There’s not much worse than having a rank odor in your home. It is just not inviting, it can permeate your clothes and hair, and it seems like you just can’t escape it. Sometimes it’s hard to find the source of the problem. You look under the couch for smelly sneakers, take the garbage out, or maybe on the end table for dirty dishes. If none of these is the answer, you might have a deeper problem. The problem could be your fireplace.

Why Your Fireplace Smells

Diagnosing Chimney Smells - Harrisonburg VA - Old Dominion ChimneysYou clean your fireplace every time you build a fire and make sure there’s no soot in the chimney. However, odors are still common. There’s a good reason for that, and that reason is creosote. When smoke hits the colder portion at the top of your chimney, it condenses onto the surface and turns into a substance that’s called creosote. This creosote layer builds as you burn more fires, and when it gets to as little as an eighth of an inch, it becomes a fire hazard. But even if it’s summer and you’re not using your fireplace, creosote can still be a problem. It gives off an unpleasant aroma that’s difficult to get rid of.

Another source of a bad smell can be animals. In the spring, animals and birds are looking for a place to raise a family, and your chimney is a perfect spot. It’s dark, out of the wind and rain, and out of reach of predators. This can be a nuisance because of their noise and odors caused by the animal droppings. Sometimes it isn’t a matter of building a nest; sometimes an animal may have fallen into your chimney and can’t get out. If this happens, the animal may die in your chimney, causing a very nasty smell.

Downdraft is also a source of unpleasant smells. Homes built today are more airtight and therefore, more prone to downdrafts. When the pressure outside of your house is greater than the pressure inside, outside air can be pulled in through your chimney to help balance the pressure. This pushes the odor into your house.


The first step to getting rid of that smell is to give Old Dominion Chimneys a call. We’ll give your chimney a thorough sweeping to get rid of the creosote build-up, and if odor remains, we’ll give you great advice on further steps to follow. Give us a call today and enjoy a fresh smelling home all summer!