Why My House Smells Like Smoke From Fireplace [Reasons + Solutions]

The possible reasons behind your house smells like smoke from fireplace are the ashes and dirt remaining for a long time inside your fireplace and chimney. This dirt and ashes create creosote. 

And creosote causes discomfort and a bad smell. Plus, negative air pressure and rotten animals and leaves can be the reasons for a smoky or bad smell inside your home.

house smelling smoke from the fireplace
Photo Credit: Matias T, via Unsplash

However, whatever the cause, you can get rid of the bad smell in your house immediately by going through our today’s guide and following our suggested fixations.

Quick Solutions:

Cleaning the fireplace inside & its chimney and fixing the negative air pressure will instantly bring the solution and rid you of the bad smokey smells inside of your house.

Plus, another quick solution to get fireplace smoke out of your house is to deodorize your fireplace with vinegar. Here’s how to do it:

  • Take a medium-sized bowl and pour vinegar into it. And then place the bowl in one corner of the room. It will absorb smells passing by.
  • Or put half the amount of water and half the amount of vinegar in a spray bottle. Then spritz the fireplace area with this solution to deodorize the source.
  • Or take a clean towel and spray vinegar on it. Then wave the towel around the room to absorb the fireplace odor.

Why Your House Smells Like Smoke From Fireplace [Reasons + Solutions]

When you feel a smoky smell inside your house for a long time, it becomes the cause of great discomfort. But fortunately, you have the following solutions that will immediately bring you comfort:

1. Inspect For Dirt & Ashes Inside The Fireplace

Smelling smoke inside the house can be for many reasons. Very first you need to check the fireplace to find out if there are ashes and dirt remaining. 

Inspect For Dirt & Ashes Inside The Fireplace
Photo Credit: Timothy Eberly, via Unsplash

As you know, after making any fire, there remains a number of ashes and dirt. And if they stay inside the fireplace for a long time, it builds up creosote which causes discomfort and a smokey odor. 

Solution: Clean Your Fireplace

After investigating the fireplace, if you find old ashes and dirt, don’t make a delay to clean up them. When you find the fireplace is cleaned up well, then get vinegar and water. 

cleaning the fireplace inside

Mix the vinegar and water in a jar and wipe out the fireplace precisely. It will absolutely help you to extinguish the smoky odor from your house and give you a fresh smell.

cleaning fireplace ashes and dirt

2. Creosote Buildup & Soot In Chimney

Now it’s time to investigate your fireplace chimney if it’s cleaned or not. 

You know in spring or summer, the fireplace stays unused. Then again the creosote deposits take the opportunity and grow up inside the chimney as there it finds the dirt.

inspect when you need to clean your fireplace chimney
Photo Credit: Jeremy Bishop, via Unsplash

And the creosote buildup and soot mixing with the moisture causes an unpleasant odor. 

Solution: Clean The Chimney

When creosote and dirt build up inside the chimney, then the only solution is to clean the chimney. So, inspect the chimney carefully and clean it to get rid of the chimney odor.

How To Tell That Your Chimney Needs Sweeping

The quick signs that tell you that you should clean the chimney are faulty burning fires, odors from the unit, smoke that doesn’t come out properly, and oil spots on the wall of your appliance.

How To Tell That Your Chimney Needs Sweeping
Photo Credit: Krystal Black, via Unsplash

Some other top signs to know if sweeping is needed include:

  • Fires hardly get started.
  • There is tar around the flue entrance.
  • Chimney sooting is frequently dropping from the unit.
  • Animals on the chimney.
  • Smoke is being blown back into the room.
  • Thick black creosote is visible in the chimney.
  • The fireplace surrounding is turning black.

How Often Should You Sweep Your Fireplace Chimney

According to the National Fire Protection Association, the chimney should be inspected and cleaned once a year. The best period to clean out your chimney is at the end of the summer.”

cleaning the fireplace chimney

As because you are going to use it in the colder weather, you can sweep it before starting the winter season as well. It will endorse you the best working and keep it away jammed in winter. 

Sometimes you will notice that the signs of sweeping the chimney are clearly visible, be sure it is time to clean it out. If you are using your fireplace or stove for longer and can’t remember the last time of its cleaning, it’s a good recommendation to clean the chimney in a proper way. 

