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Diagnosing a Stinky Chimney

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Nothing can ruin the ambiance of a fireplace like a stinking chimney. A chimney is essentially a vent for your heating system, and when your fire burns fuel it produces byproducts that rise up the chimney. This is how the chimney works. It’s about science and pressure as much as it’s about kindling and matches. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA) there are 100 reasons your chimney doesn’t work and most of them have to do with the science of your chimney ventilation, but a stinky chimney helps make certain diagnoses.

Diagnosing A Stinky Chimney - Carbondale CO - Bulldog Chimney

Moisture in the Chimney

Nothing can make a chimney stink like moisture in the chimney or firebox. It may not seem like ashes have an odor, but when combined with water and heat (in the spring and summer, for instance) they can become stinky even when the damper is closed. Moisture in the chimney is often caused by a chimney leak, or weather coming into the top of the chimney. If you notice moisture in the firebox or chimney you can call a CSIA Certified Chimney Sweep® (CCS) to have the chimney cleaned and diagnosed. Hiring an experienced chimney sweep to waterproof your chimney will keep this problem from persisting as well.

Draft Problems

When you notice an odor in your chimney, but you have kept up with your regular cleaning, you’re probably dealing with a downdraft. A downdraft is when the air pressure outside the house forces the air down the chimney and back into the house. This causes odors from inside the chimney to be concentrated inside the firebox or stove. This can be remedied by lighting a small fire in your firebox, or lighting a candle or burn a piece of paper and hold it under the opening to the chimney.

Animal Habitation

It’s common for animals to find their way into a chimney either by accident or on purpose. If your chimney has a foul odor it may be a dead animal and you should call an experienced chimney professional right away. This is actually quite a common problem in chimneys, especially if the chimney cap is missing or damaged. Birds and small animals nest in the chimney, dying from suffocation when a fire is lit in the fireplace. If this is the case, unless a homeowner notices the chimney is less efficient, no one would even notice the carcass until an odor is present. While an exterminator could remove live animals from the home, an experienced and professional chimney sweep should remove animals from your chimney and check it for damage.

A stinky chimney may seem like a silly worry to some, but it alerts a chimney professional of other issues, like moisture, draft problems, or animal habitation. If you have a stinky chimney, Bulldog Chimney Sweeps is a phone call or a click away. A stinky chimney is more than an unpleasant odor. Call in the professionals that put the safety and efficiency of your chimney first.