Superior Chimney Services, Inc.

Help, My Fireplace Stinks!

Fireplace smell is no secret to a chimney professional. Though you may want to hide a smelly living room from friends or neighbors, we are used to it! We hear this complaint about smelly fireplaces all the time. Superior Chimney is called throughout Chicago and the Chicago area to help inspect, clean and repair chimneys, and one of the most talked about issues is a fireplace smell. Here are some of the complaints we’ve heard over the years, and how we helped the homeowner repair their chimney.

“My family was on a cruise over the summer for one month. When we came back, the fireplace smelled horrible. The best way to describe it was humid and musty. Like going into an old stone cave, or something along those lines.”

During a chimney inspection, the sweep reported that there was very humid and waterlogged air inside the chimney. During the spring and summer in Chicagoland, it gets very rainy and wet. Mold grows in these conditions, which results in smelly air coming from the fireplace. When downdrafts occur, also known as the reverse flow of air pressure, the smell becomes even stronger and spreads through your home. The Superior Chimney professional swept the chimney, made some component upgrades and this helped to dissipate the smell.

“I lit my fireplace for the first time this winter. No…I don’t remember the last time I had it cleaned. We bought the house years ago. I don’t think I’ve ever called a chimney professional before! When my husband and I lit the wood in the fireplace, it started to smell like it was going to explode. What a strange burning smell. I told my husband to put the fire out immediately!”

This customer had a typical case of creosote buildup based on the burning smell. Creosote is found on the lining of the chimney and is built up over time. We suspect the chimney was in use for years before they decided to use it, as there was a ton of creosote buildup. Be aware of creosote, because it’s extremely flammable. A blockage of creosote will create hot vapors and eventually cause a flue fire. It’s a good time to get an inspection now and remove any creosote buildup. Even if you haven’t used your chimney before, it’s a good idea to make sure there is no creosote hidden in the chimney flue. 

“My family and I use the fireplace regularly, especially during the winter. We love the comfort it brings. But I started to hate it when it began to make my house uncomfortably cold. It felt like a faint breeze was going through my home. It smells strange too. Can you please get rid of that?”

We inspected this family’s chimney, and all looked okay. But we noticed that there were two problems to solve: the first was the fireplace’s damper was open. Simply closing the damper properly will help prevent a downdraft of bad fireplace smell and cold winter air into your home. Second, we noticed some damage to the chimney cap. Any damage to the chimney cap will result in buildup of water inside the chimney. Even animals can get inside and make a home in the flue. 

Can You Relate?

Can you relate to our previous customers’ experiences? Are you noticing any symptoms of fireplace smell in your home? If the answer is yes, it’s time to call Superior Chimney for an inspection. Contact us today at 877-244-6349.

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