What Happens If the Chimney Is Not Swept

Sweeping is an essential activity to operate the fireplace and stove fluently. You should go through the cleaning process of the chimney when it’s needed. 

sweeping fireplace chimney

But if you go too long without cleaning, you may face so many risks. Have a look through some of the below:

  • The chimney will be blocked with debris and start malfunctioning. As a result, the smoke or gas won’t come out properly because of chimney clogging.
  • Creosote will build up surrounding the fireplace and further it will damage the structure of the unit.
  • The smoke will start to come out into the room instead of upwards. Thus, it will fall stain your furniture, and black shoot on the wall.
  • Malfunctioning the chimney can blow back toxic gases into the room, which causes health hazards for your family.
  • And long-term without going to sweep the chimney will lessen the durability of the fireplace.

3. Does Your Fireplace Chimney Have A Cover?

Now, take a look if your fireplace chimney has a rain cover or not. An open chimney top also causes a smokey fireplace odor. How?

install a chimney cap

The answer is simple. If the chimney top remains open, rainwater rolls inside the chimney and makes the chimney inside and fireplace moisturized and humidified. 

Also, the outside air runs down. Creosote and soot get together and drift down with the outside air into your home inside and cause a musty smell. 

Besides, if your chimney doesn’t have a cap, there is a possibility of animals like rats and cockroaches going inside your unused fireplace in summer.

Also, through the open chimney top, leaves and tree branches get into the fireplace. 

Once upon a time, the animals might die and get rotten. On the other hand, the leaves and twigs will get rotten. And all these together will bring a bad and rotten smell inside your home. 

Solution: Cover The Chimney Top With A Chimney Cap

So, when your fireplace chimney doesn’t have a cap, cover it with a chimney cap. The chimney cap will prevent the rainwater and outside air from swiping inside the chimney and thus get rid of you from the smoky smell as well as the creosote smell.

cover the chimney with a chimney cap

Besides preventing the rainwater and humidity, the cap will also prohibit the leaves and any animals or kits like rats & cockroaches from getting inside the chimney, dying out, rotten, and finally causing the unwanted bad smell.

4. Negative Air Pressure

Negative air pressure can cause a smoky or bad smell inside the home. You know negative air pressure happens inside your home when the pressure inside of your home becomes lower than the outside air pressure. 

negative air pressure causing smoky or bad smell inside home

And this negative air pressure can happen inside the home for many causes. Very first, it can happen because of the fatigue fan in the bathroom or kitchen. 

Then, there can be the air pressure for duct leakage, combustion appliances, central vacuums, fan motor speed, off-balance heat recovery ventilators, windows, water heaters, dryers, furnace installation, and any kind of home improvements like new roofing or room decoration. 

All these appliances push out the air from your home. 

When negative air pressure occurs inside the home, it needs extra air inside the room. So, it pulls down the air to make up the negative one through the probable leaks or holes.  

Here chimney is a great source to pull down the air. And it comes with the odor or the smoke if you make the fire. Thus there lacks a source of fresh air inside your home. 

So, when you find your house smelling like smoke, you should think it may be happening due to negative air pressure.

Solution: Fix Negative Air Pressure

When you smell a smokey odor due to the negative air pressure, you need to clean the negative air pressure and solve it immediately.

correct air pressure inside home

Here you can go for the following simple solutions and fix the negative air pressure:

  • Repair the duck leakage.
  • Change the exhaust fan in the kitchen or bathroom.
  • Fix the fan motor.
  • Seal the fireplace damper perfectly with a stainless-steel damper.
  • Most importantly optimize the ventilation.

Yet, if you find the negative air pressure problem isn’t solved following the above steps, you can look for a heating and air-conditioning expert to resolve the issue and enjoy safe and healthy air in your home.

5. Unburnt Wood In The Fireplace

You might frequently notice that after shutting down the fire at night, even closing the flue and glass door, the cold air returns to your room with a smokey smell. 

unburnt wood may cause smokey smell
Photo Credit: Gonzalo Kaplanski, via Unsplash

And it happens because there remains a few unburnt blocks of wood or coils. 

