Fireplace Smells in the Summer- How to Fix

Many homeowners don’t think very much about the chimney in their homes until they sit beside the fireplace and smell a musty, smokey odor. Odors that get through the chimney can be very offensive and disruptive to your sleep and health. One of the main things that most people complain about is the smell that emanates from their chimneys. When you experience fireplace smells in the summer, even air fresheners will not solve the problem but only intensify the smell. 

During hot weather, closing all windows and switching on the air conditioners in your home will just make the smell worse. It is impossible to completely remove a bad odor from a chimney without doing a complete sweep. And since all chimney systems create a smoky odor, it’s difficult to diagnose the actual source of the problem.

Most people don’t notice that chimneys produce a slight odor due to a typical updraft that permits air to flow out of the chimney. It will eliminate unpleasant odors by driving the air outside your home. As you make changes to your home to be more energy-efficient, there will be drafts that you have to deal with. This causes trapped or stagnated air in your chimney or even a drawback in the living room. 

As the temperature and humidity in your home increase, the odors in your house will become more intense, making it uncomfortable to live in your home. Today, we’re sharing some easy ways to quickly and easily remove foul odors from your home. So, read through to the end of this article to learn how to get rid of those nasty odors that come from a hot fireplace. 

Why Your Fireplace Stinks During Summer

Fireplaces stink when it is hot because creosote and ash (a by-product of burning wood) have become part of your chimney during heavy winter use. During a hot summertime, the smoke from the hot chimney naturally mixes with the humid air that comes in from the outdoor air, and it can cause a horrifying stench to permeate the rooms. The indoor-fitted damper or doors in the chimney causes a huge vacuum that forces smelly air down the chimney and into the living room.

How to Eliminate Fireplace Smells in the Summer

During summer, when temperatures are too high, things heat up quickly. Sometimes, you will have a bad odor coming from your fireplace. But here are a few things (to do or not do) that will help you to keep your house fresh from such foul odors:

1. Light Candles

Using high-pressure air filters will force the smelly odor of burning wood into your home. This is known as a draft. If you have a fireplace in your home, put a couple of lit tea lights in it, which will help deflect the foul air from your home.

2. Clean Your Fireplace 

Removing the ashes from the fireplace after every use is unnecessary, but you can shove them out safely (or use a vacuum cleaner to remove them safely) at the end of each fire season.

Clean fireplace
Clean fireplace

SAFETY TIP: Wait for at least 12 to 24 hours after you start a fire to dispose of the ash; ensure the ash is cold before you handle it. Immediately store ashes in reusable containers (such as a ceramic pot or metal trash can). Wear breathable respirators to avoid inhaling small particles.

3. Close the Damper

Close the flue (damper) when you are not using the fireplace to control unpleasant odors and to keep heated – or cooled – air in your home during the winter. Ensure the damper is sealed well and properly mounted, with a chain allowing you to control its closing and opening.

4. Deodorizing Your Firebox Using Vinegar or Baking Soda

Vinegar and baking soda can remove smoke odors from burning cigarettes or embers. Use a 1:1 vinegar/water mixture. Set some vinegar bowls around the room to help remove odors. You can also place a bucket of burning charcoal or kitty litter in the burning mantle to absorb the foul odor. If possible, get commercial deodorizers that will smell nice and use them to deodorize the fireplace.

5. Put in Place a Draft Stopper

Try placing a big air-tight bag stuffed with insulation over your fireplace, or use a large plastic bag filled with some insulation. It saves you money since you won’t have to burn fuel. Do not forget to remove the stopper before lighting a fire in the fall.

6. Buy A Glass Door for Your Fireplace

It is more secure to use a door made of solid glass than a mesh or a scroll to keep hot embers from falling onto the floor. However, building such a door will take some time and money.

7. Seal Your Fireplace Completely

Seal your fireplace by placing bricks inside it, just like sealing a door. You can pay a professional to cover your fireplace entirely with concrete or drywall. However, you should do this only if you are sure you will never use that area again.

Consider placing mantels and fireplace surround for future use and to add interest to your room. You may also want to add vases of fresh flowers or interesting objects. For instance, an oversized seashell on the fireplace makes your living room look great.

8. Do an Energy Audit

Because houses are breathing machines, running HVAC systems, dryers, range hoods, or bathroom fans can affect the air circulating in and out of your house. Try some of the home remedies listed above to clean up the smell of your fireplace. If your home system is working efficiently, do an energy audit to see if you can do things to improve it.

If you have a handyman in your home, here are some tips to help you do a thoroughly-checked home energy efficiency check yourself.

  • Try turning on the clothes dryer to dry the clothes. This will cause negative pressure in the house. It’s an excellent way to create some pressure inside your house.
  • Use smoky pencils to do a draft check. Smoke a puff of smoke from a puff and pencil around trouble spots where air could enter, such as windows, pipes, doors, vents, and other regions where air could enter.

9. Hire an Expert

Hire a chimney professional who is experienced in performing an annual sweep and safety inspection. During a chimney sweep, creosote and other building materials will be swept out of your chimney and into the air, allowing the odors from your chimney to escape. A professional chimney sweep is very efficient and cost-effective.

Fireplace covered with vases
Fireplace covered with vases


Why is it that my fireplace always stinks when it’s hot?

When wood is burned and the chimney is filled with creosote and ash, it causes the firebox to smell bad during the hot weather. If the smoke inside the house to smell becomes more offensive, you’ll need to hire a professional to fix the problem.

What can you do to remove lingering odors from a stinky fireplace?

Wipe the fireplace clean with diluted ammonia or a solution of white diluted vinegar and water. If there are any traces of offensive odors, clean the ashes from the inside of the fireplace. Dilute two cups of white vinegar in one gallon of warm water. Put a bucket full of soapy water on top of the fireplace and scrub it with the scrub brush.

Why do gas fireplaces sometimes stink in the summertime?

When fireplaces run hard, a lot of dust builds up in them. If it isn’t cleaned, it can cause a terrible smell, like burnt rubber. Having your fireplace professionally serviced every summer will help prevent this problem.

How can you keep your fireplace sealed throughout the summer?

If your fireplace is old, you probably need to seal it quickly with a quick-drying insulation plug. Place it below your chimney and seal it with caulking or weather stripping.

Why do I always smell smoke when I open the windows in my house?

It is due to creosote, which forms in chimneys. Your fireplace needs to be cleaned, but sometimes, your chimney may have problems allowing the draft into your house. This could be due to pressure imbalances between the house and not outside.

How can you clean ventless fireplaces?

Vacuum all pet hair and dust regularly to clear the air around your fireplace. Use an air purifier in your room to help purify the air. Smoking outside is recommended to keep smoke from building up around your fireplace. However, you need to avoid deodorizers that plug into your appliances and harsh cleaning chemicals.

Is it normal if my gas fireplace to smell bad?

It’s not normal for a gas fireplace to smell like gas. The reason is that gas detectors use such signals to detect leaks. However, it is normal for a fireplace to smell like gas when it is first turned on.

Wrapping Up

Summertime is a great time for a thorough chimney cleaning and inspection. Chimney cleaning companies are busiest during the spring and fall months, so scheduling an appointment during the off-season can be hard. Be sure to schedule your fireplace inspection earlier to get a great deal and efficient service.

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