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Smelly Chimney

A smelly chimney is no fun to live with. If this is what you’re experiencing, you’ll be glad to know there’s a reason for it that can be reversed. The Chimney Guys solve chimney odor problems throughout the Greater Columbus, Ohio, region. We can solve yours, too.

Smelly Chimneys: Causes and Solutions

Here are the most likely reasons for the smell coming out of your chimney and invading your home.

Creosote removal and chimney cleaning in Columbus OH, Amlin OH, Lancaster OHExcess Creosote and Soot in the Flue

Creosote forms in the chimney flue when smoke condenses. It’s a smoky, smelly substance that can be flaky, puffy, sticky or solid. If creosote isn’t properly swept from your chimney on a regular basis, it will continue to build up and produce a lot of unpleasant odors.

Solution: Have one of our CSIA-certified chimney sweeps clean your chimney once a year.

Debris in the Flue

Leaves, twigs, falling fruit and sometimes even small branches from surrounding trees can end up in unprotected chimneys. As this debris rots, it produces thick smells that can easily spread throughout your home.

Solution: Have your chimney cleaned. Install a secure chimney cap to keep debris out.

Animals in the Flue

An open flue top is also an invitation to squirrels, birds, rodents, raccoons, reptiles and other wildlife that live in your Columbus neighborhood. Animals use chimneys as shelter as well as for birthing grounds. Nesting materials eventually rot and produce odors.

Solution: Same as for tree debris. (Note: you may have a dead animal in your chimney, making the odor much worse. Let a chimney technician or game and wildlife worker handle this problem.)

Chimney Leaks

If your chimney is letting in water and that water gets into the flue, it will intensify the odor issue by dampening whatever is in there.

Solution: Have us inspect your chimney and find the cause of the leak so we can repair it.

How Chimney Odors Move from Your Chimney to Your Home

A static, smelly chimney will send odors into your home’s air, and certain things will speed up this process. Addressing the problems below won’t solve the main problem, but it will de-intensify the situation until the right solutions can be implemented.


Wind blowing down your chimney will push whatever odors are in there out into your home.

Solution: Install a top-mount chimney damper. If you have no chimney cap, install one. Ensure that your fireplace damper works.

HVAC System Pulling Air

Your heating and air conditioning system may be pulling smelly air out of the chimney.

Solution: Short of not using the HVAC system, make sure the fireplace damper is tightly closed. Also, have the chimney cleaned and consider a top-sealing damper, as previously mentioned.

Exhaust Fans Are On

Bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans are small but often enough to pull smells out of the chimney.

Solution: Turn off the fans and shut the damper. Then focus on solving the cause of the odor.

Chimney inspections in New Albany OH & Newark OHWe Have the Solutions for Smelly Chimneys

The Chimney Guys is ready to help with all your smelly chimney problems. We provide complete chimney inspections, chimney sweeping and chimney repairs. We also install new fireplaces and stoves.

Since 2004, we’ve solved chimney problems for our customers in Columbus OH, Gahanna OH, Westerville OH, Reynoldsburg OH, Pataskala OH, Heath OH, Dublin OH, Blacklick OH, Grove City OH, Hilliard OH, Lewis Center OH, and many other Ohio communities.

Reach us at (614) 446-1221 or get in touch with our contact form.