What Chimney Odors Tell You About Your Chimney

Your chimney works throughout the burn season to keep your fire going and the smoke venting, but it also works through the summer too. The damper keeps critters and drafts from coming in and keep conditioned air from going out. The cap, flashing, and crown keeps rainwater out, protecting your chimney and home from water damage.

When something is wrong with the chimney system, it may take a while for the homeowner to notice because most of your chimney system is hidden from the eyes. Many homeowners don’t even know what to look for.

Common Chimney Odors

fireplace in a modern living roomAt Brickliners, we commonly get calls about chimney and fireplace odors throughout the summer months. This is because summer humidity and barometric pressures push air into the chimney, down your fireplace, and into your house. When you smell chimney odors, it is never a good sign. In fact, chimney odors always indicate a problem with the chimney system.


The biggest complaint we get from homeowners during summer is the smell of a dirty barbecue grill or well-used smoker. Even with the fireplace doors and damper closed, a dirty chimney can take over your living space with overwhelming smoky and barbecue smells. Odors of smoke and barbecue are actually caused by a chimney and fireplace that is filled with soot and creosote. A simple chimney sweep will clear away all the creosote, soot, and ash that are causing the foul odor in your chimney.


The smell of mold or mildew coming from the chimney system is caused by nothing other than a chimney leak. Not only is your chimney leaking, but for these odors to be present in your home, the chimney leak has to be present long enough to allow bacteria and spore growth. By the time the odor is present and noticeable, there is likely already hidden damage in your chimney system. If you smell mold or mildew coming from your fireplace, your system needs a professional inspection and likely repairs too.


The unmistakable odor of decomposition is unsettling. When it occurs in the home, you might first suspect a dead rodent of some kind. It doesn’t always mean a dead animal is in the chimney. When any organic material decomposes inside the chimney, it will produce odors of decomposition. This includes leaves, wood, twigs, feathers, animal droppings, and more.

If your chimney emits odors of decompositions it’s time to call a professional for a chimney sweep. The team at Brickliners can sweep your chimney from top to bottom, removing all debris, ash, soot, and creosote so that the odors are gone and ready for burn season again in the fall. If your summer is being ruined by nasty odors from your fireplace, Brickliners can help. Call us at 802-872-0123 to schedule your chimney assessment today!

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