Eliminating Chimney Odors Image - Asheville NC - Environmental ChimneyA stinky chimney can cause a great deal of frustration and embarrassment. When your chimney stinks, that odor can permeate your home and be nearly impossible to get rid of on your own. There are a few common causes of chimney odors, and identifying what is causing your chimney odor is the first step in eliminating the smell. The type of odor your chimney is emitting will provide a good guide for identifying the source of the smell.

A foul, burning smell

One of the most common chimney odors is an overwhelming smoky odor, similar to a barbecue or campfire smell. This smell usually is caused by a buildup of creosote within your chimney. When creosote mixes with moisture and heat on hot, humid summer days, the smell can intensify and permeate your home. Fortunately, the foul creosote smell usually can be remediated with a chimney sweeping.

A moldy, mildew-like odor

If your chimney fills your home with a mildew-like odor, particularly after it rains, that can be a sign that your chimney is leaking. The water entering your chimney is causing the moist smell. Fixing the odor involves repairing the leak and ensuring that your chimney is once again water tight.


If a decaying smell is emanating from your chimney, it can be particularly worrisome. Many animals, such as squirrels and raccoons, like to make their home in chimneys while other animals or birds venture into chimneys and become trapped. When trapped animals die within a chimney, their remains can decay and fill your home with a horrible odor.

An organic, rotting smell

Another rotting smell can fill your home from your chimney, one that smells like decaying leaves or logs. Animal nests can break down within your chimney, or leaves and twigs can fall into your chimney and begin to break down, causing this smell.

A smoky odor

If your home smells like smoke even when there isn’t a fire in the fireplace, it’s likely that a buildup of soot on your chimney’s walls is likely to blame. Masonry chimneys are particularly susceptible to absorbing smoky odors.

When it comes to eliminating your chimney odors, the first step is a chimney sweeping and inspection. Your chimney inspection will help to identify the source of the chimney odor, and once the source of that odor is identified, your chimney sweep can help you determine the best course for eliminating that odor. That could be as easy as a chimney sweeping to remove creosote, soot, debris or animal nests, or it could involve repairing a leak.

Once your chimney sweep identifies and clears away the source of the odor, he also should check your chimney’s draft. Your chimney’s job is to draw air up and out of your fireplace, and a chimney odor filling your home could be a sign that your chimney isn’t drafting properly. To keep chimney odors permanently at bay, a faulty chimney draft must be fixed.

If your chimney is making your home stick, call Environmental Chimney Service today! We can help locate the source of your chimney odor, eliminate it and address any draft issues that could be allowing odors to fill your home.