Common and Uncommon Reasons for a Stinky Fireplace

Fireplaces are designed to provide warmth in cold weather as well as beauty and elegance to your home. Thus, it is increasingly favored by many homeowners. However, for many different reasons, sometimes a fireplace can bring very unpleasant smell. The most important thing contributes to an efficient operation of a fireplace is a good venting system. Because otherwise, the odors will go directly into your house. This problem can be solved by regular inspection and cleaning done by a professional chimney sweep. The following are some reasons causing odors to your fireplaces, as well as solutions to get rid of them:

Creosote is an incidental product made from the process of burning wood. And it accumulates inside the chimney. If creosote is not removed regularly, it will restrict air flow and make the chimney not work well. Most odors come from creosote buildup inside the fireplace and not removed regularly. The best way to solve this problem is to hire a chimney technician to inspect and clean the fireplace at least once a year.


This is another reason leading to a stinky fireplace. The musty smell of humidity combined with the smell of creosote creates an even stronger smell that can quickly degrade the chimney liner. If your chimney has no cap, moisture can easily enter and cause damage to the fireplace just like creosote does.

Airflow problem

In fact, the appearance of odors in the fireplace is a common and natural occurrence. Real trouble only comes when the air in the chimney enters the house instead of escaping to outside. These downward drafts create negative pressure. When the weather is warm, intake of outdoor air going in the wrong direction is even more than usual. The difference between indoor versus outdoors air temperatures is a determining factor that affects the course of airflow in your house.

To make the air in the chimney escape, you need indoor air to push them out. To do that you need to provide fresh air to your house by opening all the windows as much as possible. Also, the vents in the kitchen, bathroom or garage also cause negative pressure.

Moreover, to enhance the sealing function of the damper in the fireplace, you should also add another damper near the top of the chimney.  A top sealing damper will prevent outside air from flowing downward. Also, another additional accessory used to strengthen the damper is a glass door.

In general, to solve this problem once for good, there is no better way than having a technician to improve ventilation of the chimney.

Dead animals

This is rare, but once it happens it could be the worst! If the smell emanating from your fireplace does not just stop at an unpleasant level but also more terrible and rotten, there is probably a dead bird, fox, snake or raccoon get stuck in it. If your chimney has a cap, it will prevent small animals from getting into the fireplace and could not escape.

However, the trouble does not just stop there. There is still a worse case that you do not want to think about.  So as soon as you notice there is something unusual than just an annoying smell, contact a professional man for help as soon as possible.


Leaves or other debris falling into the chimney and decaying is one of the causes of unpleasant rotten smells. That is another reason why adding a chimney cap is such a right decision.

In general, the most basic and simple way to help eliminate unpleasant odors coming out from your fireplace that is regular ash removal and putting absorbing deodorant like vinegar around the hearth. Once you have found a solution to thoroughly remove stinky smell out of the fireplace, along with regular inspection and cleaning, your fireplace will perform at its best efficiency.

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