Home Tap to Call Now

Why Does My Fireplace Smell Bad and How Can I Fix It? 

Have you noticed a foul odor coming from your living room and are not sure what the cause is? It’s probably your fireplace. You may be asking, “Why does my fireplace smell bad, and how can I fix it?” In some cases, you can fix it yourself, in some, you can’t. Let’s investigate further. 

smelly chimney in house in Robbinsville, NJCauses of Bad Chimney Odors

Here’s an overview of common causes of foul chimney odors and whether they are typically a DIY fix or require a professional chimney sweep service.

Creosote Buildup and Bad Fireplace Odors

Cause—Creosote is a sticky, tar-like substance that builds up in the chimney from burning logs in your fireplace. It has a sharp, smoky odor that can worsen in warm, humid weather or when it rains. In addition to a foul smell, creosote is the leading cause of chimney fires, so it’s a danger to your home.

DIY or Chimney Sweep Service? Removing creosote is usually not a DIY job. Professional tools and expertise are required to clean the creosote buildup safely and thoroughly. A qualified chimney sweep service should handle this to prevent chimney fires and ensure the chimney is properly maintained.

Water Leaks and Bad Fireplace Odors

Cause—Water entering your chimney can mix with soot and creosote, leading to musty odors. Water infiltrating your chimney can happen due to missing chimney caps, cracked crowns, or faulty flashing. Not only can it cause bad smells, but water during the freeze-thaw cycles will expand and contract, inflicting structural damage on your chimney.

DIY or Chimney Sweep Service? You can do basic inspections, such as checking for visible signs of leaks around the chimney. However, professionals should handle repairing leaks, especially those higher up or involving masonry, and flashing, to ensure it’s done correctly, and you don’t cause additional damage.

Animal Nests and Bad Fireplace Odors

Cause—Birds, squirrels, and other wildlife may build nests in your chimney, especially if it doesn’t have a cap. Nests can decay and emit unpleasant odors. They can also block dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide, which will flow back into your home. There is no bad odor with carbon monoxide, and by the time you notice its deadly effects, it may be too late.

DIY or Chimney Sweep Service? Removing animal nests can be tricky and sometimes dangerous due to the risk of exposure to diseases. Professional chimney sweeps can safely remove nests and install chimney caps to prevent future occurrences. They will also ensure there are no obstructions in your chimney, so your home will be safe.

Ash and Debris

Cause- Accumulated ash and debris in the fireplace can absorb moisture and emit a foul smell.

DIY or Chimney Sweep Service? This is a DIY task. Regularly cleaning out the fireplace to remove ashes and bits of unburned wood can prevent bad smells. Homeowners should use ash buckets and ensure the debris is completely cool before throwing it out.

Mold Growth and Bad Chimney Smells

Cause- If moisture accumulates inside the chimney, it can lead to mold growth, which has a dank, musty odor.

DIY or Chimney Sweep Service? Mold removal can be hazardous to your health due to the inhalation of spores. For minor visible mold, homeowners might clean it using household products, but professional cleaning by a chimney sweep service is recommended for extensive mold inside the chimney to ensure it is thoroughly removed and to address the moisture problem causing the mold.

Improper Ventilation and Bad Chimney Smells

Cause- Poor airflow can cause lingering odors from previous fires because the smell can’t exit the chimney normally.

DIY or Chimney Sweep Service? Ensuring proper ventilation requires professional chimney assessment. Homeowners can check that the damper is fully open when the fireplace is in use, but if problems persist, a qualified chimney sweep service should check for structural issues or obstructions.

In conclusion 

While you can manage minor maintenance tasks like cleaning ash and inspecting for visible issues, a professional service should address most causes of bad smells in fireplaces, such as creosote buildup, water leaks, and animal nests. Regular inspections and cleanings by a certified chimney sweep are essential for continuing to have a safe and pleasant fireplace experience.

Chimney repairs in Mercer County NJ

Mercer County Chimney Will Get Rid of Your Foul Chimney Smell

Are you tired of the awful smell coming from your fireplace? We can help. If you are in the Mercer County, Hamilton, Lawrenceville, Chesterfield, or Allentown areas, call 609-802-5288 or fill out our online contact form. We look forward to serving you.

Mercer County Chimney is the Chimney Liner Expert

Why take the risk of installing a new furnace with the same old chimney liner? If you live in the extended Mercer County area, Hamilton, Lawrenceville, Chesterfield, or Allentown areas, trust us to install a new chimney liner with your new furnace. Call us at 609-802-5288 or fill out our easy online contact form. One of our chimney experts will be happy to discuss installing a new liner in your chimney.