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Stinky Chimney

While most of us do not use our fireplaces and chimneys during the summer, they can still impact our day to day living in one major way: chimney odor. A stinky chimney does more than just affect how you use your fireplace; it can create odors throughout your home and even impact your home’s air quality.

A stinky chimney is often the sign of an underlying chimney problem. Because of this, it is important that homeowners not ignore a stinky chimney. Instead, a chimney inspection by a certified chimney professional should be used to help uncover the underlying cause of your chimney odor.

Stinky Chimney - Ann Arbor MI - Clean Sweeps of Michigan

What causes a stinky chimney?

Chimney odors can be caused by a number of different chimney problems. Because of this, it is important to have a chimney professional identify the underlying cause of the odor to keep it from coming back. Below are three of the most common causes of a stinky chimney.

  • Animals: If you notice a sudden sharp or rotting odor coming from your fireplace, you most likely have an animal stuck in the chimney. Chimney odors from animals can be caused by droppings, nesting materials, food sources, or bodies of trapped animals that have died.

Whether the animal in your chimney is alive or has already passed away, wild animals should always be treated with extreme caution because they can carry insects, bacteria, and disease that expose you and your family to illness. The most common cause of animal entry is a damaged chimney cap; having the chimney cap repaired can help prevent animals from getting into the chimney again.

  • Creosote: Creosote is a naturally occurring byproduct created by all fuel-burning fires; however, buildup of creosote is most commonly seen in wood burning appliances. Creosote is extremely flammable and is the leading cause of chimney fire; removing creosote buildup is an important part of your annual chimney sweeping.

If creosote buildup in the chimney is not removed, it can do more than just increase your risk of a chimney fire – it can also cause chimney odor. Sharp, smoky smells – especially those that are worse during hot or humid weather – are often the result of creosote buildup. Having the chimney swept at least once per year is the best way to remove the odors associated with creosote buildup as well as make sure your chimney is safe to use.

  • Water entry: Moisture can be one of the most damaging forces to your masonry chimney. In addition to causing bricks and mortar to crack and spall, water entry can also cause chimney odors.

Even tiny amounts of water in the chimney or fireplace can lead to the growth of mold or mildew. At first this will create a damp or musty odor; however, over time mold growth in the chimney can create an overwhelming smell that also affects the air quality of your home. This can be extremely dangerous to those who have respiratory issues such as asthma or allergies.

You don’t have to live with a stinky chimney. Instead of masking the smell with air fresheners, contact Clean Sweeps of Michigan today to schedule your chimney inspection and get rid of your chimney odor for good!