Common Causes of Chimney and Fireplace Odors


When it comes to smelly chimneys and fireplaces, a common culprit is creosote. Caused by the burning of fuel, such as wood, creosote will build up over time, and must be cleaned. It is important to remember, however, that there are other potential causes of foul odor. Things like water and excess chimney draft can cause these smells, so it is important to have a chimney inspection to determine the exact cause of the odor.

Picture of : Woman holding nose

Chimney odors are signals to have your annual inspection.

If the problem turns out to be creosote, make sure a CSIA certified chimney sweep conducts a thorough inspection and       cleaning. You’ll want to make sure no creosote is left behind on the chimney liner due to its extreme flammability. The CSIA certification will help you ensure that a competent and professional sweep is on the job. A chimney sweep that performs non-compliant work can cause an unnecessary tragedy.

If water ends up being the source of the smell, it is likely a problem with your damper. Chimney dampers that are old and corroded will often allow rainwater to get into the chimney. Improperly installed dampers will do the same. This isn’t the end of the world, however. A new damper can be installed to properly keep water out. Remember, if water was the source of the foul odor, make sure your sweep checks for structural damage. Brick and mortar chimneys are prone to water damage.

Chimney odors are not just unpleasant to smell. These odors can have noxious fumes that can hurt you, your family, and your pets. Don’t put off necessary cleaning and maintenance of your chimneys. Standards for maintenance have been developed over the course of many years, and exist to keep everyone in your home safe. Don’t hesitate to give us a call if you or someone you know is experiencing foul odors coming from their fireplace and chimney.