Prevent A Smelly Fireplace This Spring & Summer
Sometimes, you’ll encounter a smell in your home you can’t trace down. Did clothes get left in the washing machine by accident? Did someone forget to take the trash out? Did your kid leave dirty dishes in their room? Smells of those nature are easy to address, but how can you prevent a smelly fireplace this spring and summer? First, let’s look at a few reasons why it may have a peculiar odor.
Why might a fireplace be smelly?
While there are several reasons why a fireplace might be smelly, the most common will be creosote build-up. Creosote is a byproduct of the wood-burning process. When it mixes with water, it can have a particularly strong odor.
It’s also possible you have an animal infestation due to a missing chimney cap. Alternatively, there may be leaves or other debris in your flue. Finally, it could simply be the firebox itself. The latter is easy to address, and it starts by closing your damper.
Step 1: Close it off
We never recommend a homeowner clean their own chimney. However, they can easily clean the firebox. Before doing so, they should always make certain that their damper is closed. We’ll come back to why this is the case in just a moment.
Step 2: Clean your firebox
Next, clean your firebox. Scoop up older ashes, scrub the walls, and clean the glass doors. The burnt odor you’re smelling may be simply coming from there. You can also try to use some baking soda to see if that helps get the smell out of the firebox. Leave it in place for 48 hours to see if it absorbs the odor.
Step 3: Perform an energy audit
However, what if the smell doesn’t go away? Here is where you want to perform an energy audit. The modern home is designed to be relatively airtight. Remember when we said to close your damper? You don’t want air to escape up your flue when trying to track down an odd smell. On the other hand, if your flue is closed and you can trace the smell back to your chimney, it means there’s a problem within the flue itself. That also means it’s time to contact Advanced Chimney Sweep for additional assistance.
Step 4: Try some vinegar
This last step is somewhat of a last resort, but always worth a shot. Vinegar is good at neutralizing odors. Place a bowl of vinegar in your firebox for 24-48 hours. It might absorb odors that are still lingering in the air.
The best way to prevent a smelly fireplace
Each of the four steps we listed above are relatively small DIY items to try. In the end, you may be overdue for a sweep and inspection, or you may have some undiagnosed structural problem leading to a smelly fireplace.
In either case, you will want to contact the professionals ASAP. Our team is just a quick phone call away. Contact Advanced Chimney Sweep at (706) 833-4630 (GA) or (803) 508-3990 (SC). You can also send us a message letting us know about your need through our contact form.