The summer season is an ideal time to enjoy the outdoors, along with the countless actives that go online with it like grilling, time in the pool, backyard get-togethers, and more.

Unfortunately, there’s another part of this season that’s less enjoyable – summertime chimney odors. If left unattended, these odors can permeate your home and put a huge damper on its overall aesthetic. Let’s break down some of the more common causes of bad chimney smells – and what you can do to stop them.

Common Causes of Summertime Chimney Odors

Summertime chimney odors can be caused by a number of different factors. It’s important to determine the exact cause of your chimney odor in order to address it properly. Here’s what we usually see:

  • Summertime Chimney Odors - St. Louis MO - English Sweeps rainRain: Rain is one of the most common causes of summertime chimney odors. When it rains, water seeps into your chimney and travels down the flue. As it mixes with your soot and creosote, it creates a foul-smelling mixture that can enter your home through even the tiniest of cracks. A musty odor is usually an indication that water has entered your chimney. The best way to remedy this problem is by having your chimney inspected to determine the culprit and move forward with the best solutions.
  • Humidity: Humidity levels are often higher during the summer months due to higher temperatures and increased moisture in the air. This can cause moisture buildup in your chimney which may lead to leaks or cracks. When humidity levels are high, you may notice that your fireplace smells like barbeque smoke even if you haven’t built a fire in weeks! The smell is coming from moisture trapped inside your chimney flue, and it needs to be addressed by a chimney professional.
  • Air Conditioning: Air conditioning systems will decrease humidity levels in your home by cooling down indoor air and then pumping it through ductwork throughout your house. If you turn on your AC before lighting a fire in your fireplace or wood stove, you may notice an increase in chimney odor because the humid air from outside is being circulated through your home’s ductwork. A campfire smell is a sign that your AC is pulling smoky air from your chimney into your home.
  • Birds & Animals: Birds and animals – like squirrels and raccoons – like to build nests in chimneys during the summer months because they’re the perfect spot for their babies. Unfortunately, when the birds and critters leave their nests each year, they usually leave behind an unpleasant smell that lingers for weeks or months afterward. This smell is particularly strong during rainstorms or after heavy rains have washed away some of the nests’ contents down into your chimney. Another possibility is when the birds or animals die inside the nest and begin to decompose, which also emits foul odors.

Ways To Prevent Chimney Summertime Odors

Summertime chimney odors are not only unpleasant, but they can also be dangerous. The scents of burning wood and creosote are associated with fire hazards, which is why it’s important to act fast when odors are present. Here are some tips you can use to keep your home smelling fresher and cleaner during the summer months:

  • Schedule a Chimney Sweeping: Chimney sweepings are an essential part of keeping your chimneys clean and odor-free. The first step in preventing chimney odors is having your chimney swept on a regular basis. This will remove any built-up soot, creosote, and other debris that can cause noxious odors, fire hazards, or emit smoke into your home.
  • Summertime Chimney Odors - St. Louis MO - English Sweeps smellInstall a Chimney Cap: Installing a chimney cap will also help prevent summertime chimney odors from entering your home. Chimney caps come in a variety of styles and materials, and are installed over the top of your chimney opening to prevent animals from entering. If you need a new chimney cap, investing in professional installation is always the right call.
  • Top-Sealing Dampers: A top-sealing damper is a metal plate that fits over top of the flue and prevents air from entering or exiting through the opening. Top-sealing dampers provide an airtight and watertight seal when your fireplace is not in use. They can help save on energy costs by preventing cold air loss during the summer months, and since they reduce downdrafts they reduce the risk of odors too.
  • Book Your Annual Inspection: Another way to prevent summertime chimney odors is by scheduling an inspection with a professional. They can tell you if there are any issues that could be causing an unpleasant smell in your fireplace or wood stove during this time of year. You may not even realize it, but something as simple as having too much ash in your fireplace can cause a foul odor in the summer months because there is nowhere for the smoke and ash to go.

Need Professional Help?

No homeowner wants to face the possibility that their chimney is the source of an unpleasant odor in their home. If you suspect that your chimney is to blame for some unpleasant smells in your living space, it’s important to take action fast. Call English Sweep at 636-225-3340 today for your next chimney cleaning or inspection.

We’d be happy to help keep your home free of summertime chimney odors year after year!