What Is That Smell Coming From My Fireplace?

What Is That Smell Coming From My Fireplace?

During the cold winter season, lighting the fireplace with locally sourced oak, hickory, or cherry firewood makes your home feel warm and cozy, filling the air with the fresh scent of the holiday season. So, when you smell an unpleasant or pungent odor around the fireplace, naturally, you want to get rid of it before guests arrive. Foul odors are more common when humidity increases in the warmer spring and summer months. However, it can also occur during the winter. Regardless, it means that your chimney and fireplace need professional attention. In this article, we’ll discuss three common smells that may be coming from your fireplace and what you can do to get rid of the odor.

Animals in Chimney, Spring Grove ILRotting Organic Matter

The most unpleasant smell is the rotting of organic matter. It occurs when leaves, unburnt wood, animal carcasses, and other organic matter decay in the chimney. In addition, neighborhood wildlife like blue jays, raccoons, squirrels, and opossums frequently nest in vents. Unfortunately, many of these critters can’t get out and perish in the flue once they get in.


The best solution is to have a professional chimney inspection and cleaning. Our professional chimney sweep will clear out the rotting material and repair the areas where animals can enter, like through a broken or missing chimney cap, damaged chimney crown, or holes in the masonry.

Creosote Buildup and Sooty Deposits

When you’re grilling steaks outside on a charcoal grill, a campfire smell is something you expect. But when your chimney smells like burning asphalt or charcoal, it’s a sign that sooty deposits and flammable creosote are accumulating inside the flue. Creosote is a natural by-product of combustion that sticks inside the flue as smoke and gases vent.


Hardened creosote is highly flammable. It requires professional removal by an experienced chimney sweep to prevent a catastrophic fire. Using seasoned hardwoods and chimney sweeping once or twice yearly will help minimize creosote and sooty buildup.

Leaky Chimney

Cracks in the masonry, chimney cap, chase cover, crown, flashing, and other areas, can allow rain or snow to leak into the chimney, permeating a stinky “wet sock” odor. In the summer, the damp conditions and high humidity create conditions ripe for mold and mildew growth with a strong, pungent smell. It can also be harmful to your health.


Get a chimney inspection as soon as possible and repair or replace any damaged masonry or components that are letting moisture to leak inside the chimney. It will also save your chimney from further damage and more extensive repairs, including partial or complete rebuilding.

Chimney Sweeping and Cleaning in Pleasant Prairie WIProfessional Chimney Inspection, Cleaning, & Repairs in Southern WI – Northern IL

Does your fireplace have a foul odor that just won’t quit? Call Burlington Fireplace at 262-763-3522 today to schedule a chimney inspection and cleaning. Our chimney professionals will solve the issues causing the foul odors so that you can breathe a sigh of relief in your home.

We serve customers in Racine, WI, Walworth, WI, McHenry, IL, and Zion, IL, and communities throughout southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois. Or contact us online today for a free estimate.

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