However, such a tedious smell is quite uncomfortable but remember, you have a solution. What you can do:

Solution: Burn Those Unburnt Woods

In such a case, burning the remaining coals as early as possible is the quick and best solution. Before starting to burn, break down the large chunks of coals and pile all the pieces in a place.

burn the unburnt wood in fireplace
Photo Credit: Maurice Sahl, via Unsplash

Then add a few pieces of charcoal, fire it and let burn completely. When you find all the Firewood is burnt fairly, clean up the fireplace ashes and burning wood if it remains perfectly. 

Next spritz vinegar all around the fireplace and close the glass door. You will find the problem with the smoke room is solved. 

7 More Effective Solutions To Eliminate Smoke Odor From Your House

Going through the above solutions, you can also try the following efforts to fix the smokey smell from your fireplace in  your house: 

1. Allow The Room Air To Go Out

Ventilating your room and allowing the trapped air inside of your house to go out is another most effective as well as a quick solution to get rid of the smokey smell. 

Here you can use two methods to ventilate your room.   

ventilate your room to eliminate smoke odor
Photo Credit: Francesca Tosolini, via Unsplash

Make a ventilator near your window and another one a little bit away from your window. 

The 2nd ventilator will pull the air into your room from outside and the ventilator near your window will puss out the air to the outside. Thus it will minimize the smoke smell inside your room. 

Or you can simply open your room windows and place a table fan in front of your one window and run it. The fan air will pull out the air from your room as well as the smoke odor.

keep the windows open to ventilate and eliminate the smoke odor

And to completely neutralize your room and get rid of the bad smell, you can keep your windows open for the whole day by running the table fan. It’s super effective and saves your pocket.

2. Deodorize Your House

You can deodorize your home to eliminate the smoke odor as the smoke smell tends to stick to your home walls, carpet, pillows, windows curtain, and floor near the fireplace. Here vinegar can be a powerful natural deodorizer. 

 deodorize home spraying vinegar
  • Mix a 1:1 ratio of vinegar and water and take it into the spray bottle. Then spritz in the window curtain, house wall, and fireplace area, then wipe down and thus deodorize.
  • Wet a towel dipped into vinegar and wave it all around the room. It will absorb the smoke odor from the fireplace. 
  • Take baking soda or vinegar in a  bowl and keep it inside or beside the fireplace. It will take away the bad smell. But don’t forget to remove the bowl from the fireplace before the next fireplace use. 
  • Place a box fan inside the window of the fireplace room and another fan outside the window, on the fans. The inside fan will out smokey air outside and the outside fan will push fresh air inside the room. It will certainly quick up the refreshing of your room and remove the smoke odor. 
  • Finally sprinkle baking soda over the carpet, sofa, blanket, and pillows and wait an hour. After an hour, vacuum up the powder repeatedly until the smokey smell is out

We hope, that if you deodorize your house following the above steps, you will find a better solution to the issue of your house smelling like smoke after the fire in the fireplace.

3. Use Fireplace Fragrance Oil

When you have done everything to remove the smoke odor, you may feel the odor yet as it’s soaked in a few places. Now, you can use fireplace fragrance oil to feel the fresh air. 

use fragrance oil to remove smoke odor from house

Get the fireplace fragrance oil with a comfortable fragrance, pull up the wick in the bottle, and keep the bottle on the fireplace shelf for 5-60 days.

Surely it will eliminate smoke particles and bad odors from your fireplace and you will feel pretty good. Remember, never allow the oil bottle near the fire as it’s burnable. 

Or you can have a fragrance lamp and fill it with a fragrance oil that you like most. Keep in mind, never overfill it.

use fragrance lame to smoke out from home

After filling it with oil, light the lamp up and place it near the fireplace. Immediately, you will feel a sweet scent instead of a bad smoke odor. 

4. Install Air Purifier

You can install a great air purifier if you still feel the odor. It’s an exciting tool as it’s capable of cleaning the air and getting rid of you not only odors and smoke but also of fireplace flue, dust, and pollutants.  

install an air purifier to smoke out from house

And thus an air purifier will give you a fresh and pure home inside and improve your life radically. 

