8/22/2013: Why does my fireplace smell smokey during the summer?

A few times this summer, I’ve noticed a strange smell in the living room.  Most strange smells in my house come from the kids, but this was definitely coming from the fireplace. I immediately thought — shit, I need to blog this.  Then it occurred to me to figure out the problem first.

The fireplace was clean and the damper shut.  We hadn’t had a fire in 5 months — so what’s up with the smokey smell?

Every time you have a fire, creosote deposits are absorbed into the bricks in the chimney. Even when cleaned by a sweep, creosote remains.  On warm, humid or rainy days, air comes down through chimney — bringing the creosote smell with it.  It’s called negative pressure and it’s not a big deal you guys.

If you want to get rid of the smell, try the following: clean the fireplace, make sure the damper is closed tightly, have the chimney swept, install a damper at the top of the chimney to stop airflow.

Time to sweep the chimney.
Time to sweep the chimney.

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