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Why Is My Chimney Stinking?

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Why Is My Chimney Stinking - Ann Arbor MI - Clean Sweeps of MichiganDuring the warm months of summer, most homeowners pay little attention to their fireplaces. Unfortunately, there is one thing that can quickly make you pay attention to your fireplace system again – a chimney odor.

Chimney odors are often a symptom of a more serious, underlying chimney issue. Because of this, they should never be ignored. Instead, it is important to have your chimney professionally inspected to identify and repair the source of the odor.

What is causing my chimney odor?

There are a number of different causes of chimney odor. Because of this, a professional inspection is often needed to find the exact cause of the chimney odor. Finding and repairing the underlying cause of the smell can keep it from getting worse or returning in the future. Below are four common causes of chimney odor.

  • Animals: Birds, squirrels, raccoons, and other small mammals view your chimney as a safe place to hide from the elements or build a nest for their young. However, even if they are only in the chimney for a short time animals can create significant chimney damage and a number of unpleasant odors.If an animal becomes trapped in your chimney and dies, the smell of decay can often permeate into your home. This can affect your home’s air quality, as well as expose you and your family to harmful bugs, bacteria, or other parasites. Even if they do not become trapped in the chimney, animal droppings, food, and nesting materials can also cause chimney odor. These byproducts of animal entry can also block the chimney or promote the growth of mold and mildew.
  • Creosote: Creosote is a byproduct of fuel-burning fires and is removed during chimney sweepings. However, excessive creosote buildup or creosote that has not been completely removed can cause chimney odors.Excessive amounts of creosote are created when fires are allowed to burn at low temperatures for long periods of time. Likewise, burning green or wet wood can create more creosote buildup. Creosote can create a smoky or dirty odor in your home; the smell caused by creosote is most often noticed during hot or humid conditions, such as during the warm – and wet – summer months.
  • Drafting: If you chimney does not draft properly, your whole home can be affected by smoky odors long after the fireplace has been used. Chimney draft issues are often the result of an improperly sized flue; this can occur when a new insert has been installed or if the fireplace has changed fuel sources. The odors associated with incorrect drafting often accompany other chimney issues such as smoke blowing back into your home when the fireplace is in use.
  • Moisture: Water can cause serious problems to both the inside and outside of your chimney. Inside, the presence of water – especially when combined with other debris – can facilitate the growth of mold and mildew. In addition to creating unpleasant odors, mold growth can also affect the air quality in your home.

You don’t have to live with a stinky chimney! The expert staff at Clean Sweeps of Michigan can identify and repair the cause of your chimney odor. Contact them us to schedule your chimney inspection and get back to enjoying your fireplace again!