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Are Odors Coming From Your Chimney?

When spring brings warmer temperatures and  damp weather, many homeowners are faced with an unpleasant surprise: Foul odors from their chimney. When your home smells, it can be uncomfortable and embarrassing. To keep chimney odors out of your home, you need to understand and address the source of the smell; often, a simple chimney cleaning or a chimney deodorizer won’t get rid of the problem.

Moisture

Chimney odors can indicate moisture entering your chimney through the chimney opening or through a leak in the chimney wall. When moisture comes into contact with the soot and creosote in your chimney, it can fill your home with a strong wood-burning smell. Moisture also can cause mold or mildew to form within your chimney, and fill your home with unpleasant damp odors. To help resolve odors caused by moisture, have your chimney fitted with a sturdy chimney cap. The chimney cap keeps water from running down your flue. If your chimney emits odors that seem to be caused by moisture, have the chimney inspected to make sure your chimney isn’t leaking.

Animal Intrusions

Animals are another common cause of chimney odors. Animals make their way into your chimney either by accident or to find shelter. Once they are inside your chimney, animals can cause a host of smells. The organic material used to build nests can decay, leaving behind a compost smell. Animals can leave droppings or bits of food. Trapped animals can die within the chimney, which can lead to a horrible rotting smell. Once an animal is inside your chimney, you will have to have it professionally removed. After the removal, you should get your chimney professionally cleaned. In the case of animal intrusions, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure: A chimney cap surrounded by a cage or a top-sealing damper can keep animals from entering your chimney in the first place.

Debris

An unprotected chimney also can house natural debris, which can decompose in the chimney and cause foul odors to filter into your home. If you don’t have an enclosed chimney cap or a top-sealing damper, leaves and twigs can fall into your chimney, forming blockages that can rot and smell. If you have debris in your chimney, you will need to have the chimney swept. For a long-term solution, protect your chimney with a cap or top-sealing damper.

Improper Drafting

Regardless of the interior cause of your chimney odor, there is one element that is always to blame for chimney odors filling your home: improper chimney drafting. If odors from your chimney are filling your home, that means that the air inside your chimney is being pulled down into your home. This is a common problem in weatherproofed homes, where the chimney and fireplace can’t get enough air to properly draft up. Your chimney sweep can help you find a solution to improper drafting, and a top-sealing damper or sealed fireplace doors can help keep odors out of your home.

If your chimney is filling your home with unpleasant smells, you don’t have to suffer through it! Call A to Z Chimney Services today. We’ll find the source of your chimney odor and help you find a solution to your odor problem.

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.

Let’s Talk About Chimney Mold

At A to Z Chimney Sweep, we talk to our clients a lot about preventing moisture intrusion, from waterproofing masonry chimneys to making sure that properly sized and installed chimney caps are in place. We stress the importance of keeping moisture out because water, overall, is your chimney system’s worst enemy.

Choosing A to Z Chimney Sweeps to handle your chimney mold problems will provide you with peace of mind in knowing that you can expect awesome service, professionalism and a fair price.

Choosing A to Z Chimney Sweeps to handle your chimney mold problems will provide you with peace of mind in knowing that you can expect awesome service, professionalism and a fair price.

On the outside, excess moisture can rust your chase cover, erode your masonry joints, crack your chimney crown and more. On the inside, moisture intrusion can damage your firebox, your flue liner or your damper — and it can also lead to mold growth. And mold is a serious problem in and of itself.

How Does Mold Grow In My Chimney?

Mold spores are everywhere — that’s why food that is left out for a prolonged period of time becomes covered in it. All mold really needs to thrive is a welcoming surface, some moisture to feed on and oxygen. A leaky chimney provides all of that.

Why Should I Care About Chimney Mold?

First, mold can pose health issues for people in your home — particularly those who already struggle with respiratory issues. The Environmental Protection Agency has a rundown of common health problems linked to mold exposure, including pulmonary and skin irritation, respiratory issues (like triggering asthma attacks), even up to lung infections. Prolonged exposure to mold — particularly “toxic” black mold that commonly forms on moisture-riddled building materials — is just an overall bad thing, and it’s a problem that needs quick attention.

Second, mold is an indicator of a moisture problem — in this case, a leaky chimney. Its presence means there’s damage that needs to be repaired, and in a chimney, that can be anything from torn chimney flashing to degraded masonry. To get rid of mold, and keep it away, the cause of your chimney leak needs to be addressed and repaired.

How Do I Know If I Have Chimney Mold?

If you see discolored areas in or around your chimney — often black or green dingy patches — that can be an indicator of mold growth. But more often than not, your nose tells you first. Most of us know the smell of mold when we come across it — it’s that dank, musty odor we usually detect in an old basement. If you detect an odor around your chimney, call A to Z Chimney Sweep — we can see if you have a mold problem, find the cause of your moisture intrusion, remediate the mold and make repairs to keep it gone.

Have any more questions or concerns about chimney mold? We’re always glad to help our valued clients. Just give A to Z Chimney Sweep a call!

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.