Do you smell sour wood smoke after your fire burns out? You may have stinky fireplace! Most cases of stinky fireplace are caused by moisture from rain or snow that has soaked into the flue liner and the soot deposits in the chimney. The first steps to take toward fixing a smelly fireplace are to have your chimney professionally cleaned and install a chimney cap to keep out the rain and snow in the future.
Stinky Fireplace Solutions
Consider installing a chimney top mounted damper with an integral chimney cap. The chimney top damper tightly closes your flue at the top of your chimney, stopping cold air from sinking down the flue and carrying that sour odor with it. A top damper will pay for itself in one year by reducing your heating costs. Plus it eliminates fireplace smells from coming down your chimney and into your house.
Many homes are built very tightly to hold down energy costs. If opening a window about an inch makes the fireplace smell go away, consider installing an air supply ventilator, a small vent from the outdoors to the room where the fireplace is.
There are flue deodorants for smelly fireplaces on the market that may help with fireplace odors, but most need to be applied frequently. Plus, they do not remove the cause of the fireplace odor.
You may find that your flue tiles have deteriorated from the acid content in our rain and snow. (Cracks in the flue tiles may allow heat to contact wood in the structure of your home, causing a chimney fire.) If your chimney sweep says your flue is in bad condition, discuss the option of installing a flue liner, a stainless steel tube that carries the smoke up the chimney. Flue liners are very easy to clean and keep odor free.
The best options are to attack smelly fireplace at its source: either prevent moist soot by installing a damper such as a Lymance damper with integral chimney cap on top of your chimney or repair a deteriorated flue that’s holding in moisture by having a flue liner installed.