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Stinky Fireplace

Your home is a gathering place for your family and friends to come together as one, but what do you do when there is an odor filling the home that you just can not get rid of?   When you realize it is your chimney making this smell, air fresheners and candles will not be enough.  Although some odors are normal, there are others that indicate a serious problem with your draft. That is when you call in the professionals at Weststar Chimney Sweeps.

If your damper is open when you light the fire and you still have odor, it is time to have your chimney cleaned and inspected.

If your damper is open when you light the fire and you still have odor, it is time to have your chimney cleaned and inspected.

The first thing an inspector will ask is when you had your last chimney sweep.  One of the most common causes for chimney odor is the build-up of creosotes inside the chimney.  The resulting smell is usually worse in the summer due to an increased humidity, when it rains, or when the air conditioner is running inside of the home.  An experienced professional can have the job done quickly without any mess inside of your home.  While this will help relieve most of the odors, it will not eliminate all of them.  The longer creosotes sit in the chimney, the deeper they sink into the construction of the chimney.  One way smells are allowed in you home is the air pressure that forces them inside.  When the air pressure is changed the smell will become more or less apparent.  Old parts or damper and exhaust vent closures can cause this as well as new equipment such as a furnace or water heater, or new windows.

There are ways to fix the negative air brought in by your chimney and if one method does not, you may need to do a combination of things.  First, if your fire damper s not in use, you should keep it closed.  Unless there is a problem with the seal, this should solve you problem.  Also, some people recommend having a glass screen installed so that air cannot pass through into the home.  Lastly, if you have other appliances running in the home change their airflow, as they all will be working against each other.  These tips should not only get rid of the odor, but also keep your name clear of the stinky homeowners list.

Maintaining Proper Draft

With the wintertime ahead of us, many homeowners will begin to break out the blankets, hot chocolate, and the fireplaces.  Before getting too cozy, make sure you have gotten everything ready for a safe burning season.  Chimney sweeps are the first step in preventative maintenance, along with having someone check for minor damages that are recommended for once a year.

If you have a smoky fire, this could be a sign there is blockage in your chimney.

If you have a smoky fire, this could be a sign there is blockage in your chimney.

One of the main problems caused with a fireplace is a draft problem within the chimney.  The capacity, how much air can flow through the chimney, and the draft, how much air can flow through the chimney, work together in a positive correlation.  When there is a problem it can become dangerous because smoke is not able to flow out of the home.  Chimney sweeps are very important to preventing draft problems because they remove all the layers of creosote that have built up in your chimney.  This will also remove any fallen pieces of brick or twigs and leaves.  Also, they make sure that there are no leaks in your chimney, as any in the lower half will cause airflow issues.

If none of these are the cause of your chimney’s problem, you may need to look further or get a professional.  Sometimes the size of the chimney is the problem, whether it is too wide or too short, and just by doubling the height you can increase the draft by 41 percent.  If you have a small home that is well sealed, your house could be too tight to allow the air inside to ventilate.  If this is the problem, opening a window may be a quick fix.  If after checking all of these places you draft is still not fixed it may be time to get a new combustion-air system.  Unfortunately, the last result would be to install a new chimney.  If you recognize a problem, do not ignore it as a small problem can always grow into something bigger.

By Mike O'Mara on September 24th, 2013 | Tagged with: Tags: , , , , | Leave a Comment