Plenty of Rain, High Humidity, and You’re Wondering Why the Fireplace Smells

Plenty of Rain, High Humidity, and You’re Wondering Why the Fireplace Smells

Plenty of Rain, High Humidity, and You’re Wondering Why the Fireplace Smells by Superior Chimney

Some homeowners might shrug-off the fireplace smell as most households have air conditioning. If you have the air conditioning on, then the fireplace won’t smell…right?

Not so fast.

First, glass doors are frequently found in front of the fireplace. How does the fresh air get in there? It doesn’t. Also, let’s say you have a screen in front of the fireplace, the cool air might linger in the fireplace itself, but it doesn’t go up the chimney. That’s where the smells build and linger.

5 Causes of Moisture Build-Up Inside of the Chimney

  1. Poor Ventilation: Air flow in the chimney is important to keep the moisture level down. When moisture builds, the musty smell occurs. But remember, the musty smell can be the start of something more like mold and mildew.
  2. Humidity: Chicago certainly has plenty of humid days. As the cool air stays in the fireplace, you can be sure the warm moist air is slowly moving through your chimney, sometimes just sitting there for longer periods of time.
  3. Chimney Cap: An old, broken or non-existent chimney cap causes the rain and snow to make its way inside of the chimney. With the rain coming at us horizontally lately, there’s certainly cause for concern with the rain making its way down the chimney.
  4. Rain and Snow: Speaking of weather elements, we want to try to keep rain and snow down to minimum in the chimney as it’s quite easy for the moisture to accumulate.
  5. Cracks in the Chimney: As we all know, as soon as there is a crack in the bricks and/or mortar, moisture just found a new entry point. Over time, it will continue to deteriorate and more moisture will build up and continue to open it up more.

The Smell of Moisture

So now that we know how moisture builds up and gets into our home, let’s talk about the musty smell.

  1. Creosote: If you have a wood burning fireplace, use it or not, there may be creosote deposits on the side of the walls or chimney liner of the chimney. Add moisture to the creosote and you get a musty, smoky smell that is quite unpleasant if left untreated.
  2. Mold & Mildew: Mold and mildew does have a musty like smell. This gets formed from a buildup of moisture that gets trapped.
  3. BBQ or Smoky Smell: This is not a fresh smell of a steak cooking on the BBQ, it’s more of the unpleasant stale burnt smell. This is often caused by soot or creosote sitting in the chimney. Mix it with moisture and it develops this not-so friendly smell.

So now that you know this is a bigger problem than you thought and the lovely smell won’t go away by itself, let’s discuss what a Superior Chimney inspection can offer to get rid of the musty, smoky, BBQ smell.

  • Inspect the Chimney Flue: The chimney flue is the vent for the flow of air & exhaust from your firebox to the chimney top. If there is an obstruction, the certified technician will find and clear the path. At the same time, they’ll inspect the chimney flue to ensure it is in good working order.
  • Chimney Sweep: With regular sweeping of the chimney and fireplace, the musty order may be controlled. This may also prevent any mold or mildew build up, along with creosote or debris that easily form over time. Remember, the smell can come from wood burning and gas fireplaces. It’s just not one or the other, it is both.
  • Chimney cap: The chimney cap plays a vital role in the health of your chimney – Every chimney needs a chimney cap for the same reasons every home needs a roof!  It works to keep the weather elements out of your home along with your neighborhood squirrels, raccoons, birds, bats and much, much more. If the chimney cap is missing, rusted, or broken it can play a part of developing the musty smell. The chimney inspection will uncover if there is a problem with the chimney cap and if one needs to be added or replaced.
  • Waterproof the Chimney: We recently posted an article on Chimney Saver. If you want to keep moisture out of the porous bricks and mortar, then waterproofing the chimney will certainly do the trick. It isn’t a solution you do every year; Chimney Saver usually lasts about 10 years. Ask your certified chimney technicians if its right for you.

Last Words…

Yes, it is a challenge living in Chicago where we have extreme temperatures, high and low humidity, each and every year. Can you imagine what your poor chimney goes through every day? It’s the highest point of the home and it takes a beating. So be nice to your chimney and, in return, it won’t stink. Schedule an inspection today. Call us at 877-CHIM-FIX  (877-244-6349)


This post first appeared on https://www.superiorchimney.net

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