Ashtray smell near fireplace

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Old 06-19-17, 02:52 PM
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Ashtray smell near fireplace

Hi all,

I mentioned in a previous post on this forum that I had my chimney repaired (including a new liner) when we moved into our home a year ago. I noticed a faint ashtray smell this spring, when the fireplace was not in use (yes, it was cleaned out). I surmised that the issue may have been an HVAC return I had re-positioned (so it wouldn't be blocked by furniture) drawing air down the chimney. So, I closed it, and bought a magnetic cover to see if that improved the situation-- it, kind of did...

What I mean is that now the smell isnt traveling through the house. BTW: flu is closed

So, yesterday was a ridiculously humid day, and quite hot. My living room (where the fireplace is located) stank more than ever. It was borderline unbearable. I did some googling, and I am wondering if I am dealing with downdraft? This seems to be worse when the AC is running. I am wondering if I have to figure out how to get air into this room...

One suggestion I read online involved adding a small amount of heat to the fireplace (great... in the summer...)... The suggestion was to use a votive candle. I tried this. I did notice that the flame liked to dance kind of toward my glass fireplace doors, vs up toward the (now open) flu. Unfortunately, the candle was scented, so I couldnt tell if it 'worked' or not. The smell of the candle certainly was all over

I suspect the the candle trick is for winter time issues... I dont think enough heat was generated to change the draft.

Anyway... This is becoming a pretty big issue for me. Wondering what to do next. Really appreciate any and all advice.

thanks!

-k
 
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Old 06-19-17, 07:38 PM
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Growing up with two parents who were smokers, I can tell you for a fact, it is just because of the hot humid weather that the smell has gotten stronger. Maybe some frebreze would help?
 
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Old 06-20-17, 07:09 AM
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Hi! Thanks for the reply

We tried air fresheners/didnt work. I am now pretty certain its more than just the odor.

I lit the scented candle again last night (open damper/closed glass doors).. Candle smell permeated the house.

I noticed the candle flame, again, 'leaning' toward the interior of the living room (vs 'stretching to the flu').

So, I tried opening two windows in that room. Candle (and ashtray) smell disappeared.

I am wondering if this has to do with the power attic vent.
 
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Old 06-20-17, 08:37 AM
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I'd recommend calling Rockford Chimney Supply. I bought my chimney liner from them, they were very helpful to me and could probably recommend something for you too. Hope this helps.
 
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Old 06-20-17, 08:53 AM
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Are you experiencing a temperature inversion outside ?

That ashtray smell bespeaks creosote, and with a new liner, the creosote is being re-humidified by the air from outside.

Is the Damper closed ?
 
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Old 06-20-17, 10:02 AM
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I'd recommend calling Rockford Chimney Supply.
I just found them and talked with them... They are recommending a cap with a pull chain. But I have to get up there and measure. I have heard mixed things about these--I'd hate to drop $500 on one and still have a problem

Are you experiencing a temperature inversion outside ?

That ashtray smell bespeaks creosote, and with a new liner, the creosote is being re-humidified by the air from outside.

Is the Damper closed ?
Assuming you mean is the temperature really hot outside and is it really cold inside--then yes

Damper is closed.

With a scented candle burning in the fireplace, and the window and flu open, the smell disappears-- not sure if that helps

Also, I noticed the smoke from the candle, when blown out, came back in to the room instead of up the chimney, when window closed
 
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Old 06-20-17, 10:55 AM
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Originally Posted by sirk98
". . . I noticed the smoke from the candle, when blown out, came back in to the room instead of up the chimney, when window closed . . ."
And, even with the Damper Closed, you're still experiencing a downdraft.

You have to get to know the cause of that; I doubt that the new Cap would seal the chimney better than your current Damper . . . . but who knows ?

Nothing like this was occurring BEFORE your chimney liner was installed ?
 
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Old 06-20-17, 11:30 AM
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Nothing like this was occurring BEFORE your chimney liner was installed ?
Bought the house last year, and fireplace was unusable (original terra cotta liner disintegrated)

The Chimney Supply place sales pitch is that the existing damper at best is metal-metal seal; at worst may be warped. This cap supposedly has a gasket that seals tight

https://www.rockfordchimneysupply.co...us-dmpr-cp.php

And, even with the Damper Closed, you're still experiencing a downdraft...You have to get to know the cause of that
Yes! I suspect my attic fan is creating a vacuum. I am thinking about disabling it, but am not certain why the fan is there and what trouble I may get myself into by not letting it function
 
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