Part of the charm of a fireplace is definitely the woody, fire smell, the crackling flame, and the warmth. If your fireplace and chimney system work properly the only thing you should get out of your fire is a relaxing evening. Sometimes, especially as weather changes from cold to warm, you might notice some less-than-wonderful odors coming from your chimney. Unwelcome odors are the last thing you want to worry about while spring cleaning and anticipating summer. Luckily there are several steps you can take to avoid such a headache.
Keep the Chimney Clean
If the chimney is clean of soot and creosote there is less material in the chimney system to smell. Scheduling regular chimney sweeps with a certified chimney sweep is the best way to keep the chimney system clean and working properly. When any kind of moisture mingles with soot it can create a foul odor that creeps out of a fireplace or stove. This can occur when your chimney has a leak, but also during summer when humidity seeps into the chimney. The only way to keep humidity from causing a stinky chimney is to make sure it’s clean.
Burn Only Proper Wood
If you burn only properly seasoned wood in your fireplace you are less likely to have nasty odors. Firstly, the wood will burn more cleanly, creating less soot and creosote. Secondly, when you burn other items like clothes or trash in the fireplace or stove, they leave behind waste. When you burn wood, you get ashes, but some other materials melt or smolder instead of turning to ash. This material can be difficult to remove and can be odorous.
Maintain the Fireplace or Stove
Not all maintenance has to be done by a professional. In fact, homeowners should know basic maintenance such as ash removal. Removing the ashes from the fireplace or stove periodically helps to lower the acidity that might contribute to the odors. This is especially something you’d want to do before closing out the system for the off-season.
Correct The Draft
Other than moisture, negative air pressure is the most common reason for a stinky chimney. In order to correct this and help the draft go up the chimney instead of coming into the house, you can add a simple window fan in another part of the house. If it’s the off-season, you can close the damper to stop a down draft. You can also have a top-sealing damper installed which has a tight seal and not only prevents a stinky chimney, but also saves you money during air conditioning season!