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Why Does My Fireplace Stink?

Smoke is a sickly, stubborn smell that can permeate just about everything in your living space—including your furniture, linens, and wall coverings. It can even line your walls, floors, and ceilings with soot. And while there are some people who find that “campfire smell” charming, the truth is that a fireplace that’s in optimum condition should have little to no smell. A stinky fireplace is very likely a symptom of a sick fireplace.

Hanover MA chimney stinksIn many cases, the problem is straightforward, and your chimney stinks simply because it needs a good sweeping, though a chimney deodorant may also be required. Some homeowners have moderate success by placing a box of baking soda or even kitty litter inside their chimney. They’re up against a stubborn scent, however, when it comes to creosote, which is the tar-like byproduct of combustion. Creosote can create a very pervasive odor when left to accumulate. This substance is the main thing chimney sweeps work to remove during a cleaning. The creosote odor is usually worse during the hot weather months and can also vary depending on what kind of chimney liner, if any, you have. More porous chimney materials may absorb the creosote smell into the masonry’s surface.

There can also be more surprising explanations for chimney and fireplace odor. For instance, new windows or doors, a change in roofing ventilation, the addition of stove range exhaust fans or dryer vent exhausts can all cause a change of pressure that draws fireplace odors inside your home. If you have an overall pressure problem in your house, one of our technicians will be able to help you introduce some make-up air somewhere else in your house. A top-mounted damper may also help with this problem.

The chimney technicians at Above & Beyond Chimney Service are often able to use specific smells to diagnose problems within your chimney. For instance, if there’s a musty smell inside your fireplace it’s clear that rainwater is getting inside your chimney. The best thing to do in this case: Have a chimney cap installed to keep moisture out of your chimney where it can do nothing but harm.

A Word About Backpuffing And Fireplace Odors

Norwell MA fireplace has odors

If your chimney is allowing smoke to escape into your living space (known as “backpuffing”), it may be that your damper isn’t fully open or that you have exhaust fans pulling fireplace air towards themselves. Not only is this annoying, but it can be dangerous, as smoke carries with it odorless, tasteless carbon monoxide. Chimney caps and dampers can help with this problem.

Do you live in Suffolk County, Plymouth County, Norfolk County or Barnstable County? Above & Beyond Chimney Service serves South Framingham and South Shore, Massachusetts, as well as other neighboring cities and towns. Schedule your chimney inspection today — call 781-383-0415.


Don’t let a leaky chimney lead to major damage and the need for major repairs. Our team of experienced chimney and fireplace technicians can help with this common problem.