Occasionally we get a very strong creosote(?) odor
from our wood burning fireplace. The fireplace was
professionally cleaned a year ago. Any suggestions
as to how to eliminate the odor much appreciated.
Water in the chimney can bring the creosote odor into the house. If the
outside of the chimney is clean, it can be waterproofed with suitable
paint. (Cement-based paint works for cement blocks.)
Capping it can keep out rain during a downpour. One kind of cap is a
roof of masonry or metal a few inches above the chimney. I prefer an
inverted funnel fashioned of flashing aluminum. A funnel whose small
end is 1/3 the diameter of the chimney will divert about 89% of the rain
that would otherwise go down the chimney. It will also keep out drafts
of cold air when the fire is burning low. Keeping out the cold air will
keep the chimney drawing better and reduce creosote deposits.
Dry wood produces much less creosote than green wood, and you get twice
With a stove, one can greatly reduce creosote by restricting primary air
(which comes in low) and supplying plenty of secondary air (which comes
in high) until the smoke is burned off and a pile of glowing coals is
left. It might be possible to do that with some fireplaces.
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