5. Have An Ozone Generator

Another effective way to get rid of the smoke odor in your house is to use an ozone generator. 

use an ozone generator to eliminate smoke odor

The ozone generator works with its ozone layer reacting to the odor particles that stick with the fabrics in your house, home walls, and the air inside of your home. 

And finally, it destroys the odor particles and thus neutralizes the odor and eliminates it. So, you can try it it doesn’t cost you much. 

Safety Precautions:

Though an ozone generator has the power to remove the odor from your house faster, remember, it has a health issue. Because it emits gas to sanitize the air and clean it. And that gas is a type of pollutant which is dangerous for our lungs. 

On the other hand, an air purifier uses a charcoal filter. The filter sucks in air and then moves the air to its filtering surface. 

When the air with odor pollutants or any other harmful substances comes near the filter, the filter catches them and purifies the air. Then the filter moves back out the air to your room which is fresh and clean. 

So, considering the health issues, it’s wise to have a quality air purifier than an ozone generator. 

6. Use Activated Charcoal

Another great way to remove the smokey smell or bad odor from your house is to use activated charcoal. Activated charcoal has a high carbon absorption capacity as it contains a huge amount of oxygen.

use activated charcoal to eliminate smoke odor

And this oxygen quickly absorbs the bad odor as well as the excess moisture as the vinegar or the baking soda does and feels you fresh and better. 

So, have a few charcoal bags and place them in the room where you find a smokey smell. It will definitely eliminate the smoke and bad smell in a short time. 

Note: If you want to eliminate the smoke odor quickly, you can use an increased amount of charcoals. 

7. Try Steam Cleaning

Steam cleaning is another effective method to eliminate the smoke odor from your house. Steam cleaning has another benefit. If you go for steam cleaning of your house, it will not only remove the smoke smell from your house but also the process will remove the smoke residues like oils or hard tar.

clean the house wall and flore with steam cleaner

Here you can use a handle steam cleaner. It will help you to clean your house walls and floors safely. 

Remember, while doing steam cleaning, don’t steam the silky cloths or any other materials that can be damaged permanently after being wetted. 

Call A Professional Chimney Sweeper Or Home Cleaner

Finally, if you can’t do all the above steps own self, you can call a professional home cleaner or chimney sweeper. As they are experts at doing all these cleaning jobs, they can instantly clean everything and fix the odor problem. 

clean your fireplace and chimney with professional sweeper
Photo Credit: Waldemar Brandt on Unsplash

And for a permanent solution, you can clean up your home and fireplace with a professional sweeper 2 times yearly. 

Clean the fireplace at the end of the winter when you permanently shut it down & hide your fireplace during the summer. 

And then at the very beginning of the winter when you start to use the fireplace for your coziness. Certainly, the cleaning will bring you a permanent solution to the odor problem. 


Why does my fireplace smell like smoke when it rains?

There are a few reasons for occurring an unpleasant odor from the fireplace after a rainstorm like a chimney being humid, water penetration, creosote blockage, and faulty pressure of air.

Why does my fireplace smell like burning plastic?

The major reasons for causing the fireplace to smell like burning plastic are overheating and defective inside components. Also, if the wires of the unit are burning or worn out, they will start releasing an unpleasant smell.

Why is my house filled with smoke though there’s no fire?

If your house is filled with smoke though there’s no fire, be sure the problem is the venting area. If the damper of the fireplace is closed or not fully opened, smoke will come into the house. 

Does a wood-burning fireplace make your house smell?

Yes, a wood-burning fireplace can make your house smell.

What does it mean when you keep smelling something burning?

Well, some people continuously smell something burning, even if there isn’t any such thing going on. This condition is called “olfactory hallucination”. The smell can always be present or may come and go every now and then. 

Final Words

After reading the article, now, you know so many easy and simple solutions when your house smells like wood smoke from the fireplace.

So, when you find your house filled with smoke odor, simply follow the above solutions. Certainly, you will get the solution and feel super comfortable at your home. 

About William

William is the founder of Fireplacehubs.com. He has real life practical skills in fixing smoker & heating appliance issues. He loves to share his knowledge & helps others in fixing their appliances & saving their money. William firmly believes that anyone can repair his or her unit with the correct guidance & knowledge. See more at about us.

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