Our Company Blog

Diagnosing Chimney Smells

Fireplaces can make a beautiful addition to any home and can be used and enjoyed all year long. However, a stinky chimney can not only diminish your ability to enjoy your fireplace, but can also affect their air quality in your entire home.

Chimney odors are often indicative of a more serious chimney issue, and often do not resolve themselves on their own. However, discovering the cause of your smelly chimney is the first step to getting rid of the odor. Once the cause of the chimney smell is diagnosed, it can be repaired and you and your family can get back to enjoying your fireplace.


Causes of chimney odors

There are a number of causes of chimney odors. Below are some of the most common causes of chimney odors.

Animals: Animals are extremely unwelcome guests in your chimney system. In addition to causing damage throughout the chimney system, birds, squirrels, raccoons, and other animals can also bring with them a whole host of chimney odors.

Sharp foul or rotting smells – especially when accompanied by clawing, scurrying, or other sounds of animal entry – are typically indicative of the presence of animals in the chimney. Animal droppings, food, and nesting materials can all cause chimney odors. Likewise, as many animals become trapped and die while in the chimney, their bodies can create serious odors. This not only affects your home’s air supply, but can also expose your family to a number of microbes, bugs, and bacteria.

Creosote: A sharp, smoky odor is often caused by creosote buildup. Odors caused by creosote are often particularly noticeable in the summer months. This kind of odor often indicates an air pressure problem within the house; this forces air down the chimney and into your home, carrying the creosote odor with it.

Regular chimney sweepings can reduce the amount of creosote in the chimney, significantly reducing this odor. Likewise, minimizing the negative air pressure in the home can also help end creosote odor.

Drafting: Similar to the smell caused by creosote, a smoky smell when the fireplace is not in use may be caused by a drafting issue. Likewise, drafting issues can also cause smoke to blow back into your home when the fireplace is being used, leaving the room – if not the whole house – with a vaguely smoky odor. An improperly sized flue or a damper that no longer works can allow smoke and air back into the home. A chimney inspection may be able to help diagnose and repair drafting issues.

Moisture: Musty, dank, or damp odors are often caused by water entry. Oftentimes, the smell is the only indicator that there is a leak somewhere in the chimney system. Because water can be an extremely damaging force in the chimney, it is important to have chimney leaks identified and repaired as soon as possible.

Another major concern caused by water in the chimney is the formation of mold and mildew. Mold can seriously impact the home’s air quality, creating an unbearable odor as well as creating respiratory issues for you and your family. Mold growth is especially rampant in chimneys that may have animal nesting material, leaves, or other debris in the flue.

If you have a stinky chimney, don’t wait for it to go away on its own. Contact Pristine Sweeps today and let our expert staff help solve your chimney odor issues!

We Love Serving Bellevue, WA!

Since 2008, we have been proudly serving our friends and neighbors in the Seattle area. Since then, we have cleaned more than 2000 chimneys while providing our customers with consistently high quality services.

We were happy to open a new location in Bellevue, Washington this year and absolutely love serving the Bellevue area! Our office at 12247 SE 55th Place in Bellevue allows us to serve an even wider base of residents in Kings County.


About Bellevue

Located just across Lake Washington, Bellevue is Seattle’s largest suburb. Bellevue is consistently ranked as one of the best places to live and work in the country, and in 2014 was named the second best place to live by USA Today.

Bellevue is French for “Beautiful View” and that certainly describes this great city. Different vistas and buildings in and around Bellevue offer sweeping views of both the Olympic and Cascade Mountains. These same mountain ranges offer plenty of outdoor recreational opportunities such as fishing, hunting, hiking, and camping.

The beautiful views aren’t the only things that make Bellevue a great place to live and work. The Bellevue public school system is consistently ranked as one of the best in the country. Likewise, families can take advantage of attractions such as the KidsQuest Children’s Museum. Other favorite attractions and activities in Bellevue include the annual Sculpture Exhibition, Strawberry Festival, and the Bellevue Botanical Garden.

About Pristine Sweeps

Founded in 2008 by Seattle native Aaron Woodward, Pristine Sweeps is dedicated to providing our customers with the best chimney and fireplace services in the industry. Our company’s mission statement is “to provide superior service and ensure safety through our knowledge, education & integrity.” We believe this carries over to every aspect of our business.

When you choose Pristine Sweeps, you can rest assured that you are dealing with a professional company that is at the top of their field. Our CSIA certified chimney sweeps are up to date on the latest trends and technologies in the fireplace industry and pass this learning on to our customers. Likewise, we do our best to not just make sure your fireplace system is well cared for, but also to make sure you have an excellent customer experience.

Our services

We are proud to offer our customers a wide variety of chimney and fireplace services to meet your every need. If your chimney system needs some regular or annual maintenance, we can perform chimney sweepings and inspections. Likewise, we can also waterproof your masonry. This service can help prevent water from damaging your masonry, and is highly recommended in the wet and rainy Pacific Northwest!

In addition to our regular or preventative maintenance, Pristine Sweeps can also handle any chimney or masonry problems you are experiencing. Our staff is expertly trained to troubleshoot and identify the causes of chimney issues such as leaking, odors, poor drafting, and burning problems. These ongoing issues are often extremely frustrating to homeowners, but our technicians can find the root of the problem and get you back to enjoying your fireplace.

From the top of the flue to the bottom of the firebox, Pristine Sweeps can handle all of your chimney and fireplace needs. If you are in the Bellevue area, contact us today to schedule you appointment. We look forward to working with you!