Our Company Blog

What Causes Chimney Odors?

Are you facing issues with bad smells coming from your fireplace? You are not alone! It’s common for homeowners to face chimney odors from time to time (especially as temps start to rise), so don’t think that something is wrong with your chimney or with the way you maintain it.

There are a few main things that can cause bad odors to seep out of your fireplace. Knowing what these are and how to prevent them, will help you stay prepared year after year, so your home doesn’t stink whenever spring rolls around. Learn more below!

Negative Air Pressure

When the months are cold, the heat from your home and fireplace rises up through your chimney and escapes outside. This is how fireplaces are meant to function – any smoke, gases, and toxins make their way out and take any nasty smells with them. This leaves your home feeling fresh and keeps your family safe from inhaling any potentially harmful fumes.

Yet, in the summer time, the air outside is warmer than your home. This causes the airflow to reverse sending gusts of smelly air into your living room. You can try opening a window to help balance the pressure throughout your home – some find that this works great! Otherwise, a strong damper with a tight seal will be your best bet for keeping these unpleasant odors outside where they belong.

Creosote Build-Up

Another problem that can cause excessive odors is creosote build-up. The CSIA stresses the importance of annual inspections and cleanings and this is part of the reason why! Creosote has a distinct odor and, the more of it you have, the worse the smell is going to be – it’s as simple as that.

By scheduling a cleaning, you will help your home stay fresher. And this doesn’t just help with bad smells… it keeps your home safer, as well! Creosote is very flammable, so higher amounts of it increase your chances of chimney fires. Schedule your next cleaning today, so you can rest easy knowing your fireplace is in great condition every time you go to use it.

Birds & Other Animals

If the smell isn’t coming from the chimney itself, it could very well be caused by animals. Birds and other critters often enter the chimney, looking for a cozy spot to rest, then can’t manage to find their way back out. They leave droppings, which stink up the place, and if they can’t get out, they eventually pass away. Then, things really get bad!

Prevent animal entry by having a chimney cap installed. Chimney caps are great for keeping countless creatures at bay, and they keep your chimney dry and free from debris, as well! It’s a smart and cost-effective investment for any home – purchase one today!

If you need help with chimney odors, hire Mountain Man Fireplace and Chimney to inspect your system. We can track the issue and resolve it, so your home will be back to smelling great in no time!

By Jake Johnson on April 21st, 2017 | Tagged with: Tags: , , | Leave a Comment

What’s Blocking Your Chimney?

It's important to know what the common causes of chimney blockages are so you can prevent it or remove it if it's already there.

It’s important to know what the common causes of chimney blockages are so you can prevent it or remove it if it’s already there.

While everyone loves a fire in his or her fireplace, no one wants a fire in his or her chimney. Unfortunately, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, chimney fires are more common than you may think, and sometimes you do not even know they have occurred. A dirty chimney is the most likely cause of all chimney fires, and usually the same blockages are the culprits in these accidents. The good news is chimney fires are completely preventable with proper maintenance care like regular chimney sweeps from professionals like Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney Incorporated. Also, knowing what the common chimney blockages are can prepare you to keep these things out of your chimney in the first place.


Stray animals looking for a dry, warm place to call home may come across your chimney to set up house in the winter. Ranging from nesting birds to raccoons to squirrels, these animals not only cause blockage problems that can lead to dangerous fires, but they can become stuck and create nasty, putrid smells that can invade your home. For your own personal safety, we strongly recommend you call a professional animal removal service to get any animals and nests out of your chimney.


All year long, leaves, trash, tree foliage, and settlement works its way down into your chimney and accumulates. This may not sound like too big of a deal; however, all of this debris adds up and can cause blockages giving a risk for incomplete combustion and negative air pressure to happen, driving smoke into your house. Settlement buildup can also cause cracks in your flue, which lets dangerous carbon monoxide escape into your home.


The most dangerous of the chimney blockages, creosote is the by-product of burning wood, and it comes from the residue of smoke, gases, water vapor, hydrocarbon, unburned wood particles, and other assorted minerals as they exit the fireplace and pass through the chimney. Sticking to the inner walls of the chimney, creosote is brown or black in appearance and can be flaky, crusty, tar-like, sticky, drippy, shiny, or hardened — even all of the above. Extremely flammable and highly combustible, creosote can quickly build up, and if the internal flue temperature is high enough, you have a chimney fire waiting to happen that could possibly burn down your entire house. What’s worse is certain conditions make creosote buildup happen more quickly. Factors that accelerate creosote buildup include restricted air supply from closing the glass doors or not opening the damper wide enough and burning unseasoned wood because the smoke is so much cooler due to the energy being used to burn off the water trapped in the cells of the logs. You can also get a heavier amount of creosote buildup if you overload the firebox in a wood stove in an attempt to get a longer burn.

To ensure your chimney is blockage-free and prevent a chimney fire, schedule an appointment for a chimney sweeping with Mountain Man Fireplace & Chimney Incorporated today. A clean chimney is the best prevention against a chimney fire!