Superior Chimney Services, Inc.

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Fireplace Smells

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Also referred to as a smelly chimneys, smelly fireplaces, smoke odors, campfire like smells, fireplace odors, etc.  Fireplace smells & chimney odors may be attributed to a multitude of different things.

Superior Chimney stack effectFireplace smells come from creosote deposits in your chimney, a natural byproduct of burning wood. Chimney odors are usually worse in the summer when the humidity is high, on rainy days, and/or when the air conditioner is running. A good chimney sweep may help minimize your fireplace smells but will not solve your problem.

Creosote absorbs into the porous masonry construction inside your chimney, embedding the fireplace smells beyond the masonry’s surface (much like the walls of your firebox, which stain black with use). A chimney sweep will remove the surface buildup of creosote to prevent an ignition (chimney fire), but the chimney odors remain absorbed into the masonry surface causing a campfire-like odor.

The real problem is air coming down the chimney, a symptom of overall pressure problems.  As air moves down through your chimney, it brings the inner chimney odor along with it.  It is likely that your chimney is just the victim of a negative pressure problem.

Superior chimney neutral pressure plane

Some causes of pressure change & a fireplace smell in your home:

  1. Inefficient damper closures.
  2. New furnace, boiler, and/or water heater.
  3. New windows and/or doors.
  4. Home additions.
  6. A change in your roofing ventilation (attic fans).
  7. Stove range exhaust fans.
  8. Dryer vent exhausts.
  9. A neighboring structure’s height increase.
  10. When you burn upstairs do you get chimney smoke or a fireplace smells downstairs?


Superior Chimney Smoke Problems

The tight sealing, energy top mounted damper may help reduce or minimize the airflow (fireplace smells) coming down your chimney.

A true understanding of fireplaces requires extensive knowledge of airflow patterns, pressure differentials, and actual fireplace construction techniques.  A Superior Chimney CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America) Certified Chimney Sweep can assess your chimney and its termination environment to pin point the cause(s) of your chimney smells and prescribe the resolution.

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