One thing you do not want to experience while enjoying the ambiance of a wood-burning fireplace is a foul odor. It happens all too often and can mean serious problems. It can happen during burning season, or during the summer. No matter when the smell occurs, you should call a professional right away in order to find and fix the cause.
First, identify the smell. It’s important to identify the smell that is coming from your chimney or appliance, because then you can figure out the cause easily.
Musty or Mildew Smells
This most often means there is moisture in the chimney. This can be caused by a chimney leak of some kind. If could be that the flue liner is damaged, the masonry has been compromised, or the cap, or flashing is missing. A professional can make an assessment and decide a course of action.
Woodsy or Smokey Smells
A smokey smell means your chimney isn’t venting as it should. When a chimney works properly, there should not be smoke or a smokey smell in the house. The chimney should vent all byproducts with the exception of a small percentage of particulate matter and some vapors.
A smokey smell can also mean that you aren’t burning the proper wood in your fireplace or appliance. You should only burn properly seasoned wood, meaning it has been cut and set aside to dry for a given amount of months. Harder woods should dry longer than softer woods before being burned. When wood is burned “wet” or “green” it can cause a smoke problem in the home. It can also cause the fire to burn less hot, as well as burn incompletely, lowering the efficiency of the chimney.
If you are experiencing a foul odor from your chimney, you might have an animal problem. It’s possible that an animal attempted to nest or hibernate inside the chimney, only to become stuck and die. If you have a dead animal in your chimney, not only will it cause a great stink, but it will also affect the efficiency of the chimney’s ventilation. Animals, even small ones, can cause an obstruction, essentially lowering efficiency as well as raising the risk of flue fire. When the chimney works less efficiently, the gases rise too slowly, and can cause fires, even igniting the obstruction itself.
Call a Professional
When it comes to your chimney and home heating appliance, it’s better to be safe than sorry. If you smell something in your chimney that wasn’t present before, you should call in a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep. A CCS is able to assess quickly and plan accordingly. At Billy Sweet our chimney sweeps are experienced diagnosing and correcting chimney problems as simple as a draft problem that can cause a smokey smell, and as serious as a water leak, causing unseen damage. Let a professional worry about your chimney so you don’t have to.
Don’t let your stinky chimney become an expensive or dangerous problem. Call Bill Sweet Chimney Sweep today, or schedule an appointment online.