If You Have Strange Odors Coming from Your Chimney, It May Be Time for a Cleaning
It is not uncommon for homeowners who frequently use their fireplaces to eventually notice strange odors coming from the chimney. In some cases, the odors are nothing to worry about but, in others, they can actually lead to a slew of dangerous situations. In order to fix this issue, it may be necessary to schedule your annual cleaning and inspection. In most cases, this can eliminate the cause of the odors and make fires enjoyable once again.
When someone burns treated coal or wood to make a fire, it leaves behind a combination of chemicals known as creosote. In addition to smelling bad, there are other dangers associated with creosote. It can cause serious illness if it is inhaled and can cause significant irritations to the eyes and skin if it makes contact. There is no avoiding creosote when burning treated materials, but cleaning it can help prevent the smell and other side effects.
Another factor that contributes to unpleasant chimney odor is the fact that animals often make their home in a chimney flue. When this happens, their fur and waste can build up and start to create a very distinct smell. In addition to the aroma, animal debris in the chimney can cause it to clog, which prevents it from properly venting. This can lead to bigger problems than the smell and should be addressed as soon as possible. An animal invasion may not seem like a big problem but it is one that can quickly get out of control.
When water and snow enter the chimney flue, it creates an excess of water that can cause many problems. One of the most common issues is that it creates a layer of mold throughout the chimney. Not only can this pose health risks to everyone in the house, but will also cause a moldy smell to occur every time the chimney is in use. A good cleaning will eliminate the mold, but it is also a good idea to have a chimney cap. This simple little structure will help prevent the water from getting there in the first place.
Even if there is not a smell coming from the chimney, it is a good idea to have it cleaned on a regular basis. Many homeowners like to have a chimney sweep come and take care of their chimney at the start of the season so that they begin the year fresh. Others find it best to have a cleaning done at the end of the season, when they are shutting down the chimney for the year. No matter when it is done, an annual cleaning can help prevent many of these chimney odors before they become an issue.
Although it is tempting to save money on a chimney sweep by making a chimney cleaning a DIY project, this should always be avoided. Cleaning the chimney requires specific training and skills that the average person simply does not have. In addition, a chimney sweep is exposed to a variety of different risks, from exposure to creosote to diseases that may be carried by animals. There are many home maintenance projects that the average homeowner can do, but chimney cleaning should be left to the pros.
When the chimney start to smell, it can quickly ruin the fun of a cold winter night. However, in many cases, the problem does not require any serious maintenance. It simply means that the flue is in need of a thorough cleaning. Instead of waiting for the unpleasant aroma, have a licensed chimney sweep clean the flue each year.