Hello All,
I am so desperate for help in solving an odor issue in our home. The house was built around 1910 and a gut renovation was done around 10 years ago.
The chimney is a "cheater"- it looks like a brick chimney from the outside, but inside the house it is just a framed in area with metal venting pipes- one each for the fireplace and furnace.
The issue is that when the chimney is drafting- meaning when our Buderus oil furnace is firing or we have a fire going in our fireplace- a strong smell becomes present in our second floor laundry closet- which is right next to the chimney. It is a musty/moldy very unpleasant smell. It does NOT smell like soot/smoke. Here are some relevant details:
  • We had an inspection from our fuel company. They said that the venting of the furnace looked a bit "jerry rigged" and recommended a chimney company.
  • We had the chimney company come- they cleaned the chimney, resealed the top, and said that it indeed looks jerry rigged. They are recommending a solid piece of stainless pipe rather than the type that is in there now (it is SS, but it connects every 3 feet). They didn't have any real explanation for the smell. The replacement liner was more of a "should do at some point", but they didn't seem to think it was critical, didn't find any immediate safety concerns. Quote for the new liner is coming- expecting it to be in the $1000s.
  • Ever since the chimney guys came the smell has been worse. It is now present in a less concentrated form, in other areas of the house. I can smell it when I walk in the door. I want to cry.
  • Last year we had an issue whenever we lit the fire where the negative pressure was causing air to come out of a light switch in the wall that stunk badly of carrion. We had been hearing critters in the wall, so we had a fairly good idea of what the problem was. We had a pest control guy out. He cut open the wall and removed a dead mouse. Based on the sounds we were hearing we thought for sure there was a squirrel problem, but he only found evidence of mice. We do need to do more trapping as I suspect we still have some mice living in the walls.


I feel like the costs keep mounting with this but we aren't getting any resolution. I would be willing to pay quite a bit if somebody could say to me: this is your problem, and this is what it will cost to fix it. Instead, we just keep paying a few hundred over and over and not getting anywhere. I just don't know who I should call next to help figure this out?
If it is something in the walls, I still don't understand why the smell comes out only when the chimney is drawing??

Any advice would be GREATLY appreciated.

Thank you!!
Abby