What to Do About a Smelly Chimney
Does your chimney smell bad? Is it forcing you to open windows, light scented candles and figure out ways to block the opening to the firebox? If this is your experience, you’re not alone. Throughout Southern California, many homeowners struggle with unpleasant odors emanating from their chimneys and fireplaces. Since 1987, Oliver Twist Chimney & Fireplace of Huntington Beach, CA, has been helping our customers solve these problems.
What causes a smelly chimney?
Here are four common causes of chimney odors, all of which can be resolved.
1. Dead animals
Squirrels, raccoons, birds, rodents and other small animals like to get into chimneys for shelter and to birth their young. Sometimes, the animals die in the chimney, unable to escape.
2. Animal debris and debris from outside
Small animals leave droppings, and the ones that build nests leave them behind. If your chimney has no chimney cap, animals, leaves, twigs, falling fruit and other debris can get into the chimney and cause it to smell.
3. Chimney leaks
Chimneys can leak from several places. If the water from the leak gets into the flue, it will mix with the naturally occurring creosote and soot and produce strong odors.
4. Excess creosote and soot
Even without a chimney leak, excess creosote and soot in a chimney flue can result in a smoky odor moving into your home. Creosote forms when wood burns. It can be puffy, sticky or solid, and in all cases, it’s highly flammable.
Things that can make smelly chimney matters worse
If your chimney is already producing strong odors, two things can make it worse.
Negative air pressure in the home
A draft is needed for smelly air inside a chimney to move up and out of the home. If your house is too airtight, or if you’re running bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans, there might not be enough air to create a proper draft.
Problems with your fireplace damper
As with negative air pressure, a rusted or inoperable damper won’t cause a smelly chimney, but it can add to the problem by not sealing off the space between the fireplace and the odors in the flue.
A damper repair, replacement or installation of a top mount damper could be a good solution.
Smelly chimney solutions
Qualified chimney technicians have the tools and training to solve all your smelly chimney issues.
Chimney sweeping with specialized chains, brushes, whips and rods will remove smelly creosote and soot. Sweeping will also remove animal debris. Your technician should be able to remove dead animals.
Leaky chimneys cause a lot of problems, most of them much more critical than odors in the flue. Your chimney sweep or chimney company can perform a thorough inspection to determine the cause, source and extent of a chimney leak. Proper repairs can then be made.
If a faulty fireplace damper is allowing odors into your home, it can be repaired or replaced.
As to air pressure issues, crack a window near the fireplace and use exhaust-producing appliances with caution. Negative air pressure can bring not only bad smells into your home but also smoke and deadly carbon monoxide during fireplace use.
We solve chimney problems in Southern California
Oliver Twist Chimney & Fireplace is equipped to solve all kinds of chimney problems. Whatever is wrong with your chimney, we know how to make it right.
We serve Huntington Beach CA, Long Beach CA, Torrance CA, Anaheim CA, Santa Ana CA, Cerritos CA, Whittier CA, Newport Beach CA, Costa Mesa CA, and other communities throughout L.A. County and Orange County.
Reach one of our chimney pros today at (714) 843-9944 or get in touch with our handy contact form.