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Help…My Fireplace Stinks!

Your stuck up neighbors invited themselves in again and made a disgusted face as they walked past your chimney. You realize that smell is back and stronger than ever, and the countless amounts of air deodorizing spray and scented candles will not cover it up. Your chimney can produce odors for many reasons, so you should always call for help. A trained professional will ask if you have had all of your required maintenance and go from there to diagnose the problem.

If you have to hand out gas masks whenever you have friends over, you might have a problem!

If you have to hand out gas masks whenever friends come over, you might have a problem!

Why does my chimney stink?

Creosote, a byproduct of the combustion process, is the main reason that your chimney stinks. The first thing that will need to happen is that you will need to have your chimney swept. It is important that you have a Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA)-certified professional handle all of your chimney’s work, especially cleanings and inspections. If there is any creosote built up on the interior walls of your chimney, they will overtime clump together and absorb into the structure. This can also cause draft problems, which will lead to the smoke not properly exiting the chimney and the potential for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning rising. The smell from inside your chimney will become much more noticeable when heat and humidity increase. One cleaning is typically enough for most users, but if your fireplace receives heavy usage during the heating season, you may want to consider having it swept twice. Mold growth will also contribute to the smell. Mold can grow in any area that water can sit; it can begin forming in 24 to 48 hours. If you see something unusual, call for help, as you may not recognize the many different colors and textures in which mold can come. To provide an additional degree of safety well into the future, you can have your chimney waterproofed as well. The process takes only one to two days and involves a technician spraying a coat of sealant on the outside of the chimney. The second day should be reserved for drying time and the application of a second coat if you live in a wet area.

How do you get ready for the sweep?

  1. Let your chimney cool down by not burning a fire for more than 24 hours before your scheduled appointment.
  2. Clear the area of anything valuable such as breakables, furniture, etc.
  3. Move any pets you may have into another room.

To speak with someone, call A to Z Chimney today! Our highly trained service staff is here to help you with all of your chimney system maintenance needs.

Tell Me About Creosote

Don't let creosote build up. Schedule your chimney for an inspection and cleaning.

Don’t let creosote build up. Schedule your chimney for an inspection and cleaning.

If you have a wood-burning fireplace, creosote build-up is something you must always think about as it can be a major cause of chimney fires. With proper chimney maintenance like an annual chimney sweeping and an inspection from A to Z Chimneys, the levels of creosote in your chimney should stay on a manageable level. However, if this important task is ignored, you are risking a chimney fire as creosote is a highly flammable material. We at A to Z Chimneys want to inform you about creosote and its dangers.

What exactly is creosote and how is it formed?

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, chimneys that serve wood-burning fireplaces and stoves have the task of expelling all the by-products of combustion, substances produced when wood burns like smoke, gases, water vapor, tar fog, unburned wood particles, and assorted minerals. As these substances exit your fireplace and move through your cooler chimney, condensation happens, and the resulting residue that sticks to the inner walls to your chimney is called creosote.

What does creosote look like?

Varying greatly in appearance, creosote can either be brown or black in color. It can also be flaky and crusty, or drippy, sticky, and tar-like, or shiny and hardened. You can even have every different type of creosote possible in your chimney. No matter what creosote looks like, every type has one thing is common: it is highly-flammable and very dangerous when you have a lot of creosote in your chimney. Highly combustible, it doesn’t take much for a build-up of creosote to cause a chimney fire.

What encourages the buildup in creosote in your chimney?

Certain factors speed up the accumulation of creosote on the flue walls of your chimney: burning unseasoned wood and restricted air supply — both of these cause temperatures in your chimney that are cooler than normal. When you burn unseasoned wood, a lot of energy is used to burn off the water trapped inside of the cells of the wood, and this keeps the smoke temperature cooler than usual. Restricting the air supply by closing the glass doors to your fireplace or not opening the damper wide enough increases the smoke’s “residence time” in your chimney’s flue, making it more likely for creosote to form. Similarly, a wood stove’s air supply can also be limited by closing the damper too soon or too often, which leads to creosote buildup. Another cause of creosote buildup in wood stoves is overloading the firebox with wood.

Do I need to worry about creosote buildup with my gas fireplace?

No, creosote only forms from wood burning, so if you have a gas fireplace, you don’t have to worry about this chimney problem.

How do I prevent an excessive creosote buildup?

According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, there are certain things you can do to prevent creosote from building up in your chimney: burn only treated firewood, avoid burning fires that are slow and smoldering, be sure your airways in your chimney are not restricted (damper is open and glass doors are also open), and, most importantly, schedule your annual chimney sweep and inspection.

At A to Z Chimney Sweep, we provide chimney sweeps and inspections to find and remove excessive creosote buildups in your chimney to keep you safe from dangerous chimney fires. Contact us today to schedule an appointment for your annual chimney sweeping and inspection.

Yuck! My Fireplace Stinks!

Solving the Odor Problem in Your Fireplace

Do you smell foul odor in your fireplace? Have you ever wondered why this is happening even though you haven’t really been using the fireplace that much? If you HAVE yourself a stinky situation where the fireplace is concerned, then you had better do something about it right away. A sweeping may be in order.

There are many reasons why there may be an odor in your fireplace. Some are normal, and some are real cause for concern. Have you chimney swept before you use it again.

There are many reasons why there may be an odor in your fireplace. Some are normal, and some are real cause for concern. Have you chimney swept before you use it again.

Although the smell is bearable, it can be dangerous to your health. The smoke that was supposed to go out of your chimney and disperse in the air will be able to silently wander around your house. At first, you might think of it as the least of your worries not knowing the harmful toxins it brings which can be life-threatening to you and your family. That is why it is vital to address the problem as soon as possible.

The Causes

There are a number of factors that could create the foul odor. First of all, you have to make sure that the smell is occurring within your fireplace and chimney and not elsewhere. A professional chimney sweep can do the job for you. They will take a good look at it and assess what the root cause of the stench.  The presence of bird nests, spider webs, rotting animals and fallen leaves on top or inside your chimney flues can clog up the passageway where the smoke is supposed to escape from. You might need immediate and thorough cleaning if you are faced with that kind of problem.

Another factor that can cause a stinky fireplace is the build-up of creosote and soot, combined with humid and moisture in your chimney. This happens when snow or rain and anything that has water accumulate in the inside of your chimney flues. Negative air pressure can also lead to an unpleasant smelling chimney. During the winter holidays, people would prefer for doors and windows to be closed thus the limited availability of clean, fresh air to enter the home.

The Solution

Placing chimney caps on top of your chimney will definitely do the trick. This prevents water from seeping into the stone masonry walls of the chimney and to areas that cannot be reached even for professional chimney sweeps. Also, avoid negative air pressure by simply closing your damper when you’re not using your fireplace.

At this point, you know you’re looking for the perfect person to do the job for you. Call the approachable licensed professional sweeps of A to Z Window Screens, Chimney Sweep, & Dryer Vent Cleaning Company. They have the perfect combination of services to not only care for your fireplace but your home as a whole. With them, you can kiss your stinky fireplace goodbye and say hello to a fully functional odorless fireplace.