What Is That Smell Coming From My Fireplace?
Most homeowners with a wood-burning or gas fireplace will experience some odors from time to time. Maintaining your chimney and fireplace with annual inspections and sweeping will help improve indoor air quality, keeping your home smelling fresh and clean. So, if the awful fireplace smell returns despite the pleasant aroma of fresh-baked cookies or spraying your home with an air freshener, it could be a sign that your chimney needs an inspection and cleaning. So, what is that smell coming from your fireplace? Read on to find out more and what you can do for a cure.
Flammable Creosote Buildup
If you’re wondering what’s that horrible tar or asphalt smell in the house, you probably have a buildup of flammable creosote in the chimney. This natural by-product of combustion hardens into a dark, charcoal-like material. It is incredibly challenging to remove without a professional chimney sweep. Each burning wood log produces another layer of this carbon substance. Creosote is highly flammable, making it the primary cause of chimney fires in Western New York.
Negative Air Pressure
Does your Sloan, NY home have a musty odor? Negative air pressure is a common reason for the foul smell coming from the fireplace. The lack of indoor circulation reduces air pressure and raises humidity levels, creating the perfect conditions for mold and mildew growth. So, what causes negative air pressure? Many newer homes have a tightly sealed building envelope that traps the stale indoor air. One way to relieve the problem (and the odor) is to open a window slightly to bring in some fresh air. For a permanent fix, we often recommend installing a top-mount damper. But be sure to have a chimney inspection first to rule out any other venting problems contributing to negative air pressure in the home.
Decaying Animals/Organic Debris
Since the chimney is typically the home’s highest point, it is often a favorite pitstop for red robins, blue jays, cardinals, and other small birds migrating across the area’s Great Lakes. It is also a favorite hangout for chipmunks, mice, squirrels, and other local wildlife. Unfortunately, they’re not always able to get out. The decaying animals and other organic debris, such as leaves and twigs, will cause a terrible stench near the fireplace that often smells like ammonia.
Moisture is another common reason for foul odors coming from your fireplace. For example, the recent snowstorm that brought Niagara Falls, Buffalo, and surrounding communities in western New York to a halt caused a mountain of snow to pile on top of chimneys. The additional weight and moisture from melting snow can damage the chimney cap, crown, chase, and surrounding masonry, exposing the flue and interior masonry walls to water damage.
In addition, as warmer weather increases the humidity inside the duct, it can accelerate decomposition and create conditions for mold and mildew. This can cause an unpleasant, musty, or rotting wood smell from your fireplace.
Chimney Inspection & Cleaning in Greater Rochester – Buffalo – Niagara Falls NY
If you have a terrible smell coming from your fireplace, we can help. From chimney inspection and cleaning to fireplaces, heating stoves, and accessories, Felgemacher Fireplace Shop in Cheektowaga, NY, has everything your hearth desires for a fresh, clean home. Call (716) 482-1820 or contact us online to schedule an appointment today!