What Is That Smell Coming From My Fireplace?
While fireplace odors commonly occur as we spring into the warm and humid months, they can happen any time of year – even in the middle of winter. No, we’re not talking about the aroma of melting chocolate oozing between toasted marshmallows on an open fire sandwiched between graham crackers. Instead, these awful odors have you covering your nose and mouth as you get closer to the fireplace.
A foul odor in the fireplace is often a sign that your chimney needs a certified professional to inspect and thoroughly clean it. Let’s review four of the most common smells that may be coming from your fireplace.
Although much of your chimney is exposed to external elements, water is its primary enemy. So, if there are cracks in the masonry, like in the bricks, mortar, crown, flashing, or other areas, rain, and snow will seep inside the chimney. When moisture mixes with oxygen inside a humid flue, it is the perfect recipe for mold and mildew and a leaky chimney. So, in addition to being hazardous to health, your fireplace will have a musty odor or smell like wet socks.
Sooty Creosote Buildup in the Flue
That asphalt odor you experience when you pass by a recently paved road or driveway is likely the result of excessive creosote deposits in the flue. The sticky residue clings to the interior walls as the smoke and gasses vent out of the home. Without regular chimney sweeping, it eventually turns into a dark, oily, or crusty charcoal-like substance that is highly flammable.
Decaying Organic Matter
On those windy days in the Hudson River Valley region, leaves, twigs, dirt, and debris may blow across your roof and land on top of the chimney. If your chimney cap or flue cover is broken or missing, it can get swept inside the flue. Also, birds, bats, woodrats, beavers, and other critters roaming the neighborhood may find it a comfy place to build a nest. Unfortunately, climbing or flying out of the chimney is more challenging than hopping in. As a result, you will smell the obnoxious odor of rotting organic matter as it decomposes.
An ash-like smell could be the result of a backdraft or downdraft. It is one of the most annoying odors because it can last for days, especially when you use the fireplace frequently. Drafting issues can occur when the fireplace is in the basement, multiple flues connecting to a single chimney, or an improperly sized flue for the heating appliance, for example. There could be other reasons, like a flue obstruction, so you must call a certified chimney professional to inspect the chimney, vents, and attached heating appliances.
Hudson Valley NY Chimney Inspection & Cleaning
Your fireplace is a place of warmth during the winter and a charming home feature on those warmer days. With annual inspections and professional cleanings, you will avoid extensive repairs and enjoy cleaner indoor air throughout the year.
Call Hudson Valley Chimney at (845) 471-1071 or contact us online to schedule an appointment with a certified chimney professional.