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A musty smell coming from the fireplace. Smoky odors that come and go in warm weather. Rotting smells from the chimney that start suddenly.

What is causing my stinky chimney?woman with clothes pin on nose

Chimney odors can start suddenly or build gradually. They can come and go or be constant. No matter what they smell like or how strong they are, chimney odors are the result of a more serious chimney problem. Because of this, it is important to uncover the root cause of the chimney smell, make any necessary repairs, and keep chimney odors from coming back.

What is causing my chimney odor?

There is no one singular cause for chimney odors. Because of this, a chimney inspection by a certified chimney sweep is often needed to uncover the root cause of a stinky chimney. The type of odor it is, how strong it is, how long it has lasted, and other factors can all help a chimney sweep uncover the source of a smell.

There are three primary causes of chimney odors.

1.Animal entry

Type of odor: Sharp, sudden, rotting smell
Cause of odor: Animals in the chimney are more than a nuisance; they can cause serious damage – and serious odors! Sudden, sharp smells accompanying by crying, scurrying, or scratching from the chimney are the most common signs of animal entry. Animal droppings, dried nesting materials, or even dead animals can cause odors that overwhelm the air quality in the home. In addition, animals can introduce microorganisms, pests, and bacteria into your home; because of this, they should be professionally removed as soon as possible.

2. Creosote

Type of odor: Smoky or dirty, especially during humid weather
Cause of odor: Creosote is a naturally occurring byproduct of combustion; it is a dark, sticky substance that accumulates in the flue. When the chimney is not regularly swept or the wrong fuel source has been used, excessive creosote can build up in the flue and cause odors. Smells associated with creosote in the flue are often most noticeable during hot or humid weather.

3. Water entry

Type of odor: Damp or dank
Cause of odor: The exterior of the chimney is designed to not be affected by moisture, but interior fireplace components are not. While they are designed to withstand extremely high heat, even small amounts of moisture from a chimney leak can cause significant problems. Because chimneys are often cool and dark, water has trouble evaporating; these conditions, along with water, can cause mold or mildew growth. This can lead to damp or dank smells – and seriously impact the air quality in the house.

Get rid of your chimney odor with an inspection!

If a chimney odor is affecting the air quality in your home, don’t reach for the air freshener – call a chimney sweep! Contact the experts at Jack Pixley Sweeps today to schedule your next chimney inspection. Our chimney sweeps can help uncover the root cause of your chimney odor, repair any damage, and permanently get rid of your chimney odor.