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.