Smoky/Ash/Charcoal smell (or something like that) coming from my fireplace

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  #1  
Old 01-12-18, 05:39 AM
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Smoky/Ash/Charcoal smell (or something like that) coming from my fireplace

I have a regular wood burning fireplace in my family room (looks just about like this: http://www.woodlanddirect.com/2071004-450px.jpg).

Have been using it every weekend this weekend with no issues. Used it last weekend as well. Suddenly, yesterday, we started noticing a very strong odor coming from the fireplace. The flue is closed, as are the front vents. There was a lot of ash in the fireplace (and a couple of small charred remains, but no more than usual), and I cleaned all that out, but 24 hours later the smell is just as strong.

Any thoughts?

Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 01-12-18, 08:57 AM
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A downdraft or dampness could cause the smell.

Even with the damper closed a high wind outside or a strong exhaust inside (stove vent, dryer, boiler, toilet exhaust--especially if all running at the same time in tight house) can cause a downdraft that will carry the smell into the house.

Also if moisture from high humidity (usually in summer) or rain entering the chimney will "activate" the smell.

Check for any or all of those conditions.
 
  #3  
Old 01-12-18, 10:42 AM
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Thanks. I think it was bad wood that I had been burning, combined with possibly a downdraft and it has been damp lately as we've been getting rain. I just lit a new fire with better wood and the smell is gone (I think the updraft cleared it out). Hopefully the new wood will leave less residual smell.
 
  #4  
Old 01-12-18, 11:12 AM
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I wonder if water has gotten into the chimney and is washing creosote and soot "juice" down into the fireplace. What type flue damper do you have? I've found the ones right at the top of the firebox can let drafts and smells back into the house where the spring loaded ones that cap off the top of the chimney seem to seal out drafts better.
 
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