Fireplace Smell-Update

Update from previous post. I have a "campfire" smell coming from my woodburning fireplace. It's been used once (this Christmas Eve) in at least 20 years.
Had a chimney sweep come out to clean it to see if it would help remove the smell. He said there was no creosote build-up in the chimney and said he would clean it, but it didn't need it. The smell seems to be coming from the fire box (brick and morter).
Any other ideas on how to get rid of the smell? I've got a pan of baking soda sitting there now. Anything better? TIA!
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Cider vinegar soaks up smells.
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dumb question...applied directly or sitting in a pan (like baking soda)?

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Maybe I'm missing something, but shouldn't a place where you burn wood smell like a place where wood get's burned in?
I have 3 fireplaces, and strangely enough - they all smell like they have had a fire in them at some point.
Sorry, don't really mean to come off as such a S.A., but I don't understand the problem.
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i would expect the fireplace to smell like burnt wood, but not the rest of the house. An odor is coming from the fireplace...my living room smeels like burnt wood.

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Have you closed the damper? Might also consider a chimney cap to help block downdrafts.
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Sorry--should have said you didn't come off as a "SA" earlier. I appreciate the help. The damper was closed the morning after the fire. It's an "aftermarket" topcap -style damper, so it forms an airtight seal on top of the chimney. I have left it open today with the hopes of airing outthe box. I also soaked the firebox with febreze. Since Texas only gets one or two days a year where a fireplace is beneficial, I probably won't use it the rest of the season. The steps taken today (see above) actually seem to help a little. I've also stuffed insulation around the glass door frame flange to prevent leaks when everything is closed off.

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Get glass doors. The fireplace is an energy hog without them. Better yet get a gas insert. Expensive but my cat loves it. Some are as efficient as furnaces. In any case get a chimney cap made out of stainless steel and also cap the masonry.

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Have the doors...spent a pretty penny getting them custom made since the opening was very large. I might look into an insert or just go ventless/gas log. Thanks!

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No reason to go ventless since you have a chimney. Ventless will definitely have a smell so don't do it. In texas it may not be worth doing the insert...... they cost quite a bit of change.

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ahhh..good points. thanks!

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On 12/30/2004 6:06 PM US(ET), Art took fingers to keys, and typed the following:

Hmmmm.. My propane ventless fireplace doesn't smell, and neither does my propane ventless gas range.

--
Bill

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On 12/30/2004 10:48 AM US(ET), ADC took fingers to keys, and typed the following:

Do you mean it smells like burnt urine? :-)

--

Bill

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Nice newsgroup. I just stumbled upon this and think its great. Here is my two cents.
I have seen your problem in several houses including mine. I have noticed the problem under several conditions typically in a very tight houses. Backdrafts can occur when odors of burnt fuels that are usually always venting up the flue are reversed. Flues almost always leak air. Usually hot air escaping, but can be cool air falling. This can be caused by sudden swings of atmospheric pressure and or temperature. It can also be caused by combinations of kitchen and bathroom venting along with furnace operation. All of that CFM of air that is leaving the house has to be made up somewhere. Most houses leak appreciably to compensate, but if your house is tight enough and under the right conditions you can actually suck fresh air (and odors) right down the chimney. I have performed smoke tests on mine and others and demonstrated the condition. I have since provided outside makeup air to my house and resolved the problem of mechanical backdrafts.
Keeping the damper closed tightly helps tremendously. A chimney cap helps as well. Keeping the fireplace as tight as possible will certainly add to the solution. Check for leaks around your fireplace doors with a candle or other device that can produce smoke. You will be surprised by how much air leaks through glass doors even the high priced models. Caulk where possible with high temp chimney caulk.
Going gas does not solve your problem except for the odor issue. It just means you won't be able to smell the byproducts of combustion such as dangerous gases that could harm you during a backdraft. Check it out first before converting.
Matt
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Thanks for the advice and insight

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