Why Do My Chimney And Fireplace Smell Bad?

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A chimney gives you numerous benefits such as cozy warmth in the cold winter nights. But it has its dark side as well. The worst part of chimney and fireplace is bad odor! If you own a fireplace and have been a victim to the odor then you know what I am talking about. Before you attempt to get rid of the bad fireplace smell, you will need to search the origin of the smell. What is the main cause of the protruding smell? For it, you need to do a complete fireplace and chimney inspection. There are many reasons due to which your chimney and fireplace smell bad. Let’s find the main culprits.

Creosote Or Soot Smell

Creosote or soot is a by-product of burning. It is a sticky tar-like substance that is released after burning wood and as it goes up the chimney it cools down and deposits itself on the interior walls of the chimney. If your chimney is not cleaned annually then the creosote is likely to get accumulated in the chimney. When wood is burned then sometimes the burning causes the creosote to melt as well. This burning of the creosote or soot produces a bad odor that comes down in the homes. The only solution for this bad smell is to get the chimney cleaned and inspected thoroughly by a professional.

Smoky Smell

Your chimney opening is a place where many small birds and animals take refuge and shelter. Not only that these small birds sometimes also make nests in the chimney opening. They usually hide in the chimney from the cold or from big animals.

Environmental debris is another thing that usually finds its way inside the chimney opening. As the fall season approaches leaves, twigs and small branches and other climatic debris is carried into the chimney by the wind or animals.

The fire from the chimney goes up and sometimes causes the debris to burn or even the nests of the small animals to burn. This produces a bad burning smell, like something has been burnt badly and you smell bad odor from the fireplace.

The only way to prevent this is to install a tight chimney cap. The chimney cap will not allow any foreign material or animal to enter the chimney.

Bad Rotting Smell

Many times dead animals are also carried in the chimney opening. Or sometimes the fire causes the animal or bird to burn and die. If the animal is left for long then a bad rotten smell is produced which is unbearable. Animals and birds also drop their droppings which produce a bad smell.

Sometimes the leaves and environmental debris can also rot which gives out a bad odor. A chimney cap is the best investment to keep away animals and debris. Make sure the cap speaks well and the mesh is intact.


The environmental debris or the animals and birds may be wet and the water may drop down the chimney which causes a wet musty smell. If you do not have a chimney cap then moisture and rainwater cannot be prevented from entering the chimney. The moisture in turn can also damage the damper and cause it to rust which will lead to expensive repairs in the future. So, get your chimney cleaned before the issue happens and if you have a chimney leak, get it repaired before the issue gets any bigger.


If you have zero ventilation in your homes then any sort of distinct odor will become problematic. It is common for chimneys to emit some kind of odor. You can solve the odor problem by opening the windows and turning on the exhaust fans or installing a glass door in your fireplace so there is no chance of odor coming in.

The solution for all these problems and the bad odor is very simple: you need to install a chimney cap and get your chimney cleaned and inspected for any sort of faults or issues by a certified chimney sweep service Ellicott City. If you do this then you will not smell bad odors from your chimney and fireplace. Moreover, it’s of paramount importance that you clean your chimney yourself or get it cleaned as soon as possible, because it could lead to a fire.

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