Problems with a Smelly Fireplace in Houston

Houston Smelly Fireplaces

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Whether you love or hate the old fashioned smell of a fireplace, your fireplace really should not have the odor old cabin in the middle of the woods. Really, your fireplace shouldn’t have much of an odor at all.

A smelly fireplace—often described as having a musty like smell—indicates that there are some problems within your chimney that need to be addressed soon. Most often there are drafting issues at play, meaning that your chimney is pulling outside air into your home. This is called “back puffing.” When air is being sucked down into your home through the chimney, it comes with the smell of creosote that’s built up inside your chimney.

Creosote is a byproduct of combustion that’s created by the distillation of tar. It’s highly flammable, and the smell of it is not something you want inside your living space. A Cleaning/Sweeping can help with this, as it will remove the creosote and improve efficiency, but you really need to have the backdrafting problem fixed to eliminate odors moving forward.

We especially hear complaints about fireplaces smelling during the spring and summer months, likely due to:

  • High humidity
  • Rain
  • Downdraft

There are some solutions for a smelly fireplace. You may need to:

  • Have a chimney cap professionally installed. You want to keep rainwater from entering your chimney no matter what. Rain will it soak into your chimney liner and create an odor, but water will dramatically shorten the chimney life and may cause structural damage to your home.
  • Have your chimney cleaned by a CSIA-certified professional. Make sure that he is CSIA-certified and can show you what the inside of your chimney looks like—before and after a cleaning—with a closed-circuit camera…should you choose that Option
  • Install an “fresh air intake device,” which is an outside air kit can prevent backdrafts that are caused by negative air pressure in your home.
  • Equip your chimney with a top-mounted damper to keep cold air from coming in through your chimney during the winter and to keep air-conditioned air from escaping out during the summer.
  • Have a ventilation fan or chimney draft fan installed. A ventilation fan, positioned atop your chimney, will ensure a negative pressure in your chimney.


To learn more about the chimney sweeping process, view the video below.


Our troubleshooting expertise includes finding and fixing the cause of a smelly fireplace. Houston’s ASAP Chimney Services can be reached here or via direct call at 346-27-SWEEP

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