Help! My Fireplace Smells Like Smoke
Whether you’re entertaining guests or just trying to unwind with a good book, nothing ruins the experience like the unwelcome stench of smoke. As cozy and inviting as a fireplace can be, a smelly one can quickly take the wind out of you. But fear not, because we’re here to help you banish that smell of fireplace in your house once and for all! In this blog post, we’ll dive into the most common causes, as well as tips and tricks for how to fix the problem.
How Often Should a Chimney Be Cleaned?
On high-humidity summer days, rainy days, or whenever you run the air conditioning, you may notice a smell in your house, wafting out of your chimney. Each time you build a fire in a wood stove or traditional fireplace, creosote deposits collect on metal and masonry. However, the latter is porous and will absorb the substance well beyond the surface, holding it there long term.
It’s advised to clean your chimney at least annually, doing so twice a year if you use a wood stove as your primary heat source. It’s easy to hire a chimney sweep to get on the roof and brush it out for you, but doing so can only clean off surface-level creosote; you’ll need additional services to go further.
It’s important to remember that chimney cleaning is not just about removing creosote and preventing odors, but also about ensuring the safety of your home. Creosote buildup can increase the risk of chimney fires, which can cause extensive damage to your property.
In addition to hiring a chimney sweep, it’s also a good idea to install a carbon monoxide detector in your home to alert you if dangerous levels of this gas are present.
Overdue for a chimney sweep? Don’t worry, it’s just a click away.
Other Airflow Systems Can Impact Your Chimney’s Airflow
Your chimney is arguably the largest hole in your home that has bi-directional airflow. When a fire is burning, the updraft will move the air out, along with the smells. Once that updraft disappears, the airflow can reverse, sending stale air right back into your home.
To fully remove unwanted odors, you need to fix your home’s airflow to prevent the “stack effect.” In your home, heat will rise and the cooler air in your chimney will flow downward and straight into your house. Since the air is constantly trying to maintain balance, as more warm air escapes out of your roof, more cold air will get sucked into your house through the fireplace. This is an especially big problem when your chimney is cold. This is amplified in the rain because the wet air that enters your chimney is denser than dry, cool air.
However, you have many points in your home where air flows in and out, which can contribute to Here are several different ways this can occur:
- Your HVAC system. HVAC units are designed to circulate air throughout your home, but if it’s unbalanced, it can cause air to flow in and out of the vents and ducts. This can create a pressure differential in your home, which can affect the airflow in your chimney and cause unwanted odors to seep into your home.
- Exhaust fans. Exhaust fans are essential for removing moisture and smells from your home, but they can also contribute to the chimney’s airflow problem. When you turn on an exhaust fan in the bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room, it creates negative pressure, which draws cold air into your home through the chimney.
- A clothes dryer. Clothes dryers typically have vents that expel hot, moist air outside. When the vent is open, air can flow in and out of your home, which can contribute to the stack effect and cause odors to enter your home through the chimney. To prevent this, make sure the vent is properly sealed when not in use.
- Wind. Wind can create a positive pressure on the outside of your home and a negative pressure on the inside, which can affect the airflow in your chimney. This can be particularly problematic if your chimney is cold because cold air is denser and tends to sink, causing it to flow down into your home. A chimney cap or wind directional cap can help prevent this by directing the wind away from the chimney.
How to Stop Cold Air From Flowing Down Your Chimney
One of the simplest solutions to this issue is by making it harder for air to flow out your chimney. If you have a damper, close it when you aren’t using your fireplace. If it leaks, either get a top-sealing or tight-fitting glass door.
Need Chimney Cleaning Services? We’ve Got You Covered
Whether you need your chimney cleaned, your wood stove repaired, or your traditional fireplace needs some tuckpointing, we have you covered. Our experienced chimney sweeps in St. Louis will remove the creosote build-up in your chimney or flue so you can safely resume building fires. If it’s been a while and you need an inspection, we can do that, too.
After we inspect your chimney, we can help you prevent cold air from coming down into your home with any necessary repairs or installations. Whatever your needs are, contact us for a free quote to get more information about our services.