have a serious fireplace or chimney problem which will keep the smells coming in. Sometimes, the air could be flowing in from the chimney due to poor venting. Once this is addressed, there should be no problems.

Install a Second Damper

Chimney downdrafts are usually a source of fireplace odors, so if you can find a way to prevent these, you might solve the problem. Chimneys have dampers installed which keep the fireplace sealed when it is not being used. This keeps heat from escaping the home, but if any air manages to flow down the chimney, it will enter the home, carrying any bad smells with it. If necessary, a secondary damper can ensure that no air flows into the home from the chimney.

Update Your Fireplace

Many modern fireplaces feature innovative designs and features. If you have an older fireplace, it may be pretty basic, lacking features like glass fireplace doors. Glass doors not only make this spot more appealing, it can help to keep in bad smells.

If you notice bad odors coming from your fireplace, you should give us a call right away at 610-626-2439. An inspection will tell you whether it is due to creosote formation or something more serious. Regular chimney cleaning will keep your fireplace creosote free, so it is necessary to get this done at least once per year. Most homeowners schedule a chimney cleaning and inspection on the same date each year so that they remember it. Some also schedule other yearly maintenance needs on the same day, such as changing the batteries in the smoke alarm or carbon monoxide detector, or having the dryer vent cleaned.

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